Eyelid Protrusion ('Cherry Eye') in Dogs

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Prolapsed Gland of the Third Eyelid in Dogs

Prolapsed gland of the eyelid refers to a pink mass protruding from the animal's eyelid; it is also called a "cherry eye." Normally, the gland development is anchored by an attachment made up of fibrous material.

This medical condition occurs in both dogs and cats, although it typically affects younger animals. If you would like to learn how this disease affects cats, please visit this page in the PetMD health library.

Symptoms and Types

The most common sign of "cherry eye" is an oval mass protruding from the dogs's third eyelid. It can occur in one or both eyes, and may be accompanied by swelling and irritation.


"Cherry eye" is most commonly associated with a congenital weakness of the gland's attachment in the dog's eye. However, it is not known whether the condition is inherited.

While this medical condition can occur in any breed, it is more common in Cocker Spaniels, Bulldogs, Beagles, Bloodhounds, Lhasa Apsos, and Shih Tzus.


The veterinarian will review the mass in the dog's third eyelid and determine if there is an underlying cause for the condition. The diagnosis of the prolapsed gland could be scrolled or everted cartilage in the third eyelid, abnormal cells in the third eye, or a prolapse of fat in the dog's eye.

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