Animals With No Tear Ducts

4-Week-Old Netherlands Dwarf RabbitContrary to popular belief, not all mammals have tear ducts. Some mammals are missing these tubes that regulate and distribute tears to the spaces between their eyeballs and eyelids. Although only humans can produce emotional tears, animals produce tears to moisturize the cornea and wash away any irritants that may be present. Animals missing tear ducts often produce a great deal more tears, but the tears rarely impact what’s causing dryness or an obstruction because there’s no tear ducts to guide the tears.

Note to readers: Certain irritants can cause companion animals to suffer from itchy or burning eyes. Talk to a vet before administering drops. HealthyPets is among the best places to find low cost eye drops and other pet meds. 


No matter how many carrots a rabbit eats, he’s always going to be prone to eye problems. A rabbit’s lack of tear ducts makes him high-risk for bacterial infections, eye abnormalities, dry eyes and eye traumas. Eye traumas are accidental eye issues, such as cornea scratches.

Watery eyes are the first indication that your rabbit is suffering from an eye problem. Contact your veterinarian immediately if you notice a string of white mucus discharging from your rabbit’s eyes, as this may indicate a more serious issue, such as a bacterial infection.


Seals have great eyesight, but no tear ducts. Their large eyes aren’t prone to serious infection because they moisturize their eyes each time they dive beneath the water’s surface. In fact, a seal’s eyesight is even keener under water, where he hunts fish. Both on land and in the sea, a seal is mostly unaffected by his lack of tear ducts.

A seal’s lack of tear ducts is more of a physical attribute than a hindrance. Without tear ducts to regulate the flow of his tears, they’re often seen streaming down his face, winning him favor with humans who find sentimental appeal in the look of a crying animal.


Goats have especially unique eyes. Not only do they lack tear ducts, they also have horizontal rectangular pupils. Some people may find a goat’s eyes startling, because his horizontal pupils stand out against his brightly colored iris. Others find a goat’s eyes fascinating because it allows him to see almost all the way around himself, as well have very detailed, 3D periphery vision.

Unfortunately, like rabbits, goats are prone to some common eye problems. Their lack of tear ducts leaves them unprotected against debris in the air, such as seeds or hay. They’re also prone to less serious issues, such as inverted eyelids. Contact your veterinarian if you notice any excessive watering, bruising, discharge, or eye damage.

Whales and Other Water Mammals

Water mammals, like whales and dolphins, don’t have tear ducts because they don’t need them. As with seals, the water refreshes the eyes, keeping them moisturized and clean of debris. Although whales do not have tear ducts, they do have eyelid glands that produce oils to keep eyes moisturized. This is due to the huge surface of a whale’s eye. A whale’s giant eye requires more moisturizing than other sea creatures.


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