When to seek Veterinary Care for “Cherry Eye” in Dogs

Idaho's only Veterinary Ophthalmologist on seeking eye care for your dog suffering  from "Cherry Eye."

Maybe you have seen a dog with a bright red, swollen, painful looking eye in the past. “Cherry eye,” as it is commonly referred to, is a prolapsed gland of the nictitans. It occurs after a tear gland in a dog’s third eyelid becomes inflamed. While it is usually not extremely painful, sometimes a dog will rub at it as if it were itchy. 

Dr. Carrie Breaux is Idahos only Veterinary Ophthalmologist; her insights on Cherry eye in dogs.

In today's blog post, we share advice from WestVet's Veterinary Ophthalmologist, Dr. Carrie Breaux on how to prevent long-term eye damage from this disorder.

Photo credit: Dr. Erica Tolar, DACVO, Veterinary Ophthalmologist


Canine eye structure.

All dog breeds have a third eyelid or “nictitating membrane.” Stationed in the lower eyelid, its purpose is to offer additional protection for a dog’s eyes. The accompanying tear gland supplies a significant amount of moisture to the eye. If it becomes prolapsed, it protrudes out of the bottom or corner of the dog's eye. The swollen area appears red and inflamed—the primary symptom of cherry eye—and where the name originates.

Dr. Breaux says, “It’s important to note that dogs who suffered from cherry eye once are more susceptible to another occurrence. This includes a propensity to experience the condition in the other eye. A major concern is that extended or recurring cases of cherry eye can lead to long-term eye problems, such as tear film problems and conjunctivitis.”

Causes of cherry eye. There is likely a genetic predisposition, but it can happen in any breed. It is generally seen in young animals and is uncommon after the age of two.

Ophthalmic Veterinary Treatment.

If you notice cherry eye in your dog, make an appointment with your family veterinarian right away. Early care can help ensure your dog’s long-term eye health. Many cases will need minor surgery to re-position the gland to its normal location.

Dr. Breaux advises, “There are various surgical options available for re-positioning the gland. Which procedure I choose depends primarily on the position of the gland, how long it has been prolapsed and the shape of the dog’s face. Surgically removing the gland is not recommended as it has an important role in maintaining the health of the surface of the eye.”

Long-term effects of cherry eye in dogs.

Left untreated, and the longer the gland is prolapsed, the greater the risk of associated problems such as conjunctivitis. A dog pawing, scratching, or rubbing the affected eye may irritate it further.

Cherry eye in dogs is easy to spot and can be treated quickly. If you have any questions about this disorder, please don’t hesitate to contact us at 208.375.1600.

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Classes for Pet Owners at WestVet: Dog First Aid and Common Emergencies

WestVet Veterinarian Professionals Teaching Community Education Classes for Pet Owners this Fall.

You may not be aware that WestVet specialists, doctors, and veterinary technicians lead monthly Continuing Education seminars for veterinary professional accreditation around the valley. However, next month they are presenting classes for pet owners, too in partnership with Boise Schools Community Education Program.

Dog First Aid Courses. We invite dog owners to join WestVet’s Nursing Directors Pam Knowles and Erica Mattox for American Red Cross Dog First Aid. In this course, you will learn the skills that might help save your best friend's life! WestVet offers Dog First Aid Course for Pet Owners through community EducationTopics include canine breathing, cardiac emergencies, identifying symptoms of stress and illness, as well as preventative advice on how to prepare for an emergency. In addition, participants will have the opportunity to practice CPR skills, rescue breathing, muzzling, and bandaging work.

There are two sessions for this course in October; the course fee is $55. You may register HERE.

For more information about the American Red Cross Dog First Aid Course click HERE

Participants will receive a certificate of completion from the American Red Cross for completing the course.

Common Veterinary Emergencies. New for fall 2014, one of WestVet’s Emergency Veterinarians, Dr. Laura Lefkowitz, will teach “Common Veterinary Emergencies.” Dr. Lefkowitz has extensive experience as an emergency veterinarian. She has been part of the WestVet team for the last ten years; that’s in addition to her previous years’ experience working at family veterinary clinics earlier in her career.

During this course she will teach what symptoms constitute a veterinary emergency, the technique to perform a brief physical exam on your pet, and the common emergencies treated at a 24-hour veterinary emergency hospital.

There are two sessions available for this course in October. You may register HERE. This course is a 2-for-1, tuition is $18; one person registers and two may attend.

We hope you will join us for class this fall!

Our employees volunteer to teach with Boise Schools Community Education; all tuition and fees support that wonderful program. If you have any questions, you may call 208.854.4047.

All classes will offer a tour of the WestVet Animal Emergency and Specialty Hospital at completion.

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Meet “Tyson,” a Boxer puppy treated for a Heart Condition and Fractured Leg

Tyson, the Boxer puppy, is a fighter (just like his namesake) that won our hearts after two separate treatments at WestVet. 

