Bulldogs “3rd Eyelid” Can Develop The Condition Cherry Eye

Bulldog Third Eyelid Cherry Eye
Cherry Eye is most common in dog breeds with Brachycephalic Syndrome (e.g. short nose breeds)

What is Cherry Eye?    

Unlike humans, dogs (and some other animals) have a “third eyelid” called a nictitating membrane.¬† This membrane has its own dedicated tear gland.¬† Cherry eye is when this gland prolapse (slips) out of the bottom corner of the Bulldog’s eye.¬† The actual medical term for Cherry Eye is, “Prolapsed Gland of the Third Eyelid”.

The purposes of the 3rd eyelid are:

  1. Clear debris / mucus off the eye – kind of like a windshield wiper.
  2. The gland itself produces ~33% of the dogs tears, which serve to moisturize the eye.
  3. Antibiotic Рthe tears produce antibodies to help fight infection
  4. Protection of the eye.


Symptoms of Cherry Eye: 

It’s pretty obvious if your Bulldog has this condition.¬† You can see in the picture that it is very noticeable when the nictitating membrane is protruded.

The good news is that if your Bulldog has this issue, they are likely not in any pain.¬† It’s typically more painful for you to look at than it is for the dog.¬† ūüôā


Causes of Cherry Eye: 

The connective tissue around the tear gland of the third eyelid becomes weak and starts to move.  Movement causes irritation and swelling of the gland.  It is not known why the connective tissue becomes weak.

If your Bulldog gets cherry eye in one eye, it’s important to look out for it in the other eye as well … because they have a much higher likelihood of getting it in the other eye.

It is believed that genetics, inflammation, and infection may all contribute to causing cherry eye. 


Treatment of Cherry Eye: 

It’s important to get treatment as soon as you notice this problem.¬† The longer you wait, the more swelling that likely to occur.¬† More swelling means the harder it will be to correct.

The first treatment option is for a vet or medical professional to try to massage or pop it back into place.¬† This may work.¬† However, it’s not really treating the underlying cause (e.g. weak connective tissue) … so it may come back.¬† Many times, the vet will prescribe a topical cream that contains anti-inflammatory and antibiotic compounds.

Surgery is another option.  There are 3 surgery options that are common:

  1. Pocketing method: This is when the vet creates a new “pocket” to put the gland into to hold.¬† There are other types of “surgical re-positioning” strategies as well.
  2. Anchoring method: This is what it sounds like … the tear gland gets anchored down.
  3. Removal of the gland:¬† This used to be common, but is now the last option you want.¬† Removal of the gland reduces tear production and can cause other issues like “dry eye”.¬†¬†¬†


Nutrition Recommendations:

We want to focus on superfoods that may benefit:

  1. Inflammation
  2. Immune System / Anti-Bacterial
We focus on these 2 benefits because they are thought to contribute to the cause of cherry eye.


Top Superfoods for Cherry Eye:

#1: Probiotics

Probiotics are healthy bacteria, especially found in your digestive system, which help your Bulldog absorb nutrients and fight infection.  

They help protect against yeast overgrowth, yeast infections, harmful bacteria, viruses, and fungi.  

Probiotics may also reduce inflammation – which is just another potential benefit as they relate to cherry eye.

Vital Paws Dog Superfood Supplements Multivitamins Uses Probiotics

#2: Turmeric

Many consider it to the “The superfood of all superfoods” due to all the various benefits that Turmeric may contribute to.
One of the biggest potential benefits of Turmeric is as an inflammation fighter.    

When taking Turmeric, it is recommend to take it with both black pepper and fat … because that has been shown to greatly increase the absorption of the curcumin that is in turmeric.¬†¬†¬†[1] [2]¬† ¬†Vital Paws Bulldog Supplements contain turmeric, black pepper, fish oil, and coconut oil … all the factors to ensure optimal absorption!

Vital Paws Dog Superfood Supplements Multivitamins Uses Turmeric Black Pepper

#3: Cinnamon

Many people think of cinnamon just as a great tasting spice.  However, cinnamon is filled with antioxidants and many consider it to be a superfood.

The antioxidants in cinnamon (flavonoids) have anti-inflammatory effects as well as immune boosting effects (cinnamon is a natural anti-viral / anti-bacterial agent). [3]  

We put Cinnamon in our superfood biscuits for a few additional reasons beyond the health benefits: Bulldogs love the taste, it’s safe, and it is also a natural food preservative!¬†¬†

Vital Paws Dog Superfood Supplements Multivitamins Uses Cinnamon Powder

#4: Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is high in lauric acid – which is known to fight bacteria, fungi, viruses, and parasites … all things that will help with gut health and boost the immune system.

In addition, there have been a few studies that have shown the antioxidants contained in coconut oil have reduced inflammation and treated arthritis more effectively than leading medications.  [4]

Vital Paws Dog Superfood Supplements Multivitamins Uses Coconut Oil

#5: Omega 3 (Fish Oil)

We all know that fish oil (omega 3) is good for just about everything.

But as it specifically relates to dermatitis, fish oil is known for reducing inflammation.  [5] 

Vital Paws Dog Superfood Supplements Multivitamins Uses Omega 3 Fish Oils

#6: Bilberries

Bilberries are one of the richest sources of anthocyanins (plant pigments high in potent antioxidants).   

Bilberries are best known as the #1 top superfood for eye health. 

Other benefits may include:  [6]

  • Inflammation
  • Diabetes
  • Immune¬† / Anti-Bacterial
  • Gut Health / Digestion
  • Cardiovascular
  • Cancer
Vital Paws Dog Superfood Supplements Multivitamins Uses Bilberry Powder

Vital Paws Superfood Biscuits for Bulldogs

Customers are reminded that it is entirely of their own accord, right and responsibility to make educated choices with their pet’s health care.

Always consult your veterinarian prior to the use of any herbal product or service.  Products and services are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.  Customers assume all liability in full for the treatment of their pets. Statements in this guide, our website, and our emails not been evaluated by the FDA and are for educational purposes only.

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