DEAR DR. FOX: My 4-year-old Havanese has cherry eye. It seems relatively small compared to some of the images I have seen on the computer. She's had it on and off over the last year, but the gland always moved back in place. This time it has not.
I took her to the vet. He and his partner have two opposing opinions on the treatment. One vet is in favor of removing the gland and says he has removed many with no complications of dry eye. I understand that this complication requires artificial tears daily for the rest of her life.
The other vet in the practice is in favor of sending her to a specialist to have the gland moved back into place and stitched so it stays where it should. Again, complications could arise.
The third option is to leave it alone and do nothing. Right now, it does not seem to bother her, as I don't see her trying to rub it.
I hate to put her through unnecessary surgery that could produce complications, but I also don't know if doing nothing will eventually lead to any complications.
Your advice would be greatly appreciated. -- L.S., Brielle, N.J.
DEAR L.S.: Certain breeds, such as the cocker spaniel, basset hound, English bulldog, poodle and Lhasa apso, are prone to this condition, which is a prolapse of the gland of the third eyelid. It sticks out like a small pink cherry.
I would not remove the gland surgically. The resultant chronic dry eye condition could lead to corneal ulceration and blindness.
Surgical restoration of the normal gland position is called for after a week of topical treatment with ophthalmic antibiotic and steroid ointment to help decrease inflammation and improve surgical success. The gland in the other eye may be prone to prolapse in the future, so it should be secured to prevent this at the same time.
DEAR DR. FOX: I have a diabetic 12-year-old male cat. Must I continue to buy costly prescription food, or are there cheaper over-the-counter foods I can feed him?
Also, I want to change his insulin from ProZinc to Lantus. Can I use the same needle size, and how do I go about changing the medications?
I have not been happy with either vet I have taken my cat to, and he is so traumatized by going to the vet. I don't believe it is good for his condition.
Any information you can give me would be very much appreciated. -- S.B.
DEAR S.B.: So sorry to hear about your poor cat whose condition was most probably caused by high cereal content in manufactured cat foods that are sold even in veterinary hospitals across the country.
Visit feline-nutrition.org for more information about transitioning your cat onto a healthier diet that could cure the diabetes if it is not too advanced.
A few drops of fish oil and a pinch of powdered cinnamon in his food may help. Increase the cinnamon, which has been shown to reduce the insulin dose requirements of human diabetics, to about 1/2 teaspoon daily if he will accept it.
Discuss changes in the insulin-regulating drug with your veterinarian, but do seek out a home-prepared, cheaper, palatable diet for your cat -- basically meat, including body organs, ideally lightly cooked or raw, and a few chopped vegetables and herbs.
For more insights into feline behavior, check my e-book, "Understanding Your Cat," available on my website, DrFoxVet.com.
(Send all mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or to Dr. Michael Fox in care of Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106. The volume of mail received prohibits personal replies, but questions and comments of general interest will be discussed in future columns.
Visit Dr. Fox's website at DrFoxVet.com.)