Cherry Eye or Ben Eye for Small Breed Dogs

What is Cherry Eye?

“Cherry Eye” or ben eye is a congenital eye defect where the canine’s ‘third eyelid’ the nictitating membranebecomes prolapsed or visible. This third eyelid is responsible for keeping the eye moist. Cherry eye often looks like a swollen red blister at the corner of the eye. Cherry eye is common in a variety of dog breeds especially those with larger protruding eyes like chihuahuas.

What Causes Cherry Eye?

Cherry eye occurs when the connective tissue around the third eyelid weakens. This can be a result of numerous factors including injury, old age, neurological damage, or hereditary, although direct cause is unknown.


What are the Symptoms of Cherry eye?

Symptoms of cherry eye are very minimal and do not pose a health risk. This disorder is more unsightly than anything. If your chihuahua has Cherry Eye, you may notice it slipping in and out of place on occasion depending on severity. The condition does not worsen, but stays the same if left alone. Depending on the case, it may even strengthen on its own going back into place. Aaron and I have had experience in both incidences with our chihuahuas.


What is the treatment of Cherry Eye?

In most cases, the Veterinarian will want to opt for surgery to cut out and remove the cherry eye.(Why? because they are making a lot of money off of you dummy!) If you opt for surgery, it is likely your dog will suffer additional eye problems such as constant eye dryness which will require him to have daily eye drops. If your Vet is skilled and educated enough, they may be able to reposition the tissue in place with out removal. If you can live with it, our best advice would be to leave it alone or wait until your dog or puppy is spayed/neutered to get it all done at once. We never recommend putting a small chihuahua in surgery unnecessarily. It is too risky!

If you do experience this eye problem with your chihuahua, please ask your Vet a lot of questions to determine what option is best for you and your Chihuahua! Have any experience with cherry eye in chihuahuas or other breeds ? Please feel free to share your thoughts!


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