Epiphora in Dogs: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment How To Recognize and Treat Epiphora in Dogs

Epiphora in Dogs: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

The excessive tearing or watering of a dog's eyes is known as canine epiphora. We discuss this eye condition further here.

Epiphora, the excessive tearing or watering of the eyes, is a common problem among dogs of all breeds and ages. It is a condition that can affect one or both eyes and is caused by a variety of underlying conditions. Even though epiphora is typically not a major medical condition, it can be painful for dogs and may be a sign of a more serious condition. 

In this article, we'll look at the causes, signs, and possible remedies for canine epiphora, as well as ways to help prevent the occurrence of this ailment in the first place.

Causes of Canine Epiphora

Epiphora in dogs can be caused by a variety of factors, including:

  • Allergens: Environmental allergens, such as pollen or dust, can cause dogs' eyes to moisten excessively. Itching and eye redness are frequently seen in conjunction with this.

  • Eye infections: Bacterial, viral, or fungal infections may cause inflammation and irritation in the eyes, which may result in excessive watering.

  • Congenital abnormalities: Some dogs have tear ducts that are malformed at birth, which can lead to tears overflowing across the face.

  • Tear duct blockage: This condition prevents tears from draining correctly and causes them to flow out of the eyes. It can be brought on by inflammation or scarring.

  • Corneal ulcers: Ulcers on the cornea can cause the eyes to water excessively and be accompanied by redness and squinting.

  • Trauma: Physical injury to the eye or surrounding area can cause excessive tearing as a protective mechanism.

  • Dental issues: Dental problems in dogs, such as tooth decay or gum disease, can lead to tear duct obstruction and excessive tearing.

Symptoms for Overactive Tear Ducts in Dogs

In dogs, excessive tear production or eye watering is the main sign of epiphora. This can be accompanied by a variety of other symptoms, depending on the actual cause of the ailment. Some typical signs of an epiphora dog include:

  • Redness or inflammation around the eyes

  • Squinting or blinking excessively

  • Discharge from the eyes, which can be clear or discolored

  • Crusty or sticky discharge around the eyes

  • Odor around the eyes

  • Irritation or rubbing of the eyes or face

  • Changes in the appearance of the eyes, such as cloudiness or bulging

  • Secondary skin infections around the eyes due to the moisture and irritation caused by excessive tearing.


In order to rule out any possible roots of the sickness, the eyes and surrounding tissues must be thoroughly examined in order to diagnose epiphora in dogs. Typical diagnostic techniques and tests that could be employed include:

  • Physical examination: Your dog's eyes and surrounding structures will be physically examined by your veterinarian, who will be looking for any indications of inflammation, infection, or other problems.

  • Tear testing: To ascertain whether your dog's tear production is normal or whether there is a problem with tear drainage, your veterinarian may conduct a test to measure the quantity and quality of your dog's tears.

  • Eye staining: To look for corneal ulcers or other damage to the surface of the eye, a specific dye may be applied.

  • Radiography: To find any structural anomalies that might be causing the excessive tearing, X-rays or other imaging procedures may be done.

  • Culture and sensitivity testing: If an infection is suspected, your veterinarian may take a sample of the discharge from the eye and perform tests to identify the specific type of bacteria, virus, or fungus involved and determine the best treatment.

Blocked Tear Duct Dog Treatment

Epiphora treatment in dogs depends on the underlying cause of the condition. Some common approaches include:

  • Medications: If the excessive tearing is caused by an infection or inflammation, your veterinarian may prescribe antibiotics or anti-inflammatory medications to treat the underlying condition.

  • Tear duct flushing: If the tear ducts are obstructed, your veterinarian may carry out a treatment to clear them so that tears can flow freely.

  • Surgery: In some circumstances, surgery may be required to treat a structural anomaly at the root of the excessive tearing.

  • Management of allergens: Your veterinarian may advise allergy testing and treatment, such as antihistamines or immunotherapy if environmental allergies are causing excessive crying.

  • Eye drops or ointments: To calm the eyes and stop additional inflammation, eye drops or ointments may occasionally be administered.

Prevention Tips

Even though epiphora in dogs cannot always be avoided, there are several precautions you may take to lessen the likelihood that this condition will develop:

  • Regular grooming: Keeping the fur around the eyes clean and trimmed can help prevent irritation and blockage of the tear ducts.

  • Dental hygiene: Getting your teeth cleaned and examined on a regular basis will help avoid dental problems that could restrict your tear ducts.

  • Management of allergies: If your dog has a history of exposure to allergies, working with your doctor to pinpoint and treat the causes may help reduce frequent crying.

  • Eye protection: To avoid irritation and inflammation, use protective goggles or other eye protection if your dog is often exposed to wind, dust, or other irritants.

  • Routine veterinary examinations: Regular examinations by your veterinarian can assist spot any underlying health conditions that can be a factor in excessive crying, enabling early intervention and treatment.

By following these prevention tips, you can help reduce the risk of epiphora in your dog and promote their overall health and well-being.

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