Any tips on watery eyes for our ~5-month-old B?

The vet suggested "Angel Eyes," but that didn't seem to help. We also tried children's Claritin for a few days and didn't notice any difference in tear discharge.

He doesn't appear uncomfortable, and he isn't pawing at his face. Not sure if this is a common physical ailment due to teething/allergies/etc. He has pretty bad separation anxiety when we aren't in the same room as him (the Covid-19 situation has us together a lot more than would have been typical), so I'm wondering if he is just a really anxious puppy. Let me know if you have any tips or experience! I just want him to be healthy and comfortable, so I want to do all I can to help.

Here's a pic that shows his typical teary-eyed (but cute!) face. alt text

Typical questions:
How long has this been going on?
Any changes (in diet, environment, etc.)?
Is it pollen season where(ever) you live?
Has the Vet examined his eyes (or just offered advice over the phone)?

Is there anything else you can tell us that would help us help you?

Hi Elbrant,

This has been going on since we brought him home in March. No material changes, except that we moved him off Royal Canin kibble and onto Honest Kitchen a few weeks ago without any difference in tear production. We live in Chicago, so it has been pollen season the past couple of months, but he still had watery eyes in early March prior to pollen season here.

Two vets have taken a look; one suggested Angel Eyes, and the other said that this was just a common issue with basenjis. I've searched through this forum, and persistent tears in both eyes don't seem to be a common, lifelong issue with any basenjis, though it looks like some Bs have had problems with conjunctivitis and allergies.

If this is just an issue that Bs have to deal with, please let me know! If it's a fixable thing and I can do something to improve his day-to-day comfort, I'd just want to fix it.

@jcflood I don't know of this being common among Basenjis', however, some breeds do seem to commonly tear. I'm sure others who have more experience would be able to share their experiences.

Have you contacted his breeder (assuming you aquired him from a breeder) to ask what they think? If they didn't notice any tearing while with them, then you can probably assume that it's something different between the two environments. If they did notice it, or they have had similar issues with other pups, then they may be able to offer suggestions on how to treat the problem.

@jcflood - Not a common issue with Basenjis. I have been in the breed 30+ yrs and have not ever had this issue. Did you visit with a Eye Specialist Vet? A board certified Ophthalmologist? Have you spoke with his breeder?

Is there anything in your house that could be causing this reaction? e.g. laundry detergent, or one of those odour eliminators, like Febreze? Dogs may be sensitive to a lot of things that people consider "normal", since we spend a lot of time and money on masking "unpleasant" smells that the advertisers convince us are offensive. Food could also be an issue. You might want to try switching to a different brand of dog food (gradually!!) and see if that helps.

@eeeefarm I thought that could be the case, but we spent about 10 days in Michigan at my family's house (different laundry, odor eliminators, general environment), and didn't notice any difference.

Looks like we are going to set up an appointment at Eye Care for Animals in Chicago, so hopefully they can pinpoint the problem.

I ran my former husband's (human) ophthalmology practice for 15 years and did all triage and have noticed that our vet uses human drops for eye issues.

With humans, teary eyes without significant discharge indicates irritation, which is most often caused by dry eye. It can be caused in some breeds such a Boston Terriers because of prominent eyes which protrude. Many environmental conditions can cause dry eye in humans such as blowing air in the car, ceiling fans, heating, air conditioning, etc. Can you see if the pup's eyes close completely when sleeping? If not, that could explain dryness and tearing. You might try a lubricating drop with transient preservatives (Refresh, Optive, Genteal, Systane are all good brands) or totally unpreserved lubricating drops. Do not use any "get the red out" drops.

As a rule, seasonal allergies cause itching and I would expect to see a dog rubbing its eyes if it sensed a foreign body or itching from allergies. My favorite allergy drop (Patanol or Pataday) is now OTC and I think it is okay for dogs.

If you see gooey or colored discharge or significant crusting, I would suspect an infection.

And, I'm not a doctor!

I had one rescue Basenji whose eyes were teary but they weren't bothersome to her. We have a fake Basenji now whose eyes are teary due to clogged tear ducts, the vet has unclogged them but they just clog up again. Doesn't seem to bother him. There used to be a product that you could sprinkle on their food every once in a while to prevent staining and it worked . But it was banned.
-Joanne

Sorry your little guy is experiencing this,. The picture shows a cute dog -- congratulations! -- but not a lot of detail around the eye. I brought it into PS to see if I could get a better look. When I I blow it up it looks more like dermatitis mange (basically just mites that all dogs get at birth from their mom). This is certainly TOTALLY OFF BASE. I doubt a vet would miss this and there are many reasons for watery eyes. It's just that with the resolution and shadows it's hard to see.

Personally I've never encountered eye problems along these line, or heard of them for that matter. Usually when you see watery eyes, which aren't a big deal, the discharge is in the corner. If I'm seeing this correctly, it looks like it extends under the eye. So while it's great that it doesn't seem to bother him, it's a very good idea to see a specialty vet. I suspect you'll get a diagnosis. If you do please let us know what you find out.

Giza1.....what is a fake basenji or was that a typo. Just askin ๐Ÿ˜„

@jcflood - Glad that you will take him to a board certified Ophthalmologist, still wonder if you have discussed this with the breeder?

last edited by tanza

@tanza Yup, we reached out to the breeder a few weeks ago and she mentioned that it could be allergies from food or the environment, but otherwise she didn't indicate that he had any prior issue with his eyes.

The tearing seems most prevalent (i) when he is running around at the park and (ii) when we leave him alone in his crate (which we haven't done very often, given the quarantine restrictions the past few months). That makes me wonder if it's linked to periods of heightened activity/stress, but maybe I'm grasping at straws.

last edited by jcflood

I have fostered over 50 basenjis over the years and only had one b that had an eye problem. He had a problem with his eyelids called entropion.

Entropion (en-TROH-pee-on) is a condition in which your eyelid turns inward so that your eyelashes and skin rub against the eye surface. This causes irritation and discomfort. When you have entropion, your eyelid may be turned in all the time or only when you blink hard or squeeze your eyelids shut.

I'm glad you are taking him to be examined by an opthamologist. Please let us know what that doctor says.

In almost 40 years of breeding and being associated with Basenjis, I have never come across this eye problem so would heartily dispute any idea that it is common to the Breed.

On the other hand, I have known, and frequently travelled to shows with, a Basenji who had an distinct allergy in Springtime and would come up in lumps and bumps near certain plants.

Opththalmologist and possibly some kind of allergy specialist would be the best port of call. It will be very interesting to learn the results you get. Its good that he isn't bothered by it but it does tend to mar his obvious beauty !

Good luck -

@jcflood
This could be a reaction to formaldehyde thatโ€™s in carpet.
We bought a newer home years ago that had not been lived in very much. Our non Basenjis eyes matted shut and we discovered that formaldehyde is used in the mfg of carpet and can cause eye irritation to pets
Just a thought

@joan-duszka said in Any tips on watery eyes for our ~5-month-old B?:

Giza1.....what is a fake basenji or was that a typo. Just askin ๐Ÿ˜„

A "fake basenji" would be a dog with so many similarites that you would swear they are at least part Basenji, only to find out they aren't. This little impersonator is a perfect example. To look at her, she seems to only be missing the white tail tip. Her DNA results tell the true story. (She is still a lovely dog!)

Hi all - we've scheduled an appointment with a board-certified ophthalmologist on July 8 (Eye Care for Animals - Chicago), so I'll circle back after with an update. Thank you all very much for your responses! What a wonderful community.

@jcflood - Good luck with the appointment. Care to share his breeding and/or breeder? Many of us are related by our Basenjis.

@pawla - Entropion is for sure a possible. Basenjis are know known for this but I have known a couple of Basenjis with this issue.

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