What Causes Cherry Eye in English Bulldogs?

English bulldogs are susceptible to a few health problems and cherry eye is one of the most common among them. In this post, we will help you to understand what causes cherry eye in English bulldogs, provide ways that you can prevent it, and finally methods to take care of it when it occurs.

What causes cherry eye in English bulldogs?

The exact cause of cherry eye in English bulldogs is not known. We do know that English bulldogs can be predisposed to having a weak fibrous attachment that holds their third eyelid in place. This weakening can lead to the prolapse of the third eyelid, which is what we refer to as cherry eye.

The primary function of the third eyelid is to aid in the production of tears in the eyes by supplying nutrients and oxygen to the tear gland. The tear gland is present in the corner of the eye and the third eyelid hides and protects it. However, whenever there is stretching or folding, or detachment of the third eyelid, the tear gland is visible, and this condition is known as cherry eye. Apart from the prolapse of the third eyelid, some of the other causes of this ailment include:

• Genetic causes

• Abnormal cell structure in the third eyelid

• Inverted cartilage of the third eyelid

• Infections

• Trauma

• Stress

These are some of the causes of this ailment in English bulldogs. When the dog is suffering from this condition, there is a reddish pink mass which appears at the corner of the eyes. Although cherry eye might not be painful for your dog, it can lead to infections which can be painful. This is why it’s important to catch cherry eye before it leads to bigger problems.

Symptoms of cherry eye in English bulldogs

Apart from the appearance of the red mass near the corner of the eye, there are a few other symptoms which you can detect as well. These include:

• The occurrence of frequent eye infections, which could be because your bully is unable to produce tears to protect his or her eyes from foreign materials.

• Swelling of the eyes and the areas around the eyes

• Irregular eye discharge

• Consistent irritation and discomfort of the dog

• Excessive dry eye

How to get rid of cherry eye in English bulldogs


Unfortunately, surgery is the best remedy to this problem, so the best thing to do when you spot it is to take your dog to the vet.

Luckily, the operation is a fairly routine procedure there is usually no excessive risk to the dog. There are some rare cases when the vet might suggest a non-invasive procedure, or suggest an ointment or other medication to help soothe the problem.

In some cases, when the cause is inflammation, the doctor may also prescribe your dog an anti-inflammatory medicine. This will not only reduce the infection, but also the swelling around the eyes, which will make your dog much more comfortable.

When should you consult a vet?

In general, you should consult your vet as soon as you notice anything unusual with your bulldog’s body or health. When it comes to cherry, eye, as soon as you notice any bumps around your dog’s eye or excessive redness or dryness, it is best to consult your vet.

What are the long-term side effects of this ailment in English bulldogs?

If this problem is not treated for an extended period, it can result in some longer term negative effects. These can be:

• The blood flow to the tear gland can be restricted if the third eyelid remains prolapsed.

• The eyes may swell even more over time.

• The production of tears can be hampered, which can cause dry eyes and result in infections.

• Secondary eye infections might break out, which can impact the skin around the eyes as well.

• It can also hamper the vision of your dog.

These are some of the effects that can occur of cherry eye is not treated immediately.

English bulldogs are quite susceptible to cherry eye, so it’s good to be aware of the causes, symptoms, and remedies to ensure that you take the right steps to help your dog when he suffers from this condition.

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