Ask the Vet - Dr. Whitehead • Dr. Forsythe


Is my dog crying?

Dear Dr. Forsythe: My three-month-old miniature Poodle, Cypress, is smart, healthy and so much fun. The only problem is that he has constantly runny eyes and he blinks them all the time.  I put some drops in that I used on my last dog, who had an infection, but it isn’t helping. Cypress’ tears are clear, almost like he is crying.  Do dogs cry?  Why are they so wet?  Do you have any suggestions?

Beata
Cotati

Dear Beata: Yes, dogs cry, but not tears.  As you know, dogs can be very vocal when they “cry out”, but when a dog produces tears that are running down his cheeks, it is not from watching a movie like “Schindler’s List” but rather from a problem in the eye.  Dogs usually blink their eyes when they are in pain, so it is important to have Cypress checked by your veterinarian to diagnose the problem.

If it’s not an infection or a traumatic injury, there is a good possibility that Cypress has a condition called entropion, an inversion (rolling in) of the eyelid margin. The most common cause of entropion is a congenital: certain breeds are more prone to passing it on genetically.  Unfortunately, the Poodle is one of those breeds. Others include Chow Chow, Shar Pei, English Bulldog, St. Bernard, Bull Mastiff, Great Dane, and sporting breeds.

Once a diagnosis of entropion is made, the problem is corrected with surgery.  In my practice, I use a surgical laser to remove a small elliptical piece of tissue about 3 mm from the eyelid margins, both upper and lower. I close the small ellipses with 4-0 silk or nylon suture, and as the tissue is closed, the eyelid margins roll outward again so that the margins meet evenly.  Once this conformational defect is correct, the tearing and discharge usually resolves quickly, because the eyelashes are no longer able to rub against the cornea or “windshield” of the eye.  Good luck with Cypress, I hope his eye problem gets resolved soon so he can go out and spread his beauty and joy to all his future admirers.

Dear Dr. Forsythe:  I was at the Farmer’s Market last week in Oakland at Jack London Square and saw a lady walking her Greyhound.  The people who run the market (they had official shirts on) stopped her and told her she needed to take her dog out, and as she was walking away from the outdoor market, her dog made a huge pile right in the middle of the busy farmer’s market.  She didn’t bother to pick it up and even dragged the dog away so he spread his droppings over a sizable area.  What are people thinking letting their dogs poop in areas like that, and not even pick it up?  I called over to her to pick up after her dog but she wouldn’t even look back.  Have animal owners lost all sense of responsibility and public health?

Ray G.
Oakland

Dear Ray: It was good that you tried to call out to her. People who take their dogs out in public areas, especially in urban settings, need to be conscience of the fact they and their pets have an impact on others.  Whether it is barking, jumping up, or eliminating, I am astonished at the number of people who seem to feel entitled to wander around as if they were in a plastic bubble or a vacuum.

Was she so scatterbrained that she didn’t think anyone would notice the presence of a full-grown sight hound meandering among the booths?  Had she watched so many episodes of “Bewitched” as a youngster that she assumed her pet’s turds would levitate on their own and magically disperse into  bags and dispose of themselves into a waste container?  Perhaps she was daydreaming of the pup that popped into the pulpit, pooped, and popped out again.  In any event, she needed to be called out.  This woman needed to have her head examined — and perhaps a vendor might have been justified tossing a radish, or something else — her way.  Oh my gosh, did I really say that?

- Dr. Forsythe

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