Medial Canthal Pocket Syndrome (mcps) In Dogs

There are several dog breeds that are known to suffer from a condition that affects their eyes known as medial canthal pocket syndrome or MCPS. The condition develops because of an abnormality in the structure of a dog's eyelids which causes chronic irritation of the cornea as well as the conjunctiva. Medial canthal pocket syndrome is a condition that affects certain breeds more than others thanks to the shape of their faces and deeply set eyes.

Breeds most at risk of developing medical canthal pocket syndrome

The disorder is commonly seen in brachycephalic breeds, but dogs with shallow eye orbits can be affected by the condition too. Dirt and debris gets deposited in a dog's conjunctival pocket which is situated at what is known as the medial canthus and it happens because of the shape of a dog's skull and the fact their eyes are deeply set in their faces which is the case in the Afghan Hound.

The debris and foreign matter trapped in the conjunctival pocket results in a dog constantly suffering from conjunctivitis which in turn can lead to them suffering from the following painful eye disorders:

  • Pigmentary keratitis
  • Corneal ulcers
  • Epiphora

Breeds most at risk of suffering from medial canthal pocket syndrome include the following:

Symptoms associated with the disorder

As previously mentioned, the condition is commonly seen in certain breeds, but it often goes unnoticed and therefore undiagnosed. Dogs suffering from medical canthal pocket syndrome continually develop conjunctivitis and have a thick discharge or weepy, often swollen eyes which is more noticeable in the morning than later in the day. This is thought to be because the discharge becomes thicker as a dog is sleeping. Once a dog is awake, they constantly rub at their eyes to get rid of the discharge which results in them having sore and swollen eyes.

Dogs with the condition have "red eyes", but rarely do they show any signs of discomfort. With this said, should a dog continually rub at their eyes when they wake up, it can often result in making the condition that much worse and therefore more painful leading to other eye problems developing.

When does a dog start to show any symptoms?

A dog suffering from the condition would typically start to show signs of there being something wrong with their eyes when they are anything from 6 to 18 months old. Owners notice that their pets have a chronic discharge coming from their eyes that does not seem to bother them that much but which is quite unsightly and which needs to be cleaned off regularly.

Diagnosing the condition

A vet would thoroughly examine a dog suspected of suffering from medial canthal pocket syndrome which they would do by closely looking at their eyes. Other tests they may recommend carrying out could include the following:

  • Neurological tests
  • Schirmer tear test
  • A swab test of the mucus discharge which would be sent off for sensitivity analysis

What are the treatment options?

A vet would want to flush out a dog's nasolacrimal ducts which can be carried out by using a topical anaesthetic or by having a dog lightly sedated. Should a dog's condition be deemed very severe, a vet might recommend surgically correcting the problem by carrying out a procedure known as a blepharoplasty.


Dogs suffering from a mild case of medial canthal pocket syndrome would not necessarily need to be treated in any way, however, if their condition is more severe, they might need to see a vet regularly for them to be prescribed the right topical medication and other drugs to make life more comfortable for them and to reduce the risk of any secondary eye conditions from developing.

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