Definition of Epiphora

An overflow of tears from an animal's eyes,  it is a symptom rather than a specific disease and is related to some other conditions. Generally, a thin layer of tears is released to lubricate the eyes where excess fluid drains into the lacrimal ducts. These ducts stay in the medial canthus, simply next to the nose.

The ducts soak tears back into the nose. Next, the tears travel towards the throat. Epiphora, or insufficient drainage of tears from the eyes may also arise as a result of excessive production of tears in the eyes.

The Clinical Signs

The prevalent clinical signs with epiphora are quite same as other eye conditions. But still, we need to know about these signs. They are:


  1. Eyes can have sudden dampness or wetness
  2. Fur beneath the eyes can have a reddish-brown stain
  3. The dog will have an unpleasant odor
  4. Frequent skin irritation or infection

Many dog owners have reported that the dog's face occasionally becomes damp. They may even see the dog getting tears rolling off their face.


  • The initial action will be to determine if there lies an underlying cause(s) for the excess tear production. Some of the reasons will be conjunctivitis (bacterial or viral), eye injuries, allergies, abnormal eyelashes (ectopic cilia or distichia), eye infections, corneal ulcers, anatomical abnormalities (ectropion or entropion), or even glaucoma.
  • Once the presence of more dangerous causes has been chucked out, the owner can have a sigh of relief. It is crucial to check out if proper and full tear drainage is occurring. The vet will execute a thorough examination of the eyes and will pay particular attention to the nearby tissues and the tear ducts. He will also look for signs of inflammation or other abnormal happenings.
  • The anatomy of the face of the dog will play a crucial role in diagnosing this condition. Some breeds with flat faces do not allow the tear layer to drain correctly. In these patients, the thickness of the tear frequently fails to enter the duct and will simply roll off the front. The hair around the eyes can physically obstruct the entry of the tear ducts, or debris within the tube and prevents fall out of tears.
  • One of the most simple tests to evaluate the tear drainage will be to place a drop of fluorescein stain in the pet’s eye. The ower has to hold the pet’s head slightly towards the ground. Keep a watch for the fall off into the nose. If the drainage system functions normally, the eye stain should be seen in the dog’s nose. Within a few minutes, the vet can look at these signs. A failure to recognize the dye won't diagnose a blockage in the lacrimal duct, but it does indicate the need for further investigation.



If the vet suspects that the lacrimal tube has a blockage, he will first anesthetize the dog and use a unique instrument and insert it into the tube to chuck out the waste out of the duct. In many cases, the dog’s lacrimal puncta may fail to open up during its growing years. If this happens, the vet may surgically reopen the duct. Some sort of severe infection causes the pipe to become narrow, and after the vet flushes the wastes, it widens the pipe. If the condition is due to any other eye condition, the treatment will focus on the eradicating the primary cause.

For Staining

Treatment that reduces tear straining:

  • The owner can add small amounts of parsley flakes to the diet
  • Decrease doses of tetracycline, metronidazole, doxycycline, or tylosin
  • Wipe the affected area daily with MalAcetic
  • Clean the area with Diamond Eye or a similar product


Unless the dog gets treatments, it will most probably have intermittent episodes in the future. If the animal’s facial structure is such that prevents the proper drainage of tears, it will most likely have issues regarding adequate drainage for tears, irrespective of the kind of treatment it gets.

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