For the last week I have noticed a red bulge in the corner of my six-month-old Pug’s eye, but sometimes when I look, it isn’t there. He seems quite comfortable, but it does look sore. What should I do?
James Farrell advises…
What you describe is probably ‘cherry eye’, named because the red bulge looks like a cherry. It is, in fact, the third eyelid tear gland that normally sits behind the third eyelid, against the eye itself. In short-nosed breeds, such as the Pug, Shih Tzu, Lhasa Apso and Bulldog, it sometimes prolapses and flips out over the top of the third eyelid and sits in the corner of the dog’s eye. It isn’t usually a painful condition, but they can get inflamed and the dog can rub them, which can then cause other problems.
You should take him to your vet to confirm this and for the rest of the eye to be checked for any other problems (like foreign material or ulcers). If cherry eye is confirmed, I’d suggest repair surgery, which involves a short general anaesthetic to allow the surgeon to create a small pocket on the inside of the third eyelid, which the gland can be sewn into and held back in place. Occasionally, they do prolapse again, but most will stay in situ.
Alternatively, the gland can be removed, but I would not suggest this as a first option, as it is important in contributing to the tears of the eye and its removal could lead to a dry eye, causing other problems for the eye (like ulcers) in the future.