Penny was brought to us with the unmistakable red swelling in the corner of the eye known as ‘cherry eye’. This is a prolapse of the eye’s main gland which normally lies behind the extra eyelid that dogs have, known as the third eyelid. It is relatively common in certain, usually, short-nosed (brachycephalic) dogs such as Bull dogs, Mastiffs and similar breeds. The condition rarely causes any irritation to the dog but is very unsightly. Occasionally the gland will pop in and out on its own, which can be associated with inflammation and swelling. More commonly though, once the gland has popped out it remains out.
The eye’s main gland, called the nictitans gland, is extremely important to dogs. It generates around 70% of the eye’s tear production and is essential for the normal function, moisture and comfort of the eye.
A commonly used, easy treatment for this condition in veterinary practice is to remove the prolapsed gland. However, this is a great mistake. Over 50% of dogs that have their gland removed or even partially removed will go on to develop incurable dry eye – an irritating, painful condition that often leads to blindness.
Instead, we replaced Penny’s gland using a ‘pocketing’ procedure. This is a fiddly operation as the surgical site is so small and the procedure requires the use of fine suture material and fine instruments. Hamish wore special high spec binocular loupes, a set of fully adjustable magnifying lenses specifically designed for working at a distance of between 13 and 18 inches from the examination site, to optimise his view of Penny’s eye.
Hamish using binocular loupes
Penny with her ‘cherry eye’ repaired
Penny’s gland is now normally positioned again. She has retained all her tear production, her eye is comfortable and her beauty is restored.