Cherry Eye In English Bulldogs Causes Symptoms And Home Treatment Options
Cherry Eye In English Bulldogs Causes Symptoms And Home Treatment Options

Cherry Eye in English Bulldogs: Understanding Causes, Spotting Symptoms, and Exploring Home Remedies

Cherry eye in English Bulldogs is a common condition that affects their distinctive, expressive eyes.

English Bulldogs, among other breeds, are predisposed to this ailment due to their facial structure.

The condition arises when the gland of the third eyelid, also known as the nictitating membrane, prolapses or ‘pops out,’ giving the appearance of a red or pink mass in the corner of the eye.

This gland is responsible for a significant portion of the eye’s tear production, which is vital for maintaining the health and moisture of the eye’s surface.

The symptoms of cherry eye are quite noticeable, with the most obvious being the red swelling in the corner of the eye.

It may be accompanied by eye discharge, irritation, or dryness, which can cause discomfort to the affected dog.

Owners might also notice their Bulldog pawing at their eye or exhibiting signs of distress due to the irritation.

While cherry eye can sometimes resolve on its own, it often requires intervention to prevent potential long-term effects, such as diminished tear production or even secondary infections.

There are home treatment options that may provide relief and manage symptoms for Bulldogs with cherry eye.

These can include gently cleaning the eye with a saline solution to remove debris and administration of prescribed eye drops to reduce inflammation.

However, these home treatments are often temporary measures.

In many cases, surgical intervention may be required to correct the condition and prevent recurrence, ensuring that these affectionate companions maintain their eye health and comfort.

Understanding Cherry Eye in Bulldogs

Cheryl eye is a common condition that affects Bulldogs, involving the prolapse of the nictitating membrane—also known as the third eyelid.

This section thoroughly explains what cherry eye is, why it’s prevalent in certain breeds, and the signs to look out for.

Defining Cherry Eye: Prolapse of the Nictitating Membrane

Cherry eye occurs when the third eyelid’s gland, responsible for tear production, prolapses or pops out of its normal position, creating a noticeable red mass.

This prolapse of the nictitating membrane is not just an aesthetic issue; it can lead to more serious health concerns if left untreated.

Prevalence in Certain Breeds

Having a genetic predisposition, cherry eye is notably more common in brachycephalic breeds due to their facial structure.

Bulldogs, particularly the English and French Bulldogs, along with Beagles, Boston Terriers, Shih Tzus, Cocker Spaniels, and Lhasa Apsos, are breeds often affected by this condition.

Recognizing Symptoms and Identifying Pain

Owners should look for symptoms such as noticeable swelling or a red mass in the corner of the eye.

Bulldogs with cherry eye may exhibit signs of discomfort or pain, including pawing at the eye or rubbing their face.

Additionally, ocular discharge or an increase in tear production, often appearing as excessive tearing or discharge, can be clear indicators of cherry eye.

Treatment Options for Cherry Eye

Cherry Eye is a common condition in English Bulldogs where the gland of the third eyelid, also known as the nictitans, becomes prolapsed.

Effective treatment options range from initial home care to surgical intervention to correct this uncomfortable condition.

Initial Home Care Strategies

For initial at-home care, owners can employ gentle massage to the affected eye, which may help reposition the prolapsed gland.

It is important to wash hands thoroughly before and after attempting this.

Applying artificial tears can keep the eye lubricated, which may offer some relief.

However, these are temporary solutions and often, veterinary consultation is inevitable.

When to Consult a Veterinarian

If home remedies do not resolve the cherry eye, or if it recurs, it’s time to consult a veterinarian.

Vets can prescribe eye drops or ointment to reduce inflammation and keep the eye moist.

They will also assess if the condition requires surgical correction, which is a common outcome for cherry eye.

Surgical Interventions

Surgery is often recommended to treat cherry eye in English Bulldogs.

There are different types of surgical procedures such as gland removal, though it’s generally avoided due to the increased risk of dry eye.

More commonly, veterinarians opt for procedures that preserve the gland, like tacking or imbrication, which secure the prolapsed gland back into place.

It’s crucial that these procedures are performed by a skilled veterinarian, as loose stitches can lead to recurrence.

Post Treatment and Complications

After treatment for cherry eye, specifically in English Bulldogs, proper aftercare is essential to ensure a smooth recovery and to minimize risks.

This period requires careful management and understanding of potential complications to safeguard the health of the bulldog.

Managing Aftercare

Post-treatment care for English Bulldogs is crucial to prevent complications.

Owners should follow the veterinarian’s instructions for administering any medications prescribed, which may include antibiotics or pain relief.

Consistent regular eye care is needed to monitor the healing process.

The use of an Elizabethan collar may be necessary to prevent the dog from rubbing or scratching its eyes, which can lead to irritation or infection.

  • Medications: Always give as directed.
  • Regular check-ups: Schedule follow-ups with the vet.
  • Eye protection: Consider dog goggles to keep debris out.
  • Comfort: Ensure a quiet and stress-free environment for recovery.

Possible Complications and Prognosis

Following surgery, dogs may experience several complications such as infection, conjunctivitis, or dry eye (keratoconjunctivitis sicca).

In some cases, gland removal can cause chronic dry eye, which could necessitate lifelong medication to maintain eye moisture.

Other serious complications can include corneal ulcers.

The prognosis is generally good when complications are promptly addressed.

  • Dry eye: Watch for signs of discomfort or unusual dryness.
  • Gland removal: Long-term effects need to be monitored.
  • Infection: Look for any signs of infection or persistent swelling.

Financial Concerns: Understanding Costs

The cost of treating cherry eye in English Bulldogs can vary widely.

Expenses may include the initial surgery, medications, and potential lifelong medication for conditions such as dry eye.

Additionally, costs can accumulate from follow-up visits to the veterinarian and any unforeseen complications that require further treatment.

Pet insurance may help alleviate some financial strain.

  • Surgery: Be aware that costs will vary by location and clinic.
  • Medications: Factor in the long-term price of any required medications.
  • Insurance: Check if your policy covers cherry eye and related treatments.

Preventing Cherry Eye: Tips for Pet Owners

Preventing Cherry Eye in bulldogs involves a proactive approach to pet health, especially focusing on regular eye care and understanding the genetic factors that contribute to this condition.

Routine Health and Eye Care

For bulldog owners, regular health checks are essential in spotting any early signs of Cherry Eye.

This includes routine observation for any unusual signs in their pet’s eyes, such as redness or swelling.

They should also ensure their bulldog’s eyes are kept clean; this can involve gently wiping the area with a damp cloth and using dog-safe eye drops to keep the eyes moist and free from irritants.

Regular cleaning of the eyes is crucial in preventing Cherry Eye, as it helps to remove potential irritants that can cause the condition.

Owners can reduce exposure to environmental triggers such as dust and smoke, which are known to irritate the eyes.

Genetic Considerations and Breeding Practices

When it comes to breeding Bulldogs, genetic predisposition plays a significant role in the health problems they might encounter, including Cherry Eye.

Prospective Bulldog owners should research and choose breeders who prioritize the health of their animals and adhere to responsible breeding practices to minimise genetic health issues.

Bulldogs are genetically predisposed to Cherry Eye, so selecting a breeder who uses selective breeding practices to reduce the incidence of such hereditary conditions is an important prevention strategy.

Courteous inquiry about the history of Cherry Eye in their breeding lines is something a responsible breeder would be transparent about.

Frequently Asked Questions About Cherry Eye in Bulldogs

Cherry Eye is a common issue in English Bulldogs, marked by a red swollen mass in the corner of the eye.

This section aims to address concerns and inform when professional help is needed.

Addressing Common Concerns

Q: What causes Cherry Eye in Bulldogs?

A: Cherry Eye in Bulldogs is caused by a prolapse of the nictitating membrane’s tear gland, leading to visible redness and swelling.

Q: What are the symptoms of Cherry Eye?

A: Symptoms include a noticeable red bulge in the eye area, tear production changes, and potential irritation or dryness.

Q: Can Cherry Eye lead to other health issues for Bulldogs?

A: If untreated, Cherry Eye can result in conditions like conjunctiva inflammation or decreased tear production, causing dryness and discomfort.

Q: What are some home treatment options for Cherry Eye?

A: For minor cases, gentle massaging and lubrication using vet-approved eye drops can help.

However, persistent or severe cases require professional treatment.

Advanced Questions: When to Seek an Ophthalmologist

Q: When should an owner take their Bulldog to see an ophthalmologist for Cherry Eye?

A: They should consult an ophthalmologist if:

  • The Cherry Eye persists after home treatment
  • There’s significant inflammation, irritation, or changes in behavior
  • Indicators of pain, like squinting or excessive tearing, appear

Q: What is a Schirmer tear test and how can it help?

A: A Schirmer tear test measures tear production to assess eye dryness.

This test can guide an ophthalmologist in determining the severity of Cherry Eye and the best treatment course.

Q: Are Bulldogs with Cherry Eye at risk for developing allergies?

A: While Cherry Eye itself is not caused by allergies, Bulldogs with this condition can be more susceptible to irritations that may exacerbate allergy symptoms.

Q: What are the advanced treatments an ophthalmologist might recommend?

A: Treatments can include:

  • Surgery to reposition or remove the prolapsed gland
  • Medications to reduce inflammation and maintain tear production

About the author


Hayley Smith is a passionate advocate for holistic dog nutrition and healing. With a Bachelor's degree in Veterinary Science and a certification in Canine Nutrition, Hayley has devoted her career to understanding the link between a dog's diet and their overall health and wellbeing.

Before joining our team, Hayley worked as a veterinary nutritionist for a decade, where she helped develop tailored diets for dogs with various health issues. Her work in the clinic also involved educating pet parents on the benefits of natural remedies.

When she's not researching the latest in dog nutrition or writing, Hayley enjoys volunteering at local animal shelters and spending time with her two rescue dogs.
Her mission is to bridge the gap between traditional veterinary practices and holistic approaches to pet care, ensuring every dog can lead a happy, healthy life.