Dogs With Cherry Eye
Okay, looks like my Lhasa Apso dog Chester has fully recovered from his Cherry eye surgery so I thought that I would detail the overall surgery costs that were involved as well as give a bit of history so that maybe other owners of dogs with Cherry eye can make an informed decision of what to do.
What Is Cherry Eye?
First of all, some dog owners are probably wondering what is Cherry eye in the first place. It is an eye condition with the dog’s tictitans membrane and gland. This gland is responsible for producing a good part of the dog’s eye tears and is attached to the third eyelid.
Some dog breeds like bulldogs and the breed I have, Lhasa Apsos, are prone to this condition where the tictitans gland is prolapsed or sticks out of the inside corner of the eye (as shown in the above photo with Chester). This is why it is called Cherry eye since it is red. Although not painful, it is unsightly and if left prolapsed for long, it can result in reduced tear production.
Chester’s History Of Cherry Eye
Usually, puppies get Cherry eye and once the gland prolapses, it tends to stay out. In Chester’s case, it was quite odd because he didn’t get it until he was five years old. Initially, we used medicated eyedrops that were antibiotics or anti-inflammatories and they were quite successful in making his Cherry eye go back inside the eyelid.
However, pretty soon they stopped working on subsequent bouts. My vet taught me how to manually push Chester’s Cherry eye back under his eyelid and we were able to do that for about a year. Sometimes, the Cherry eye would just go back inside on its own after a couple of days.
We scheduled Cherry eye surgery with my general vet twice and postponed it both times since we were able to push the gland back inside before each surgery date. This went on for about a year.
Decision For Cherry Eye Surgery
As time went on, it became harder and harder for me to push Chester’s Cherry eye back in. At first, I would be able to push it back after a few attempts within 24 hours. But then it became a few days of repeated attempts before I was successful. Then it became almost impossible to push the gland back in as it would just pop right back out again within seconds.
Chester went through a few bouts of having his Cherry eye exposed for 3 to 4 weeks at a time. So given that his condition was probably going to be chronic and that he was six years of age now, I made the decision to get a consult for an animal eye specialist.
Vet Eye Specialist On Cherry Eye
A new surgery date with my general vet would have been about 3 weeks ahead and the cost was quoted at about $600. I got another quote from another vet office nearby just to compare and they quoted about $500. Since it was going to take some time to get Chester in with surgery, I asked for a referral to a specialist just to get a second opinion.
I got into an eye specialist the next day so I took advantage of the specialist consult while Chester’s Cherry eye was still prolapsed. The specialist said that it was probably a congenital condition with Chester and it was best to do a surgery.
He explained that while the general vets do Cherry eye surgery, they usually only do a single step procedure which involves tacking down the gland with a stitch. This is about 60 to 70% successful of no future re-occurence of the gland popping back out again (which would require a second surgery).
The specialist claimed that he does a two step procedure that involves tucking the gland in a pocket created in the third eyelid in addtion to tacking the gland down. This two step procedure has a success rate of over 90%.
My general vet confirmed that he does only the single step procedure and does not know how to do the two step way. He also suggested that I go with the specialist for doing the surgery for Chester since the eye vets do much more similar cases than any general vets do.
Surgery Costs For Cherry Eye In Dogs
The only issue I had with the eye specialist was the surgery costs estimated for the two step procedure to treat dogs with Cherry eye. It would be about five times more than the quote I got from the general vets. But with a much lower success rate with the general vets, I had to do my best to minimize the possible number of surgeries for Chester.
So as any dedicated pet owner will do, I decided to go with the specialist vet and pay the much higher cost which I thought was a ridiculous amount. But I wanted the best treatment and care for my dog so I adopted the ‘do whatever it takes’ attitude which I talked about in an episode of my motivational video series.
Here are the actual costs associated with Chester’s Cherry eye surgery which was successful.
Initial Specialist Consult – $255.50
Blood Tests (through general vet) – $166.50
Cherry Eye Surgery – $250.00
Hospitalization – $69.75
IV Catheter – $42.25
IV Line – $28.25
IV Fluids – $28.25
Propofol – $28.25
Anesthetic Induction – $137.30
General Anesthetic – $525.85
Anaesthetic Maintenance – $59.25
Microscope Fee – $83.00
Pack Fee Large – $415.75
Optixcare Ointment – $33.96
Chloramphenicol Ointment – $22.90
Tacrolimus Oil – $60.24
Tramadol – $28.10
Follow Up Visit – $94.50
Total Charges = $2,222.35
The above figures did not include the 13% HST tax that we have to pay here in Ontario so the actual overall total that I paid including taxes was $2,511.26 which is a very expensive amount.
Good thing I did some speaking engagements recently since I’ll need the speaking fees to pay off this surgery – by the way, if you know of any organization or group that could use a motivational speaker or diversity speaker, please refer them to my speaking programs.
One thing that really escalated the cost was that the specialist vet used an additional separate specialist to come in to administer and monitor the general anesthetic rather than rely on its own clinic staff for this. As you can see, this charge alone was over $500 which would have been the estimated cost for Cherry eye surgery with a general vet. Although this was considered safer for the patient so that the eye specialist could focus only on the Cherry eye surgery, it can be debated whether a separate specialist for general anesthetic was required.
But what’s done is done and Chester has recovered well which is what counts. So hopefully any dog owners ever faced with decisions to make with their dogs with Cherry eye can make the best final decisions for their pets with the actual information I provided here.
If you have already been through a Cherry eye surgery with your dog, please feel free to share below. And if you haven’t seen it already, don’t forget to check out my free dog training video featuring Chester and his sister Roxie, without any Cherry eye.