Veterinarian Column: [Dog epiphora] Can lacrimation be cured?

by Alice's Dog & Cat獣医師

Epiphora often occurs in small dog breeds such as toy poodles. Tears stain the fur reddish brown, causing tear stains. I feel like many owners are concerned about this, especially in dogs with white fur, as the coloring is noticeable. Epiphora can occur for a variety of reasons, and treatments vary depending on the cause. This time, we will explain in detail about epiphora, including its causes and treatments.

Alice's Dog & Cat Can dog epiphora be cured?

Why does hair get colored?

The porphyrins in the tears dye the hair reddish-brown.


  • Eyelash abnormalities (abnormal tear secretion)

    : When the eyelashes hit the eyes, they become irritated, increasing the amount of tears secreted and causing tears to flow. Alice's Dog & Cat Veterinarian Column Canine epiphora in dogs be cured?

Eyelash hyperplasia: Eyelashes grow from the meibomian glands.

Eyelash hyperplasia: The area where the eyelashes grow is normal, but the eyelashes are inside the eye and touching the cornea. (upside down lashes)

Ectopic eyelashes: Eyelashes that grow from the lining of the eyelid (conjunctiva) and touch the cornea.

  • Abnormal tear drainage

    : Normally, when you blink, tears are excreted into your nose through the lacrimal punctum, lacrimal canaliculus, lacrimal sac, and nasolacrimal duct. If there is an abnormality in any part of this excretory pathway, the tears will not be excreted and the tears will flow out of the eyes. Alice's Dog & Cat Veterinarian Column Canine epiphora in dogs be cured?

Punctal abnormalities: punctal atresia, micropuncta.

Dacryocystitis: Caused by bacterial infection of the lacrimal sac.

Nasolacrimal duct obstruction: This is caused by the nasolacrimal duct being narrowed from birth or becoming narrowed or blocked due to inflammation.

  • Abnormality in the ability to retain tears in the eye

    : The eyes are covered with a tear film consisting of three layers: lipids, water (tears), and mucin. When the tear film is no longer held on the ocular surface, tears flow.

Alice's Dog & Cat Veterinarian Column Canine epiphora in dogs be cured?

The hair of the lacrimal undula comes into contact with the cornea: The lacrimal undula is the pink area at the inner corner of the eye in humans. When the hair of the lacrimal condyle comes into contact with the eye, tears flow down the hair.

Meibomian gland dysfunction: Meibomian glands secrete the lipids of the tear film. In meibomian gland dysfunction, the lipid layer of the tear film decreases, making it no longer possible to hold tears on the ocular surface and causing them to flow out.

Entropion of the inside of the lower eyelid: A condition in which the inner canthus of the lower eyelid is pushed into the eye, and due to the entropion, it is difficult for tears to drain from the lacrimal puncta, reducing the amount of tears that can be retained, causing tears to flow out. Masu.

  • Influence of food?

    : It is not clear that the ingredients in the food cause epiphora. However, in cases where epiphora improved after changing the food, it is thought that it may be due to an allergy caused by the food or a change in the lipid composition of the meibomian glands.

■Treatment method

・Eyelash abnormalities

Eyelash hyperplasia/eyelash hyperplasia: Remove the eyelashes that are touching the cornea.

Ectopic eyelashes: The entire hair root is removed under general anesthesia.

・Abnormal tear drainage

Abnormal puncta: Treatment is performed under general anesthesia to restore the punctum to its normal size.

Dacryocystitis: Clean the lacrimal sac and apply antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs to the eyes.

Nasolacrimal duct obstruction: Perform nasolacrimal duct irrigation. It is usually performed under general anesthesia.

・Abnormality in the function that retains tears in the eyes

Hair from the lacrimal condyle comes into contact with the cornea: Remove the hair.

Meibomian gland dysfunction: Warm the eyelids with a steamed towel to improve lipid secretion from the meibomian glands. If the meibomian glands are infected with bacteria, antibiotics are taken orally.

Entropion of the inside of the lower eyelid: If there are serious symptoms other than tear staining, such as damage to the cornea due to entropion, the entropion will be corrected surgically.

The cause of epiphora may be caused by a single cause, or multiple causes may be involved. The cause must be diagnosed through thorough eye examination.

If you want thorough treatment, it would be a good idea to have your dog examined by a veterinarian who specializes in ophthalmology. In addition, it is rare that there is a complete cure, and repeated treatments may be required to improve epiphora.

It is also important to avoid causing dermatitis due to epiphora. Keep your skin clean with a cleaning solution that can be used on your eyes.