Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Today's Anatomy Trivia

While Nate was anesthetized yesterday for his footwork, we took advantage of the situation to illustrate a problem that Sonny has endured for years.  (Sorry, Nate!)

Sonny's prior owners told us that, for years, Sonny suffered "blocked tear ducts," which caused the hair loss just below both eyes.  That diagnosis was confirmed by two veterinarians following Sonny's arrival at TREES.

When they hear the term "blocked tear ducts," many people believe that means that Sonny either does not produce tears or that the tears cannot get to his eyes to flush out irritants or to keep them lubricated.

That is not the case.  The tears get to Sonny's eyes as they should, but cannot drain away as they should.  Normally, tears would drain away from the eyes via the nasolacrimal ducts, and emerge in the nostrils.  Nate kindly shows the opening of his nasolacrimal duct here:

When that little duct is obstructed for any reason, the tears cannot drain normally, spill out over the lower eyelid and run down the face.  In some cases, the duct can be reopened, but Sonny's blockage appears to be a permanent condition and we don't want to put a 38 year old through any invasive procedures for something that causes no real discomfort or presents no health risk. 

Sonny wears a fly mask much of the time since the eye discharge attracts flies and because the hairless skin sunburns easily.  Other than that, Head King Alpha Dude only requires a little extra facial grooming to be kept comfortable.

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