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Beaver Lake Animal Hospital
26325 SE 39th Street
Issaquah, WA 98029

Beaver Lake Animal Hospital

26325 SE 39th Street
Issaquah, WA 98029




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  Disorders of the Nasolacrimal Drainage Apparatus

 The nasolacrimal drainage apparatus is the escape route for tears and consists of three parts.
1. Puncta: There are two of these openings for each eye through which tears escape from the space behind the eyelids into the nasolacrimal ducts. They are located at the inside corner of each eyelid, just on the inside of the lid margins.
2. Lacrimal sacs: There are two, one for each eye. These are dilated or widened areas that connect the two ducts that extend from each punctum. Dacryocystitis is the term used for inflammation of the lacrimal sacs.
3. Nasolacrimal ducts (tear ducts): There are two, each extends from a lacrimal sac and continues along the muzzle under the lining of the roof of the nose.  The excess tears are eventually emptied into the nasal sinuses.  The sinus tissues then absorb the tears.  The tears also help keep the sinuses moist.
 If this system is not open, tears spill out onto the face causing a red/brown discoloration on the face. These pets need regular grooming to prevent inflammation and infection from eventually occurring.  The increased moisture on the face increases the likelihood of a bacterial or yeast infection on the face.  For pets with skin folds on the face, the increase moisture creates double jeopardy for these animals.  The red/brown color is from the proteins in the tears. 
Many pets are born with an abnormal system.   This is commonly found in pets with very short faces. The ducts may be compressed from surrounding tissues impeding flow of tears.  Alternatively or additionally the puncta may have a cellular film across it that prevents tears from entering the system.
 Disorders of the nasolacrimal drainage apparatus include congenital deformities (birth defects), infections, foreign bodies, such as plant awns or seeds, and tumors. The disorders may occur on just one or on both sides.
 Epiphora may develop in pets with increased tear production as opposed to decreased drainage.  This may be due to irritation or infection of the eye or supportive structures.  If epiphora develops in a previously normal pet, your pet should be examined. 
 For pets that develop epiphora in the early months of life, an examination should be performed when in for regular puppy or kitten care, but a more thorough exam should be completed when the pet is in for spay or neuter.  While under anesthesia, the ocular structures can be examined under magnification.  If a film is covering the puncta, many times it can be removed to allow normal tear flow.  If there is a minor obstruction of the duct, the obstruction may be able to be flushed out.  If there is extra eyelashes, or abnormal eyelashes, they can be removed.  Other causes may be discovered.  Some puppies have increased tearing when they are teething. 

Important Points in Treatment
1. General anesthesia may be required for thorough exam and effective treatment.
2. Laboratory tests, including cultures, may be needed.
3. Treatment to prevent epiphora may not be possible, but regular grooming can prevent some causes of epiphora.  Use very small amount of unscented vasoline (petrolatum ointment) to train the hair away from the eyes and to help the tears from staining the hair near the eyes. 
4. There is a large amount of information on the internet for how to best care for your pet with this condition.
5. Basically, wiping the area to dry it daily and keeping the hair away from the site is all that is needed in most pets.
6.  A Q-Tip slightly moistened with 2% peroxide (H2O2, drug store variety) may be used daily  on the stained area/hair.  Be sure to keep it from touching the eyes.
7. A Blueing rinse may be applied similarly to help inhance the white of the hairs in the area.
8. Some people believe having a pet drink only distilled water, and only from a stainless steel bowl helps.
9. There may be a connection to the diet.  Avoid diets with coloring added.
10. Some pets may benefit from 2-3 times daily administration of Naphazoline which is an over-the-counter eyedrop (Be sure to purchase a product with ONLY naphazoline in it). 
11. If you would like a referral to a veterinary ophthomalogist, Dr. Jones is in Kirkland @ Northwest Animal Eye Clinic.

Notify the Doctor if Any of the Following Occur
o You cannot apply the medication (if prescribed) as directed.
o Your pet continually rubs its eye(s).
o The signs persist when it is expected to resolve.