Clinical presentation, treatment, and outcome of dacryocystitis in rabbits: a retrospective study of 28 cases (2003-2007)

Vet Ophthalmol. Nov-Dec 2009;12(6):350-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1463-5224.2009.00727.x.


Objective: To document the clinical presentation, diagnostics, treatment, and clinical outcome of rabbits with dacryocystitis.

Materials and methods: This retrospective study included 28 rabbits diagnosed with dacryocystitis. Available records of clinical and ophthalmological examinations, bacteriological samplings, diagnostic imaging, and treatment were reviewed. A telephone survey of the owners was conducted to evaluate recovery and recurrences.

Results: The mean age of the 28 rabbits presenting with ocular discharge from the nasolacrimal duct was 4.4 years. In 25 rabbits (89%), dacryocystitis was a unilateral finding. No underlying cause could be determined in 10 animals (35%). Dental malocclusion was observed in 14 rabbits (50%) and rhinitis in two animals (7%), with one animal showing both symptoms (4%). One rabbit (4%) presented with panophthalmitis. Most animals (96%) received topical antibiotic treatment. If necessary, additional topical (acetylcysteine, vitamin A ointment, nonsteroidals) or systemic treatment (antibiotics, nonsteroidals, paramunity inducer, and glucocorticoids) was provided. The mean duration of therapy was 5.8 weeks. The nasolacrimal duct was flushed in 27 of 31 affected eyes (87%). Dentistry was performed in 80% of the animals suffering from malocclusion. Regarding the clinical outcome, 12 animals (43%) showed complete recovery, eight rabbits (28%) were euthanized, three (11%) died due to unrelated causes, and three (11%) were lost to follow-up. Two rabbits (7%) continue to display signs of dacryocystitis and are being treated symptomatically by the owners.

Conclusions: This study reports the clinical presentation, treatment, and outcome of dacryocystitis in rabbits and outlines the importance of examination of the oral cavity, diagnostic imaging, and bacteriologic sampling.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Dacryocystitis / diagnosis
  • Dacryocystitis / drug therapy
  • Dacryocystitis / pathology
  • Dacryocystitis / veterinary*
  • Female
  • Male
  • Rabbits
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents