Cherry Eye In Frenchies: Causes, Diagnosis, and Management

Did you know that Frenchies have three eyelids? The third one is an extra eyelid that sweeps back and forth across the eye surface. What is its function? It provides protection and spreads the tear film known as the nictitating membrane. The third eyelid is usually not visible. But once there’s already an inflammation, it may pop out, leading to cherry eye.

Cherry eye in dogs is often called the “third eyelid gland prolapse.” The third eyelid gland or the nictitans gland, and lacrimal gland produce the tear film in a dog’s eye. The latter produces around 60% of the tear film. This means that it has a highly significant part in maintaining the lubrication of the surface of the Frenchie’s eye. When the eye surface becomes strained and dry, the eye is uncomfortable and becomes susceptible to developing corneal ulceration, conjunctivitis, and unusual types of discharges.

In this article, we will discuss how cherry eye affects the eye, its cost, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention.

How Does Cherry Eye Affect The Dog’s Eyes?

The prolapsed gland doesn’t release any tears any longer if it is in the incorrect area. This means that the eye surface can become dry, even though the cherry eye isn’t usually painful. It can cause slight irritation, increased discharges from the affected eye, as well as conjunctivitis or inflammation of the surrounding eye. 

Third eyelid gland prolapse can affect both eyes, but that doesn’t mean that this necessarily happens all the time. Concurrently, the second eye usually becomes affected for several weeks after the first one. Well, eye infections normally require a scrape or a cut to develop a cherry eye. It is not because of the way you keep your dog’s eye clean. The disorder happens when the third eyelid connects to the rest of the eyes’ anatomical structures by ligaments that are weak. 

The prolapse happens when the ligaments break. So, since it is a sensitive gland that is not usually exposed to the outside environment, bacteria or dust that is present in the air can easily attack the eye. This can lead to the third eyelid infection.

What Causes Cherry Eye In Frenchies?

Cherry eye usually happens in Frenchies between the ages of six weeks to two years old. It is pretty likely that you, as a parent, have done nothing wrong. If your dog has developed this condition, it is not because of you. If a dog is born with weak ligaments, he or she is likely to get the cherry eye. There is also a genetic reason involved as well. Since some of the dog breeds that are most likely to develop cherry eyes are Bulldogs and miniature poodles.

Symptoms of Cherry Eye

The easiest to spot in a prominent clinical sign of a prolapsed gland is the appearance of a cherry-like formation in the lower corner of the dog’s eye. The gland pops out, and it’s really red, so it can be relatively easy to spot even if you’re not a specialist. Additional symptoms include dryness in the affected eye, and tear production can be halted or significantly reduced.

A dog with a cherry eye can rub and pull its affected eye. It also squints or has a hard time seeing. Take note also of the swelling because this sign is very common in the cherry eye.

Diagnosing The Condition

👁️ Surgery

Collect all the clinical signs mentioned above and take your dog to the vet to diagnose the cherry eye. It is a great idea to look for a vet who has experience in treating this condition. The diagnosis will be more in-depth and select a treatment that is best for your Frenchie. Treatment of the condition is done under local and general anesthesia. This is because the vet will push the gland and place it back into its original place.

There are vets that will do surgery to remove the gland in its entirety, but it is not recommended. In fact, removing the gland can affect their production. Most dogs that have their gland removed are at high risk of developing a condition known as dry eye or keratoconjunctivitis sicca. Later on, if surgery is selected, only a part of the gland’s outer cover is usually removed. The gland itself is stuck inside the third eyelid and back into place.

👁️ After Surgery

Frenchies that have their cherry eye corrected using this method have a good chance of recovering without any complications. Unfortunately, there is a five to twenty percent chance that the gland slips up of place again. But this depends on the amount of time it was already out, how severe the swollen part was, the type of surgical procedure that was performed, as well as the health of the cartilage in the third eyelid. Prompt medical treatment is required to prevent recurrence after surgery. The dog will acquire post-operative medication that can include eye drops for one to two weeks as well as painkillers and antibiotics.

Stitched material is absorbable with this particular type of surgery, so there is no need for you to remove it afterward.

Can You Prevent Cherry Eye?

