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Watery Eyes in Dogs Could be a Sign of Dry Eyes

photo of veterinarian looking at the eyes of little dog | Whitworth Animal ClinicWatery eyes or epiphora is a condition that causes an overflow of tears. Sometimes the cause may be due to the shape of the eyes that is seen in several breeds. As well, the overproduction of tears can be caused by other factors such entropion (eyelids turning in) or distichiasis (eyelashes turning in). Breeds that are often affected by entropion are mastiffs, pugs, chow chows, poodles, Chinese shar peis and Labrador retrievers. Breeds that typically get distichiasis include cocker spaniels, dachshunds, Pekingese, miniature poodles, bulldogs, Lhasa apsos, shih tzus and young shelties. As well, with epiphora the surface of the eye may seem dry while tears flow off from the tract over the animals face and nose.

Various Conditions

There are various conditions that can cause watery eyes in a dog such as anatomical deformities, chronic viral infections and entropion. According to Healthy Pets (by Mercola), epiphora may be caused by

  • Conjunctivitis
  • A disease of the cornea
  • An obstruction of the tear duct
  • Dry eye, also known as keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS)


Moreover, the cause can be minor like an infection or chronic such as glaucoma, a structural irregularity or an allergic reaction to an irritant, even a poor diet. And if you suspect that your animal’s condition is chronic or painful, do not hesitate to contact a veterinarian to make an immediate appointment. This is particularly important if your pet is have a hard time seeing.

Dry Eye

Dry eye or keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS) is the failure of the eyes to produce enough eye cleansing tears. Normally, tears are made up of mostly water with some oils and mucus. Tears play a crucial role for eye health. For instance, tears are the only source of lubrication, acts as an anti-bacterial and helps remove infectious material and irritants. However, dry eye is when tears are lacking water. In result, your pet will have a thick yellow discharge from their eyes. As well, the eyes are red. In the advanced stages of KCS the cornea turns brown. And if the condition is not taken care of, there can be blindness.

Breeds that often get dry eye include Miniature Schnauzers, West Highland White Terriers and Cocker Spaniels.

Symptoms and Treatment

Aside from the lack of water in your pet’s tears and a discharge, other symptoms of dry eye include mucus and inflammation resulting from lower immune system, distemper, trauma to the head, an injury near the tear gland, removal of the lacrimal gland (third eyelid) or certain antibiotics.

Rendering to WebMD, common causes of dry eye are allergies, dust or excess wind in the eyes, a foreign object or a serious infection. Moreover, consulting in a veterinarian is imperative because some conditions can render your pet blind or without an eye if left untreated.

Whitworth Animal Clinic

If you are unclear or have any concerns about your dog’s condition, contact a veterinarian immediately, especially when your pet has an infection.

At Whitworth Animal Clinic, Charles D. Whitworth, DVM provides optimum care for your canine. In fact, Charles D. Whitworth, DVM has devoted more than thirty years as a Madison veterinarian. As well, Charles D. Whitworth, DVM has had a passion for animals and the veterinarian life since he was a young kid in the third grade.

If you suspect that your pet has dry eye, contact as soon as possible. Whitworth Animal Clinic is conveniently located in Madison and serves the surrounding area including north Alabama and communities of Madison such as Huntsville and Decatur.

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