Cherry Eye in Dogs

What is a Cherry Eye in a Dog?

Cost of Treatment: $490 to $1,050 per eye

What it is: Cherry eye is a condition involving the gland of a third eyelid known as the nictitating membrane. The membrane slips forward, producing a visible red mass in the inner corner of the dog’s eye. More common in puppies than adult dogs, cherry eye may be caused by a hereditary weakness in the gland’s connective tissue.


  • Reddish, protruding mass of tissue in the eye
  • Swelling and Irritation
  • Excessive tear production
  • Squinting
  • Trouble with vision
  • Pawing and rubbing the eyes
  • Dry eyes

Treatment: The most common treatment for the condition is surgery, with a high success rate of about 80 percent for most dog breeds. While highly successful, the surgery can also be costly. Most dog insurance plans include cherry eye as a covered condition.

Return to the Dog Health Problems glossary.

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