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Hi all,

Just curious if anyone has ever had their dog experience eye issues from wearing a head collar (like a gentle leader or halti).

My 6 year-old mixed breed (hound mix) has been having some health troubles recently. One is that he has very very watery eyes for the past several months (like, running down both sides of his muzzle). A few weeks ago, he had four lumps removed from his body (not near the eyes) so at first I was terrified that it is some kind of histamine release from mast cell tumors. But the cytology came back and the lumps are all either lipomas, lipoma w/inflammation, and collagenous nevus.

So the two things that are most likely are still allergies (which still makes me worried he has some sort of hidden mast cell tumor that's causing this), or blocked or lazy tear ducts. Two vets have been consulted (his regular vet and the surgeon who performed the lump removals) - vet says to do warm compresses twice a day for a few weeks to see if it helps, and the surgeon said to take him to an ophthalmologist (the surgeon had done a "stain" test while he was in surgery and they said that was fine - I am unclear on whether that was to test drainage and will check with them). I do not want to put him through anesthesia to do the flush and unblocking of his tear ducts, if that's the issue. But I want to know what is going on.

One thought I had is that the watery eyes started during the time that we had him wearing a head collar (one similar to a gentle leader). We had tried a gentle leader and that would sometime slip into his eyes (even though his muzzle is not short), so we bought a similar brand called Comfort Trainer (http://www.petexpertise.com/dog-coll...ad-halter.html), but that was still close to his eyes and I noticed it would leave impressions in his fur. We kept using it as it worked for behavioral purposes, but I would notice that the collar would get really wet near his eyes and even get stinky after a while. (We just stopped using it when I started to wonder if this was the issue and are working with a flat collar again.)

Does anyone have experience with dogs that develop watery eyes after wearing a head collar? Or are there other reasons I am not thinking of that his eyes may be so teary? Anything else I can do to fix this? We just started doing the warm compresses and massaging his ducts. But I am so afraid it's something serious.

[Note: He is missing his third eyelid from one his eyes from a cherry eye removal form when he was a puppy (awful vet who botched the procedure - long story), but I don't see how that would affect both eyes now.]

Sorry for the long post! Thanks for any advice you can give!
 

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I am a vet nurse and have seen many dogs get problems from wearing halti/gentle leaders etc. They do tend to pull up on the eyes. It was a good idea to stop using it and to assess if his eyes improve. The stain they did can be used for 2 reasons. 1 is to check for any ulcers or scratches on the eye (which is good if that is negative), and the other is to see if the tear ducts are blocked. The stain should be visible coming out his nose if they are not blocked. If they are blocked then yes usually a general anaesthetic and flush is required, unless there is just inflammation causing blockage in which case anti inflammatory eye drops can help. Are they both red? usually with allergies both eyes will be red. If you want to try something low key then buy some eye saline at your local chemist and try flushing his eyes a couple times of day. Use proper eye saline, don't use normal tap water.
 

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Holly hasn't had a problem with her eyes due to the gentle leader but that's not to say your don't won't. Neither vet suggested trying Benadryl for allergies?
 

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I only used a head halter for a short bit but wouldn't be surprised. Sometimes it does rub against the eyes,plus when my dog had it on he was always rubbing his face on everything to get it off.
 
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