How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Kristen McMahon Your Own Question
Kristen McMahon
Kristen McMahon, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 182
Experience:  2001 VMD from University of Pennsylvania, 2007 Advanced Course in Veterinary Homeopathy
Type Your Dog Veterinary Question Here...
Kristen McMahon is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

My dogs eye is red and swollen in the inner corner. What should I do

Resolved Question:

My dog's eye is red and swollen in the inner corner. What should I do?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Kristen McMahon replied 5 years ago.

Kristen McMahon : Hello, I'm one of the veterinarians here at Just Answer. I'd be happy to help you with Sadie.
Kristen McMahon : I'm not sure if there is inflammation or a problem called "cherry eye." if you are able to take a picture and attach it please feel free to do so.

Thank you. What additional info do you need?

Kristen McMahon : If the problem is inflammation, you can flush her eye with some saline. This is the stuff that most contact lens wearers use and you can get it over the counter at any pharmacy.
Kristen McMahon : After flushing the eye to remove any potential debris, you can try putting a drop of Visine into the eye two to three times per day.

I'm sorry, I'm not at home and don't have a camera. This is the second time it's happened and both times it went away, but I was wondering if I could use something to wash it out with visine?


Looks like you just answered that

Kristen McMahon : I'm going to see if I can find a picture of a cherry eye to send to you. If that is what she has the only way to correct that problem is surgery.


Kristen McMahon : If it has come and gone, it probably isn't a cherry eye, however, mild cases can resolve on their own. Hold on a moment while I see if I can find some information/photos for you.
Kristen McMahon :

By Wendy C. Brooks, DVM, DipABVP
Educational Director,

Cherry Eye


Prolapse of the Tear Gland of the Third Eyelid



The normal canine eye receives its tear film from two lacrimal (tear-producing) glands. One gland is located above the eye, and the other is found within the animal's third eyelid. The gland of the third eyelid contributes a significant portion of secretion to the tear film.

In the smaller breeds -- especially Boston terriers, Cocker spaniels, bulldogs and beagles -- the gland of the third eyelid is not strongly held in place. The gland prolapses (slips out) to where the owner notices it as a reddened mass. Out of its normal position, the gland does not circulate blood properly and may swell.

Treatment - Removal of the Gland

Historically, the prolapsed gland was treated like a small tumor and was simply removed. That was before the full significance of the gland was realized.

If the third eyelid's tear gland is removed, it cannot be put back in place. If the other tear gland (the one above the eye) cannot supply adequate tears, which is not an uncommon phenomenon in older small breed dogs, then the eye becomes dry and uncomfortable. A thick yellow discharge results and the eye develops a blinding pigment covering for protection. This condition is called simply dry eye, or more scientifically keratoconjunctivitis sicca, and daily medical treatment is required to keep the eye both comfortable and visual. Not only is dry eye uncomfortable for the pet, its treatment is often frustrating and time-consuming and there is expense involved. We would like the dog to maintain the greatest amount of tear producing tissue possible, thus removing the gland for cosmetic reasons is not an acceptable treatment method.

Treatment - Replacing the Gland

The only acceptable treatment of cherry eye is replacement of the gland in its proper location. There are two techniques for doing this. The traditional tucking method is probably most commonly performed. Here, a single stitch is permanently placed that draws the gland back where it belongs. Complications are uncommon but be aware of the following possibilities:

  • If the stitch unties, the surface of the eye could become scratched by the suture. If this occurs, the eye will become suddenly painful and the suture thread may be visible. The suture can be removed and the problem solved.

  • The tuck may not be anchored well enough to hold permanently. In fact, this surgery is notorious for this type of failure and frequently a second tuck is needed. If this occurs, we recommend that a board certified ophthalmologist perform the second surgery to maximize the chances of permanent resolution.

  • Sometimes cherry eye is accompanied by other eyelid problems that make the repair more difficult or less likely to succeed. In these cases, again, if the simple surgery is not adequate, we recommend that a veterinary ophthalmologist perform the second surgery to maximize the chances of a permanent resolution.

In a newer surgical technique, a wedge of tissue is removed from directly over the actual gland. This technique is more challenging as it is not easy to determine how much tissue to remove. Tiny stitches that will eventually dissolve are used to close the gap so that the tightening of the incision margins pushes the gland back in place. Complications may include:

  • Inflammation or swelling as the stitches dissolve.

  • Inadequate tightening of the tissue gap may lead to recurrence of the cherry eye. As mentioned, if the surgery fails, a veterinary ophthalmologist should perform the second surgery.

  • Failure of the stitches to hold and associated discomfort. Loose stitches could injure the eye depending on the type of suture used.

Sometimes both surgical techniques are used in the same eye to achieve a good replacement. Harmful complications from cherry eye surgery are unusual but recurrence of the cherry eye is common. If a cherry eye recurs, it is important to let your veterinarian know so that a second surgery either with your normal veterinarian or with an ophthalmology specialist can be planned. An owner should expect some postoperative swelling after cherry eye repair but this should resolve and the eye should be comfortable and normal in appearance after about a week. If the eye appears suddenly painful or unusual in appearance, it is important that it be rechecked as soon as possible.


Kristen McMahon :

The picture didn't show up - let me try that part again.

Kristen McMahon :

Full Size Image

Kristen McMahon :

If you have any other questions for me please let me know - I'm here to help. And if you were happy with our chat, clicking on accept would be much appreciated.

Kristen McMahon and other Dog Veterinary Specialists are ready to help you

Related Dog Veterinary Questions