A nictitans gland is a small, triangular-shaped gland that lies in the corner of your dog's eye. When it bulges out enough to look like a cherry, it's officially known as "cherry eye."
You notice something strange below their eye. It looks like there's a cherry growing on their face, but it's not actually a cherry. Instead, it's something called a "cherry eye." This condition is common in certain breeds of dogs and can be corrected with surgery.
Cherry eyes are more common in brachycephalic breeds like Neapolitan Mastiffs (4.9%), English Bulldogs (4.8%), Lhasa Apsos (1.6%), and American Cocker Spaniels (1.5%). Still, they can also occur in other breeds with large eyes or drooping eyelids, such as Cocker Spaniels or Scottish Terriers. Let’s see what causes cherry eyes in dogs and how to treat them if they develop.
The Third Eyelid Gland Is Called The Nictitans Gland
It is a small, roundish mass of tissue located at the inner corner of your dog's eye. The purpose of this gland is to produce a thin layer of mucous that covers the cornea and prevents it from drying out. This helps keep dirt and debris away from the eye while keeping it moist, so they can see clearly.
The nictitans gland produces tears that drain into lacrimal sacs through tiny ducts called accessory lacrimal glands, also known as accessory glands. These accessory glands are located along each side of your dog’s nose in front of his nostrils, just above where they meet with his mouth when closed.
Something Strange Below Your Dog's Eye
If you notice something strange below your dog's eye and it's not blinking, it may be a problem with their third eyelid. This can be an indication of cherry eye.
To check if your dog is blinking, hold the corner of your dog's eyelid back with a finger or thumb. Move another finger or thumb in front of the eye to check for movement. If you don't feel any movement, it could mean that there is an issue with their third eyelid.
Why Does It Happen?
A cherry eye occurs when the gland of the third eyelid prolapses and swells up, making it look like there's a cherry growing on the dog's face. The swelling pushes against the eyelid, causing it to bulge outwards.
Cherry eye can be caused by irritation from dust in your dog's eyes or an injury that causes swelling to develop within the gland itself. It may also be genetic, but this is rarer.
If you think your dog has a cherry eye. Take them to see your vet as soon as possible! If left untreated for too long, he'll start to squint because his vision will become blurry. This increases the risk of eye infections and even blindness!
Cherry eyes are mainly an aesthetic issue, but they must be corrected surgically to avoid possible infections or complications. The procedure is relatively simple and mostly requires an anesthetic tranquilizer, acepromazine.
It’s usually not expensive and can be done quickly in most cases. Your dog will not have any lasting complications if you follow the veterinarian's instructions after the surgery. The procedure is also extremely effective, with an estimated success rate of over 90%.
In most cases, the third eyelid gland only partially prolapses instead of completely out of its normal location. This makes it easier for your veterinarian to push it back into place and reattach it using stitches or surgical glue.
While some risks are associated with the surgery, these are very small and include infection and bleeding. Most dogs recover quickly after having their cherry eyes corrected by their veterinarians.
Some dogs with mild cherry eyes may be prescribed dog eye drops to help keep the tear ducts open and reduce inflammation, which can be easily bought from any pet pharmacy having pet medication.
Depending upon the severity of the condition, the vet may also prescribe painkillers like meloxicam or prednisone for dogs to help relieve the pain your furry baby may be suffering from. If your dog is fussy and it is difficult to feed him his medication, you can try pill pockets for dogs to trick him into eating medicines.
As you can see, cherry eye in dogs is a relatively common problem, and it isn't difficult to treat. It's important, however, that owners keep an eye on their dogs and be aware of any discomfort or pain symptoms so they can get treatment immediately. If left untreated, this condition could lead to serious health issues such as corneal ulcers resulting in blindness if not treated quickly enough.