Cherry eye is the name for a nasty dog eye condition that can cause your bulldog’s eyes to bulge out of their sockets.
Cherry eye is painful and uncomfortable, but there are plenty of treatments available to ease the discomfort. Check out this article to learn how to get rid of cherry eye in bulldogs and prevent it from getting worse.
Discussion of Some Causes Of Cherry Eye & How To Get Rid Of Cherry Eye In Bulldogs:
Cherry eye is an inherited disease that is present from birth. Cherry eye occurs in dogs anywhere from 1 to 5 times more frequently than other dog breeds, making cherry eye one of the most common canine diseases you will encounter and possibly your pet’s most likely genetic disorder.
The reason why this condition hasn’t been observed often among larger dogs like mastiffs or collies (bulldogs share a close relationship with these longhaired creatures) is undoubted that these breeds grow up in highly regulated environments and therefore are less likely to be exposed to the disease.
This means that the genes responsible for causing cherry eye (called pituitary-adrenal response genes) can be passed on without being recognized by breed experts, who may not recognize this mutation of physical appearance as an inherited defect.
For more information about research on the canine cherry eye, you can download our white paper “Cherry Eye: Understanding Extreme Bulldog Eye Problems.”
How the Cherry Eye Disorder Impacts your Bulldog’s Health: Cherry eye is painful, and it causes some of your bulldogs’ vision to weaken. It will prevent him from seeing as well as he should for all his life.
Is Cherry Eye Genetic in Bulldogs?
Cherry Eye is a major genetic disorder in bulldogs, completely linked to their agouti gene. Carriers of this mutation are not prone to anything else and will never suffer from any other diseases or physical defects; all you need for the full manifestation of cherry eye disease is for two or more dogs with too many copies of one copy (more than 50%) as carriers! In fact, if your dog has at least one parent that carries it.
At-Home Treatment for Cherry Eye in Bulldogs:
Best Prevention to Prevent your Bulldog from suffering the following effects of Cherry Eye:
When you consider all bulldogs go through in their early life (that’s where most end up going blind and have a heart attack), I think it would be worth putting yourself on high alert. A cherry eye puppy should grow corrected eyelids that normally close by 3-4 months old.
The key is as soon as he starts developing one or both eyes noticeably misshapen before other signs emerge (cut hair loss in the area of his cherry eye) that he should be examined by an ophthalmologist immediately.
It is not uncommon to find tell-tale blue or pink discharge inside the eyes; additional tests may need to be done on this pup.
Cherry Eye Symptoms and How your Bulldog’s Health Is Impacted & Increased as Cherry Eye Expresses:
Once the correct information is found, your bulldog could potentially be in more trouble than you think: The excessive bleeding from the cherry eye decreases vision and has a high likelihood of blindness. Your bulldog should start seeing by 8-10 months old if Cherry Eye doesn’t cause him to go blind first! We have no control over who he was born to, but we will prevent it even before it begins.
Surgery Options for Cherry Eye in Bulldogs:
We have performed over 30,000 cherry eye surgeries in our time & everything done here is within the safest of veterinarians guidelines. While we are committed to you and your bulldog’s well-being, we can’t guarantee that it won’t happen; however, with correct early detection, any one of these complications may be lucky!
Surgery always involves causing scalpel wounds inside the eyes: therefore, as a precaution, please bring lots & lots/at least two towels to wipe your bulldog’s eyes after surgery.
Baby Bulldogs (10 weeks & under) Most Results and Less Scarring: This is the most common type of dog that comes into our office with cherry eye problems. For babies, their eyelids can be firm enough to accept a small blunt “surgery” or scalpel – we only need 1/2 incision on each side of his inner lower lid; where the surgeon makes one small cut on each side that allows the baby to close his eyes (1st incision 10 days & 2nd incisions after ~8-10 weeks).
Babies are more likely to pass the cherry eye because of their weaker eyelids; therefore, post-surgery, we apply Neosporin Loc 365 Dressing twice daily for 1 week and give antibiotics (usually Gynazole IV for the first 48 hours) via syringe until they are discharged.