This sweet, serious face belongs to “Tyson,” a Boxer puppy who visited WestVet recently—and stopped all of us in our tracks. WestVet provides veterinary specialty care to Idaho's pets in Boise, IdahoTyson has overcome a few different medical challenges, and we are delighted to share his story (and some of his sweet pictures) in our blog today.

First, the story of how Tyson found his way to his new family Kylie and Adam, as shared via email from Kylie:

“We were looking for a puppy that fit our personalities, one that would be not only fun, but like a child to us. Originally when met the litter of five Boxer puppies, we wanted a brindle-colored pup, but in this litter, all the brindles were female. As we played with the puppies, Adam picked up the only male and fell in love. Tyson, Boxer puppy, treated for heart failure at WestVet. Adam handed me the pup and he instantly nibbled my nose. We both knew in that moment that we had found our puppy! We named him ‘Tyson,’ as a reference to Mike Tyson, the (human) boxer.”

Adam and Kylie describe Tyson as loving, bouncy, and a “little crazy.”

“With Tyson in the house there is never a dull moment,” Kylie wrote. “He has become our little furry son. He has changed us and made us more responsible. Tyson turned Adam into a softy. He had claimed to be the tough one until Tyson came into our lives. Now Adam is the one that has the hardest time saying ‘no’ to Tyson."

Tyson and his people visited WestVet early in the summer after a referral from Broadway Veterinary Hospital. Their family veterinarian diagnosed him with heart failure, and Tyson was treated by Veterinary Internists Dr. Dan Hume and Dr. Victoria Ochoa. With this condition he has a good prognosis; Adam and Kylie have been told that he will live into early adulthood.

Just as they were getting settled with Tyson at home, he suffered an injury after jumping out of a car that was traveling twenty-five miles per hour. This time it was a broken leg. Tyson visited our animal hospital several times for bandage changes and progress reports on his healing. We were always glad to see his sweet little face in the lobby and give him some extra love.

Tyson has since healed from this unexpected injury. He continues to grow, learn new things, amaze and adore his people. Kylie shared some thoughts for other pet owners whose animal friends may be ill:

“Give them the best possible life. There is nothing like seeing them happy and playful. When Tyson is himself, it makes everything that we have gone through and will continue to go through worth it.”

We thank Adam and Kylie for sharing their story with us and for entrusting WestVet with Tyson’s care. WestVet is Idaho's only 24 hour Animal Veterinary Emergency Hospital Specialty CenterHis energy, enthusiasm for life, and cuddly mischievousness has been a joy for us to work with. You can watch him grow, too. On Instagram, Kylie shares lots of pictures and updates; you can find her under the user name ‘kylieann58.’ We have shared a few of his Instagram pictures with permission of his people.

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A Veterinary Radiologist is a Valuable Resource for Pet Owners

A critical part of providing the highest quality of veterinary medicine to pets and their families starts with the diagnosis—and that’s where a board certified veterinary radiologist comes in.

WestVet is fortunate to have the expertise of Andrew Gendler, DVM, DACVR, to collaborate with our specialists as well as family veterinarians around the Treasure Valley. This blog post focuses on how utilizing the expertise of a veterinary radiologist can help your family with an unexpected illness or injury to your pet.

A Veterinary Radiologist—a valuable resource in your pet’s health care. Just as in human medicine, sometimes the need arises for the assistance of a specialist for a diagnosis. WestVet's Dr. Andrew Gendler provides Veterinary Radiology diagnosis and care to pet's families in the Treasure Valley.When that occasion arises, rest assured that your family veterinarian will seek a referral for the specialized diagnostic work that ensures your pet will receive the highest standard of veterinary care possible.

As a board certified radiologist, Dr. Gendler has completed extensive training in all aspects of radiology including radiography (x-rays), ultrasound, computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and fluoroscopy. Beyond the radiography tools utilized by many family veterinarians, the expense of the highly advanced imaging techniques such as a CT scan or MRI, as well as the specialized training requirement, means that these sophisticated medical services typically are only available at specialty and referral hospitals, such as WestVet.

Your pet may be referred to a Veterinary Radiologist. When your family receives a referral to WestVet, Dr. Gendler will work in partnership with your family veterinarian and our other veterinary specialists to provide seamless care and pinpoint a precise diagnosis. Often the signs of disease on an x-ray or radiograph can be very subtle. In order to be less likely to be missed or misinterpreted, the expertise of a board certified radiologist will make optimal use of the technology available for diagnosis.

