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Hello everybody! I am almost positive that Niko has cherry eye after doing research. I also read that cherry eye can be caused by stress due to vaccinations. Niko just recently had his last distemper and rabies shot all in the same visit, which I just found out is a big NO!! I am furious at my vet, how could she not know that? Niko is only 2.9 pounds at 4 and a half months, and to give him two shots in the same day? His eye does not seem to be doing any worse, nor does it seem to be irritating him. But it still looks like it would be uncomfortable and I hate that. I just put in my application for pet insurance through VPI a week ago, and I still have not recieved my acceptance, and his policy will not go into effect until 14 days AFTER acceptance. Luckily, cherry eye is a fairly common problem, but it will still need surgery. Has anybody ever had this problem with a dog? I want to get it fixed ASAP, but is it minor enough to wait for his insurance to go through (I am not exactly sure if it will even cover it.) Sorry this is so long I am just mad if the reason he has this is because of a vet's stupidity! I will defintely NOT be going back there!
 

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"Cherry Eye" is when the tear gland on the third-eyelid prolapses. Before you jump to conclusions about your veterinarian, discuss cherry with him/her. Cherry eye is a hereditary problem, and quite common in small dogs, although not as much in Chihuahuas. Trauma or allergic reactions cannot cause cherry eye, and although the gland can be physically prolapsed, it is virtually impossible to do without manual manipulation.

What can be done about cherry eye? Sometimes, it subsides on it's own in mild cases, but most of the time, it won't. The only real solution is surgery, in the past some vets have removed the gland entirely, but eliminating tear production can lead to "dry eye" (keratoconjunctivitus sicca) which requires lifelong treatment of AB's and lubrication. The most recent studies indicate that relocation and "tacking" down of the gland is the most effective route.

To answer your question about when it should be treated, it doesn't have to be operated on immediately, however in terms of VPI, the insurance company may consider Cherry Eye to be a "pre-existing condition" if your insurance plan hasn't begun coverage. In this case, they will refuse liability for the treatment and surgery. I also took a look at the surgical procedures listed in the approved coverage:

http://www.petinsurance.com/downloads/Superior-Ben-Sched-2002-Final.pdf

And it doesn't look like Third Eyelid Prolapse repair is covered in the benefits schedule under VPI, unless you can get your veterinarian to claim the surgery as one of the approved procedures.

So, where this leaves you is a discussion you need to have with your vet about Cherry Eye, and hopefully a referral to a canine opthamalogist for surgery. If you are Southern California, I can recommend you to a few excellent opthamologists.

About vaccines, the reason why it's recommended to give small dogs vaccines on different occasions is in case they have an allergic reaction, then the vet will know exactly which vaccine caused the reaction. This usually applies to the DHPP + Bord (12 weeks) However, in the case of DHPP + Rabies, your dog has already had DHPP without allergic reaction, so the vet probably thought it was ok to give both at the same time. There are different opinions on this, and no one is "RIGHT" because there hasn't been any explicit research. Another reason two vaccines shouldn't be given together in young small breeds (what I hold to, but not necessarily what is used across the board) is that since the body's immunity system is busy making antibodies when the vaccine is given, sometimes they get a little "pooped out", so the vaccines are given a week apart. Again, not following this protocol is not wrong per se, it is personal preference and medical opinion. Your vet examined your dog's health and made a decision based on that, and you, I , or anyone else on the internet can't make the assumption that your vet was wrong.

While I will agree that there are a few vets out there who do not practice the highest quality medicine, from your post it doesn't sound like your vet did anything medically unsound, and definately didn't do anything out of stupidity. If you don't feel confident in him/her, you may want to look for a vet who knows a lot about chihuahuas specifically.

I hope you come away from reading this post realizing that the Cherry Eye wasn't caused by stress, vaccines, or anything the vet did. One thing that owner's need to realize is that the internet is a powerful tool, but mistrusting your vet based on an internet diagnosis or unscientific commentary is very very dangerous. When in doubt, consult a vet, any vet, get a second opinion, but always get your medical information from a doctor. Hope this helps you out and your little one gets well very soon =) Feel free to email Kristin or I if you have any other questions.

Nate
 

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Cherry Eye

I believe that cherry eye can be caused by stress, the dog straining to look at what is bothering him. My daughter's pure bread (from championship line) was taken to the groomers and came home with his eye all red and bulging. My daughter is a certified veterinary paramedic and works for a vet. She immediately took her in. Dr. Mary told her that it was cherry eye, and there were 2 possibilities, the shampoo/stress caused Snickers to "pop it out" or that he had developed cherry eye and would need surgery to repair it. Well, within 24 hours, his little eye was back to normal, without any other treatment.
 

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Latenight423 & Niko - I did a search on VIN and JAVMA (the two major veterinary medical journals) and there is no research indicating that cherry eye can be caused by stress or vaccines, or as an autoimmune reaction. The only research pinpoints hereditary causes in certain breeds and cites atypical instances in other breeds. Perhaps research hasn't been done to confirm these suspicions, but it is more likely the connection between stress and Cherry Eye is not plausible.

Like I mentioned, the gland can prolapse by manual manipulation (perhaps during a stressful situation, but not specifically due to "stress") especially if the eye is irritated such as after grooming or surgery. We often see prolapsed tear glands if not enough eye lube was used during surgery (just pushing on the lower portion of the globe causes the gland to protrude), or if the gland is irritated from shampoo or other substance, causing the gland to swell and protrude (touching the lower portion of an irritated gland will cause it to bulge up into the corneal area). Both these cases are temporary prolapse and can be easily fixed either by leaving the eye alone (the ligament that retracts the gland will eventually pull the gland back) or lubricating and manually sliding the nictating membrane back down.

Cases of long-term tear duct prolapse are nearly always due to hereditary reasons. Niko hasn't yet made it clear when she noticed the Cherry Eye, and how long it has persisted. It is possible that Niko suffers a very minor case of Cherry Eye from rubbing his eye, a bath, or some other incident. Hopefully this is the case, and he'll be back to 100% soon! If not, then at least we should direct Niko's mom in the correct direction with 100% backed up medical information.

-Nate
 

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Thank you, Nate

You described the situation perfectly in your 2nd posting. With the bath, washing, etc., the "stress" itself didn't do the damage, but the "stressful bath, shampoo in the eye, washing the face, etc." did the actual damage. Good to have you on this board.
 

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Hey there! My little snot got a cherry eye out of the blue one day and I waitied for several months before getting it fixed. I found a great vet that operated on her cherry eye and spayed her at the same time. Her eye looks great and I haven't had any problems with it since. Sometimes, it still gets a little red, but that's it. To this day I still don't know what caused her's, but as long as we don't have anymore problems with it it's OK. But just remember to ASK you vet how they treat the cherry eye. Many will only do the operation my removing the tear duct, which, as you have read, can lead to dry eye for the duration of the dog's life. But just be sure to ask a lot of questions to be sure it is a vet you can trust.

steph
 
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