Blocked Tear Ducts – Dacryocystitis

Dacryocystitis is inflammation or infection of the tear duct. The clinical signs are usually a milky white discharge coming from the eye and/or the nose, causing the fur underneath to become damp and matted. The skin can become sore and inflammed due to the constant discharge.

The cause is often bacteria which can include Pasturella and Staphylococcal bacteria. The infection can cause an obstruction of the duct causing an overflow of the discharge. The duct itself passes from the eye over both the molar and incisor tooth roots to the front of the nose. Therefore although the main cause may be bacterial, it is important to investigate any underlying causes including dental disease.

If the rabbit is suffering from dental disease, tooth root infection will often involve the tear duct.

Treatment

Depending on the severity of the infection, antibiotic eye drops may not be enough on their own to treat the problem, as adequate drainage of the tear duct is required for them to be effective. If the tear duct is blocked, flushing the tear duct under either local or general anaesthetic will be required to remove any obstruction.

Any underlying dental problems should also be treated either by burring or in difficult cases removal of the incisors.

Recurrences of dacryocystitis are common due to the problems caused by dental disease.