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Computed tomographic imaging characteristics of the normal canine lacrimal glands.

  • Author(s): Zwingenberger, Allison L;
  • Park, Shin A;
  • Murphy, Christopher J
  • et al.


The canine lacrimal gland (LG) and accessory lacrimal gland of the third eyelid (TEG) are responsible for production of the aqueous portion of the precorneal tear film. Immune-mediated, toxic, neoplastic, or infectious processes can affect the glands directly or can involve adjacent tissues, with secondary gland involvement. Disease affecting these glands can cause keratoconjunctivitis sicca, corneal ulcers, and loss of vision. Due to their location in the orbit, these small structures are difficult to evaluate and measure, making cross-sectional imaging an important diagnostic tool. The detailed cross-sectional imaging appearance of the LG and TEG in dogs using computed tomography (CT) has not been reported to date.


Forty-two dogs were imaged, and the length, width, and height were measured and the volume calculated for the LGs & TEGs. The glands were best visualized in contrast-enhanced CT images. The mean volume of the LG was 0.14 cm3 and the TEG was 0.1 cm3. The mean height, width, and length of the LG were, 9.36 mm, 4.29 mm, and 9.35 mm, respectively; the corresponding values for the TEG was 2.02 mm, 9.34 mm, and 7.90 mm. LG and TEG volume were positively correlated with body weight (p < 0.05).


Contrast-enhanced CT is a valuable tool for noninvasive assessment of canine lacrimal glands.

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