Eye Discharge (Epiphora) in Dogs

Just like us, dogs can experience a range of eye conditions that lead to an overflow of tears. These can result from everyday factors, or be a sign of underlying health concerns, such as conjunctivitis, allergies, eye injuries, or even certain anatomical abnormalities.

If your pup is experiencing excessive tear production, it may have Epiphora. This can be due to everyday factors or underlying health issues, such as conjunctivitis and allergies. Understanding the signs, seeking veterinary care, and treatment plans are key to managing this condition effectively. Regular cleanings and hygiene can minimize discomfort and tear staining.

What Is Epiphora?

Epiphora is a condition characterized by the excessive production of tears in dogs. This overflow can be due to either an overproduction of tears or an inability of the tear drainage system to effectively remove them.

The condition can be easily spotted as it often results in tear stains under the eyes or constant wetness around the eyes. While a certain amount of tear production is normal and essential for the lubrication and nourishment of the eye, excessive tearing can be a sign of an underlying health issue.

Some of these issues include conjunctivitis, allergies, eye injuries, or anatomical abnormalities such as rolled-in or rolled-out eyelids. Understanding Epiphora is crucial for pet parents to provide the best care for their dogs’ eye health.

What Is Epiphora?

 What Are The Signs Of Epiphora?

Epiphora can manifest in several ways in our furry buddies. Here’s what to look out for:

  • Excessive tearing: This is the most obvious sign. You may notice consistent wetness around your pooch’s eyes.
  • Tear stains: Over time, excessive tearing can lead to noticeable dark or reddish-brown stains beneath your dog’s eyes, especially prominent in dogs with lighter fur.
  • Redness or swelling: In certain cases, the skin around the eyes may become red and swollen due to constant moisture.
  • Rubbing or scratching at the eyes: If your dog is experiencing discomfort due to excessive tearing, they may frequently rub or scratch their eyes.

Remember, any changes in your dog’s eyes or behavior warrant a visit to the veterinarian. It’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your dog’s health.

 What Are The Signs Of Epiphora

How Is Epiphora Diagnosed?

Diagnosing Epiphora involves a thorough examination of your dog’s eye by a veterinarian. They may perform a few tests:

  • Physical examination: The vet will look for visible signs of Epiphora, such as excessive tearing or tear staining.
  • Fluorescein staining: This is a diagnostic test where a harmless dye is used to identify any injuries or ulcers on the cornea.
  • Tear production tests: These measure how many tears your dog’s eyes are producing to determine if overproduction is the root of the problem.
  • Dye disappearance test: This checks the functionality of the tear drainage system.

Your veterinarian may recommend further tests based on these initial findings. It’s important to follow their advice to ensure your pup gets the best care possible.

How Is Epiphora Diagnosed?

 How Is Epiphora Treated?

Treatment for Epiphora will depend on the underlying cause of the excessive tear production. Let’s break down some common treatments for the issues we’ve mentioned:


When it comes to conjunctivitis, your vet will likely prescribe antibiotic eye drops or ointments. It’s important to follow the dosage instructions to ensure the infection clears up completely.



If allergies are the culprit, identifying and eliminating the allergen is key. Over-the-counter or prescribed antihistamines may also be recommended to control the symptoms.


Eye injuries

Eye injuries need immediate veterinary attention. Depending on the severity, this could range from simple pain relief and rest to surgical intervention.

Eye injuries

Anatomical Abnormalities

For eyelid abnormalities like entropion (rolled in eyelids) or ectropion (rolled out eyelids), surgical correction may be necessary.

Remember, the appropriate treatment can only be determined by a veterinarian following a thorough examination and diagnosis. Always consult with your vet when you observe signs of Epiphora for the best course of action.

What Can I Do For The Staining?

With timely diagnosis and proper treatment, the prognosis for Epiphora is generally positive. Most dogs respond well to treatment and can lead comfortable, happy lives. However, in some cases, ongoing management of the condition may be necessary.

Tear stains, while largely cosmetic, can be a cause of concern for many pet parents. If your dog is prone to Epiphora and you’re looking to manage those reddish-brown streaks beneath their eyes, here are some helpful tips:

Regular Cleaning

Gently clean the area beneath your dog’s eyes daily using a soft, damp cloth or a pet-safe eye wipe. This can help reduce discoloration and prevent any potential irritations from constant moisture.

Tear Stain Removers

There are numerous over-the-counter tear stain removers available that can assist with lightening the darkened fur. Always opt for products specifically designed for dogs to ensure safety and effectiveness.

Tear Stain Removers

Diet and Hydration

A balanced diet and adequate hydration are essential for your dog’s overall health, including the health of their eyes. Some pet parents find that tear staining decreases when feeding their dogs high-quality, grain-free foods.

Diet and Hydration

Veterinary Consultation

Persistent and heavy tear staining may require a trip to the vet. Products containing antibiotics can be prescribed to manage prominent tear stains, but these should only be used under veterinary supervision.

Remember, while these tips can help manage tear staining, they do not address the underlying cause of Epiphora. Always consult with your vet if you notice any changes in your dog’s eye health.


What Is The Prognosis For Epiphora?

The prognosis for Epiphora in dogs largely depends on the underlying cause and the promptness of treatment. If the excessive tear production is due to a treatable condition such as conjunctivitis or allergens, and if treated in a timely manner, the prognosis is generally good.

However, if the cause is an anatomical abnormality, surgery may be required, and recovery would depend on the success of the surgery and post-operative care.

Regular veterinary check-ups, proper hygiene, and good nutrition can help manage the symptoms of Epiphora and improve your pet’s quality of life. As always, early detection and intervention are key.

In conclusion

Maintaining your dog’s eye health is a crucial part of their overall well-being. Epiphora, while common, can be a symptom of an underlying health condition.

Recognizing the signs early, seeking prompt veterinary care, and following through with prescribed treatment plans can help manage this condition effectively.

Regular cleanings and proper hygiene can minimize discomfort and tear staining.

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