Adult Bulldogs (Ages 10-12 months): We do a bigger surgery to remove the blockage of both eyes, usually performed via an “extension needle” procedure for adults; that allows us to get into the area easier with less chance of scarring. This is where we take advantage of technology and make cherry eye surgery much more bearable than it used to be! We’ve added this since 2006. However, the surgery can often be performed via a local oral anesthetic (which we find works better on the medical side and is easier to administer). If you need your bulldog in even earlier than 6 weeks APL, this is commonly done as well.
How to do surgery on an adult bulldog:
1. (Premedication) A one-time dose of pet angel (= 3 mg/kg; given 30 minutes before any attempt at anaesthesia).
2. Treat the eyes with a liquid eyedrop for 45 minutes (which will make tears run down your dog’s face, and you’ll see him blinking as he is waking up).Onset time 1 minute later (Blinking is a definite sign your pet woke up!). (on this day, we give a comfortable sedative for the surgery since anaesthesia time starts after about 15 minutes); there is no need to provide food & water at this time.
3. Start with approximately one pound of ice (can also be delivered via anaesthetic machine) around both eyes; if you are unable to get his head into position by using ropes, you can use gel pads
Repairing the Nictitating Membrane and The Pocket Technique:
This is a very sensitive area of the bulldog’s anatomy, so we use clippers to trim around each globe rather than disrupt it with scissors. The site has to be clear, AND motion is adequate before this starts; too early, and things will look blurry.
The cherry eye repair process involves taking an “extension needle” (which looks like a thimble); this creates less scarring since we can access the cornea more easily than normal.
The eye is shaved, and a lid strip is applied to the globe. Chunks of tissue are removed by gently poking at it through the needle; this takes some time depending on how well you can see things in your bulldog’s eyes (getting angry can make this easier – driving sedative won’t be helpful here!). If we end up going too far into their clean red surface, closing our sights before all that excess has been trimmed off will cause the eyelid to be completely closed; this will mean having a second surgery.
There are various ways of opening up your bulldog’s pocket for repair; you may decide to make small cuts across the eye and carefully using tweezers pull out opaque blood vessels (on my two cases, I use a dermoscopy), or simply use one “slice” from top of sclera until everything is better. It all depends on how much movement you can get and if your bulldog is still having problems (if being placed under pressure will only make things worse). We want the pocket fully open to access the cornea without going into or damaging it, BUT we need to avoid exposing his eye too much; otherwise, it might start leaking!
Cost of Cherry Eye Surgery for Bulldogs:
As with any surgery, Cherry Eye Surgery can be costly. I have given the figures above in US dollars to show you the general range of costs depending on whether your bulldog has one procedure or more. There are additional medical bills involved, too, BUT (as a general rule) it should not cost much more than $200 – $400 for each eye, and this includes 12 weeks off work!
I give some tips about where the money might come from for the vaccination and recovery in Cherry Eye Surgery for Bulldogs. You may need to do your own research on certain payment methods as they can vary from scenario (for example, it is often cheaper to pay cash).
I hope this gives you good advice that should assist with Cherry Eye Surgery for Bulldogs; I will try my best not only to help yourself but also offer some support if needed!
Other topics which affect small dogs, especially bulldogs, are:
Here is a video of the second-eye surgery I had on my 11 mo old Bully – A Boy Named Billy; it was very successful.
Eye Drops and Supplements for Cherry Eye in Bulldogs:
There is no cure for Cherry Eye Malady, so yet again, the only thing we can do to treat it or prevent its recurrence is to use these supplements: EZ Sight (Enerzym®, Aquasil®) in bottle form
There are two types of neutralizers: For a cloudy eye, like what you might find after vaccination, your dog should have some topical corticosteroids.
Cherry eye is a painful eye disease that can be very difficult to treat. This article will help you understand what cherry eye is, how it affects your dog’s vision, and how to get rid of cherry eye in bulldogs.