Archived News

Success Continues with Opening Blocked Nasolacrimal Ducts

October 28, 2015

Kinako was successfully treated for a blocked nasolacrimal apparatus.

Kinako was successfully treated for a blocked nasolacrimal apparatus.

For more than a year, several hospital Services have joined forces to achieve success treating blocked tear ducts. When structures of the complex tear drainage system—collectively known as the nasolacrimal apparatus (NLA)—become blocked, infections can occur, leading to discomfort, tear staining and discharge from the eye, with subsequent skin inflammation. Now, thanks to advances in equipment, technique and teamwork, clinicians from UC Davis’ Ophthalmology, Internal Medicine, Soft Tissue Surgery, Anesthesia, and Diagnostic Imaging Services are having unprecedented success treating NLA blockages in multiple species.
With cameras now small enough to fit into the tiny drainage ducts, clinicians utilize endoscopy (as well as computed tomography and fluoroscopy) to identify and bypass or remove NLA obstructions. Whether the obstructions are caused by a partially scarred duct or a foreign body such as a foxtail, stents can be placed in the duct from eye to nose.
To date, UC Davis has treated 15 dogs, two cats and one horse with this pioneering procedure that now offers a minimally invasive alternative to referring veterinarians who have been faced with treating NLA obstructions using conventional (and often more invasive) methods. Referring ophthalmologists are recognizing UC Davis’ unique approach to effectively treat this condition.

One recipient of this groundbreaking work is Kinako, an 8-year-old cat, whose left eye continued to fill with large amounts of discharge, indicating a possible NLA blockage. After her veterinarian was unable to flush the duct, Kinako was referred to UC Davis where a stent was placed to clear the blockage.
UC Davis continues to evaluate this procedure in a clinical trial in hopes of determining if it will become the standard-of-care for an extremely frustrating disease complex. If you are interested in referring a patient to this study, please contact 530-752-EYES (3937).

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About the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital
The William R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital at the University of California, Davis—a unit of the #1 world ranked School of Veterinary Medicine—provides state-of-the-art clinical care while serving as the primary clinical teaching experience for DVM students and post graduate veterinarian residents. The VMTH treats more than 51,000 animals a year, ranging from cats and dogs to horses, cows and exotic species. To learn more about the VMTH, please go to Timely news updates can be received on its Facebook ( and Twitter ( pages.

Media Contact:
Rob Warren
VMTH Communications & Marketing Officer