Lapis ISSN 2398-2969

Eye: dacryocystitis

Contributor(s): David Gould, Richard Saunders, Vetstream Ltd, David L Williams, Allan Muir

Introduction

  • Dacryocystitis is a very common ocular disease in rabbits. It can be challenging to treat and many patients may have underlying dental pathology
  • Cause: often secondary to acquired dental disease, due to inappropriate diet.
  • Signs: unilateral or bilateral ocular discharge, epiphora,  tear-stained fur on face, facial dermatitis, concurrent conjunctivitis.
  • Diagnosis: signs, ophthalmic examination, nasolacrimal irrigation, culture and sensitivity.
  • Treatment: nasolacrimal duct flushing, systemic and topical antimicrobials, topical anti-inflammatories appropriate dental investigations. 
  • Prognosis: simple uncomplicated cases should resolve with nasolacrimal irrigation and appropriate antibiosis and anti-inflammatory therapy.  However a large proportion of cases are likely to be chronic with underlying dental pathology contributing to poorer clinical outcomes.

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  • Disease incidence has been reported at 7% of rabbits presented to a university clinic.  This is likely to reflect general rabbit practice populations also.

Presenting signs

  • Unilateral/bilateral ocular discharge, often purulent.
  • Mucopurulent tear overflow.
  • Tear-stained fur on face.
  • Secondary conjunctivitis.
  • Facial dermatitis typically below the medial canthus.

Breed predisposition

  • May be seen more commonly in lop breeds but this is only an anecdotal finding.

Cost considerations

  • Moderately expensive if recurrence occurs and bacteriological investigation followed by repeated nasolacrimal flushing and on-going medical management is required.
  • Moderately to extremely expensive if significant dental pathology involved and requiring treatment.

Cause

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Diagnosis

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Treatment

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Prevention

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Sequelae

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Cooper S (2011) Dacryocystitis in rabbits. UK Vet: Companion Animal 16 (2), 19-21 VetMedResource.
  • Boehmer E & Crossley D (2009) Objective interpretation of dental disease in rabbits, guinea pigs and chinchillas. Use of anatomical reference lines. Tierarzliche Praxis Kleintiere 37 (4), 250-260 VetMedResource.
  • Harcourt-Brown F (2009) Dental disease in pet rabbits. 2. Diagnosis and treatment. In Pract 31 (9), 432-445 VetMedResource.
  • Kern T J (1997) Rabbit and rodent ophthalmology. Semin Avian Exotic Pet Med 6 (3), 138-145 ScienceDirect.
  • Harcourt-Brown F M (1996) Calcium deficiency, diet and dental disease in pet rabbits. Vet Rec 139 (23), 567-571 PubMed.
  • Marini R P, Foltz C J, Kersten D et al (1996) Microbiologic, radiographic and anatomic study of the nasolacrimal duct apparatus in the rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus). Lab Anim Sci 46 (6), 656-662 PubMed.
  • Hillyer E V (1994) Pet rabbits. Vet Clin North Am Small Anim Pract 24 (1), 25-65 PubMed.
  • Burling K, Murphy C J, Curiel J S, Koblick P & Bellhorn R W (1991) Anatomy of the rabbit nasolacrimal duct and its clinical implications. Prog Vet Comp Ophthalmol 1, 33-40.
  • Bauck L (1989) Ophthalmic conditions in pet rabbits and rodents. Comp Contin Educ Pract Vet 11 (3), 258-261, 264-266 VetMedResource.
  • Jones S M & Carrington S D (1988) Pasteurella dacryocystitis in rabbits. Vet Rec 122 (21), 514-515 PubMed.

Other sources of information

  • Knott T (2014) Ophthalmology. In: BSAVA Manual of Rabbit Medicine. Eds: Meredith A & Lord B. BSAVA, Gloucester, UK.
  • Saunders R (2013) Dental-Related Epiphora and Dacryocystitis. In: BSAVA Manual of Rabbit Surgery, Dentistry and Imaging. Eds: Harcourt-Brown F & Chitty J. pp 382-394. BSAVA, Gloucester, UK.


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