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Home Articles Eye Tearing And Common Treatments

Eye Tearing And Common Treatments

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Eye health issues in dogs can range from breed specific inherited types of condition through to common problems that are very easily corrected and managed. Knowing a bit about the possible eye problems in your breed can help you determine, in consultation with your vet, if it is something that can be treated at home or something that requires surgery or medical intervention.  Tearing, known by the medical term epiphora, can be both unsightly and, in some cases, a sign of a significant eye problem.

Tearing In Breeds

Tearing is a common condition seen in many dogs, particularly noticeable in dogs with white or light colored facial hair. Most of the commonly affected breeds also have longer hair that may hang down over the eyes and can increase the issue or at least make it more noticeable. Cocker Spaniels, Bichon Frise, Pugs, Bulldogs, Poodles, Maltese, Shih Tzu, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Papillon, Lhasa Apso, Pomeranian and Pekingese are some of the breeds that most commonly are associated with tearing.

Normal Causes of Tearing

Typically tearing is worse in puppies of the above mentioned breeds during teething as well as during their rapid growth stage of up to about six months. This occurs because the shape of the face is actually changing which can put pressure on the tear ducts and result in a heavier than normal flow from the eyes, leading to tearing. Typically this will correct itself in a short period of time, usually not more than two weeks to one month.

Tearing is also a normal response to any type of abrasion of the eye or debris in the eye. Just as a person tears when an eyelash or piece of dirt gets on the eye's surface, so does your dog. The tears are designed to flush out the debris and are therefore natural. Any thick, mucous looking discharge or heavy tearing should be checked for signs of cuts, abrasions or lesions on the eye's surface.

Medical Problems

The puncta, a small hole close to the nose that allows tears to flow to the eye's surface, can become blocked, leading to excessive tear production. This can also occur through a congenital malformation of the eye or because of an injury. Small or malformed tear duct openings, infection in the eye or tear ducts, inflammation of the cornea or eyelids, entropion, topical irritations, infections in the eye socket, conjunctivitis and glaucoma are just a few of the serious medical conditions that are often associated with excessive tearing.
Often these medical problems will require antibiotics to treat the infection that is present along with possible surgical procedures to correct any physical malformations or problems with the eyelids. Entropion, which causes the eyelashes to roll inward and irritate the eye, can be corrected with a minor surgical procedure.

As with any health problem in dogs it is important to consult with at vet and make sure the problem is not serious before starting any home treatment. The red stains often associated with tearing are typically a yeast growth which can cause discoloration and staining. Treating the yeast and keeping the eye area clean and dry will typically manage this condition.

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