Imaging technology utilized at WestVet. Advances in medical imaging and veterinary medicine allow WestVet and Dr. Gendler to offer multiple options for the best diagnostic imaging of your pet. Digital radiography, ultrasound, fluoroscopy, CT and MRI are all routinely utilized in the diagnostic work and care of our patients. Utilizing non-invasive imaging is a priority to keep pets comfortable and avoid more invasive and costly options. Advanced imaging also allows your family veterinarian and other specialists to provide you with the most accurate prognosis and pre-procedural planning.

You, your veterinarian, and your radiologist work together. Once Dr. Gendler has completed the imaging, he provides both a verbal and written interpretation to your family veterinarian. These results will be shared with you. As the pet owner, we recognize that you play an important role in your pet’s health care, thus communication between the radiologist and your family veterinarian will ensure the best possible outcome for your pet.

As a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Radiology (ACVR), Dr. Gendler is one of only 427 board certified Veterinary Radiologists. The ACVR is an AVMA Recognized Veterinary Specialty Organization. Their mission is to enhance and promote the highest quality of service in diagnostic imaging and radiation oncology, to optimize veterinary patient care and to advance the science of veterinary radiology and radiation oncology through research and education.

While Dr. Gendler fills an important role for pet owners throughout Idaho, the advances in telemedicine enable him to review medical images and offer consultations remotely to any veterinarian with an internet connection.

Dr. Gendler has been a part of the WestVet specialty team for six years. 

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Dr. Hazel Carney provides I-131 Radiation Therapy for Feline Hyperthyroidism

Attention Cat Owners in Idaho and Oregon: If your feline friend is suffering from Hyperthyroidism, WestVet offers I-131 radiation therapy that will enable your cat to live a healthy, happy life.

We are delighed to share a story published in the Urban Liaison this summer featuring our own Dr. Hazel Carney. This story was written by Christy Hovey. 

In 2002, Elaine Gie was ready for a change for herself and her three cats. The Texas native visited Boise and fell in love with our climate and the beautiful landscape. That summer she moved to Idaho with her cats, Kittywell (age 12), Tiger (age 11), and Miss Cleo (age 7), to “escape the heat, humidity, and relentless traffic issues associated with living in Houston.” One year later, Kittywell was diagnosed with feline hyperthyroidism. He was referred to Dr. Hazel Carney, Feline Medicine and Behaviorist specialist at WestVet, for I-131 radiation treatment. Feline Hyperthyroidism causes numerous metabolic changes in cats including weight loss, fluctuations in appetite and energy level, fever, rapid heartbeat, excessive water intake, diarrhea, and osteoporosis. Dr. Carney is a nationally recognized veterinarian who co-created I-131 radiation treatment in 1986.

Elaine says, “Kittywell was an easygoing cat who could jump large heights, even in his senior years. He had experienced a heart murmur while living in Houston, so Dr. Carney took extra precautions.” During his treatment he developed an extremely rapid heartbeat and Elaine believes that without Dr. Carney’s expertise, his heart might have given out. She administered medication to slow Kittywell’s heart and help him through the I-131 treatment—which was 100% successful in curing his hyperthyroidism.

Dr. Carney successfully coordinated Kittywell's follow-up care with his family vet and he went on to live another 6 years. Blood clots finally wore him out and Elaine had him put to rest in early 2009 at the ripe old age of 19. She says, “I will always believe that he would not have lived such a long life without Dr. Carney's knowledge and care.”

Elaine’s tortoiseshell tabby female, Tiger, also reached age 19 under Dr. Carney’s care. Just like Kittywell, Tiger was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism and treated in 2004. Tiger developed a myriad of health issues related to chronic renal insufficiency and Dr. Carney not only coordinated treatments with her family veterinarian, she also recommended holistic treatments such as non-prescription supplements that were beneficial to Tiger without added side effects.

Dr. Carney successfully treated Elaine’s all-black, short-haired cat, Miss Cleo, (who is now 19 years old) for hyperthyroidism. Elaine attributes he

Hazel Carney, Feline Behaviorist, offers I-131 Radiation Therapy for Feline Hyperthyroidism

r cats’ long and happy lives to the attention and consideration that Dr. Carney showed toward her feline family. “I'm very happy to have Dr. Carney involved in the care of my cats. No one else has her in-depth knowledge of feline health, especially for geriatric cats, and no one else has the deep regard and appreciation for cat behavior that Dr. Carney demonstrates on a regular basis.”  Pictured above, Dr. Carney with her cat, Wyatt. 

Dr. Carney was recently named Idaho Veterinary Medical Association Vet of the Year. She serves as Chair of the Guidelines Committee of the American Association of Feline Practitioners. She’s a co-author of several Guidelines publications that establish best practices for feline nursing care, creating a healthy environment, handling of cats during veterinary visits, and management of feline house-soiling behavior. WestVet can work with you and your family veterinarian to help you decide if I-131 treatment is right for your cat. You don’t have to go through your pet’s illness alone. The WestVet team reminds us that, “We hope you don’t need us, but if you do, we’re here to help.”

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