There is no way of skipping off or preventing this medical eye condition from happening. It usually runs in their family, so it is a good idea to avoid breeding that had the condition when they were young. However, it is vital to stay focused on your dog size, especially if you are the owner of the breed that is most predisposed to this medical issue. 

Home Management

Stroking it back into position is a non-surgical procedure that is frequently promoted as a home cure for the cherry eye. This is considered a less complicated, less expensive, and less traumatic option to surgery. This generally only works in circumstances when the mucosa is still firm enough to retain the gland before it is restored to its normal position. The connective tissue weakens with time and can no longer retain the gland in position. As a result, it is strictly advised that you take your Frenchie to the vet as early as you can in order to have the most significant potential healing outcome.

Other Eye Problems Of A Frenchie

Photo credits: Happy French Bulldog

👁️ Entropion

A Frenchie is prone to entropion, which is inward curling of the eyelid corners. The volume of epidermis and folds enveloping your Frenchie’s face area and the creases’ weight determine the severity of the entropion. Once this occurs, the eyelashes brush against its eyeball, which really is excruciating. Each time your Frenchie blinks, its eyelashes will irritate its eyes. A vet will perform a surgical procedure to remove the damaged eyelashes to address this illness. Usually, this surgical procedure is effective. Following the procedure, the veterinarian may give an eye solution to reduce swelling.

👁️ Ectropion

The lower eyelid of your Frenchie droops or even falls outward as a result of this disorder. Ectropion will reveal the third eyelid as well as the sensitive tissues in your Frenchie’s eyes. When your pet gets ectropion, it usually affects both eyes. Frenchies will develop minor ectropion in certain circumstances, which is manageable and does not need specific treatment. However, if the drooping of the eyelids is extreme, the only method to correct it is via surgery. Eye drops for lubrication and ointments are also used to keep the eye from wearing out. Ophthalmic antibiotics will also be administered to treat any corneal ulcers.

👁️ Corneal Ulcers

Corneal eye ulcers are most typically seen in Frenchies as a result of trauma and inflammation. Another typical reason is a corneal chemical burn. T his problem is also referred to as ulcerative keratitis. If not treated promptly, this problem can lead to vision impairment. An ulcer occurs when there is an abrasion up to the stroma of the Frenchie’s eye. The stroma subsequently readily takes up the tears, giving the eyes a foggy vision. A Frenchie with a corneal ulcer is usually treated with antibiotics and pain medications several times each day. Injectable drugs are occasionally recommended or given for faster recovery. When corneal ulcers are treated appropriately, dogs nearly invariably retain their vision.

Taking Care Of Their Eyes

👁️ Unclogging

The basic therapy for simple nasolacrimal duct blockage is a daily routine of nasolacrimal massage, followed by lid washing with warm, clean water and topical medications. The eyelid is pushed back in the clinic, and a tiny catheter is placed into the tear duct opening. Sterile fluid is carefully injected into the tear duct with a needle under extremely low pressure. Debris and mucus are often drained out and cleansed or cleared in this manner so as not to pollute the eye region.

👁️ Balanced Diet

Giving your Frenchie the highest quality of food may lower the risk of various eye problems. Include the essential vitamins such as Vitamin A, B-complex, Vitamin C, D, E, and more in its food. Do not also forget hydration because this will help lubricate the eyes and the other parts of its body. 

👁️ Cleansing

Maintain the cleanliness of your French bulldog’s eyes on a regular basis, cleaning any gunk, dirt, or filaments that cause them to tear much more normally, resulting in brown dirt. You must also maintain the area as dry as you can so that germs do not develop in the moisture of the eye. Drying the eye doesn’t mean you always wipe the moisture. You can leave some of that moisture for some lubrication. There are several methods for cleaning your Frenchie’s eyes. Things will get better if they are used from a young age, starting five minutes a day to maintain eye health. Aside from that, you can periodically praise him for his excellent cleaning behavior.

Bottom Line

Sadly, you could discover a lump emerging from your French Bulldog’s eye someday. It will resemble a cherry and will protrude from the corner. But! The cherry eye of a French Bulldog is not deadly. On the other hand, your dog will be in a lot of pain as a result of it. It is critical that you realize that cherry eye is a prevalent issue in this type of dog. In most cases, this ailment will develop while your Frenchie is still tiny. But don’t panic; if caught early enough, it’s a reasonably manageable condition.