My Dog Has a Problem with His Third Eyelid
One major difference between your eyes and those of your dog is that your dog has a third, protective lid. Under normal circumstances that membrane, referred to as the third eyelid, rests passively beneath your dog's lower lid. It should rise to cover the globe of the eye only under extreme circumstances when the eyeball retracts or gets pushed back in its socket. So, if you ever notice that third lid rising above the rim of your dog's lower eyelid, consider it an indication that something is wrong.
That third eyelid also contains a secretory a gland that helps lubricate the eye. Usually the gland is hidden beneath your dog's lower eyelid. But if it protrudes and you can see it, that's called cherry eye. This usually looks like a red, bulbous swelling arising from the lower corner of your dog's eye, closest to his muzzle. It's most common in the brachycephalic breeds like the pug, Pekingese, shih tzu, etc., because of their bulging eyes. These breeds tend to have less physical space for the gland, forcing it up and out.
What to Look For
Start by conducting a typical eye examination like the one outlined in “My Dog's Eyes Are Red”. Be as thorough as possible, looking for signs of irritation, asymmetry, or abnormal structures or appearance. As part of this exam, you will force the third eyelid of your dog's other eye to rise passively and you can use it for comparative purposes.
What to Do
Now, ask yourself the following questions to figure out how to proceed:
When to Get the Vet
If both of your dog's third eyelids are showing, you will need to see your veterinarian right away.
Text © 2007 by Robert D. "Jake" Tedaldi, D.V.M.