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What are Tear Stains?


What are Tear Stains?

Tear Stains is a common condition in dogs and cats, this is caused by excessive tear production, or insufficient tear drainage leading to overflow of tears. A condition called epiphora. Tear Stains are more prevalent in certain breeds like the Lhasa Apso, the Maltese, and the Shih Tzu; and it’s much more obvious in pets with light-colored coats.

Tear Stains can be harmless to pet and caused by just a minor irritation on the eye but care must be taken as tear stain can also be a symptom of a serious eye-related disease. The color of the tear stains can sometimes be used to determine the possible cause, like if the tear stains are brown in color, then it might be a yeast infection on the face, but if the tear stains are dark red, this might be as a result of porphyrins_ which are waste products containing iron from the breakdown of red blood cells, the waste can be excreted in tears and saliva.

Causes of Tear Stains

Most tear stains on pets are caused by irritation of the eye, the eye trying to flush away any harmful or foreign substance causing the irritation in the eye. When the eye continues to irritate, it will produce more tears and this can lead to overflow or chronic tearing and cause stains on the pet’s coat around the eye.

Some of the medical condition that may cause irritation in the eye and tear staining can include:

  • Infection of the eye
  • Glaucoma or another eye disease
  • Ingrown eyelashes or eyelid problem
  • Hair growth around the eye
  • Entropion (inverted eyelid)
  • Shallow eye sockets
  • Unusually large tear glands
  • Exposure to secondhand smoke
  • Medications
  • Brachycephalic syndrome
  • Unusually small tear duct openings
  • Ear infection
  • Poor-quality diet
  • Stress
  • Plastic food bowls
  • Teething in puppies
  • Blocked tear drainage holes

Blocked tear drainage holes may also be due to previous dog infections on the eye that cause scar tissue to form around the eye and blocks some of the tears drainage holes.

There are small holes in any dog or cat eye that drain tears from the eye and down to the throat. Tear stains might be due to blockage of this hole, it is often recommended to talk about any tear stains on your pet’s eye with your veterinarian. Vets will be able to rule out medical causes, tell you what might be causing it and advice you on what to do and how to clean the tear stains safely and properly.

Other recommendations to treating and preventing Tear stains in Pets include offering your pets with species-appropriate balanced diet; try to keep your pet’s face scrupulously clean and trim excess face hair, provide your pet with filtered drinking water, replace plastic food and water bowls with glass, stainless steel, or porcelain, clean your pet’s face with something safe like colloidal silver, and provide appropriate supplement protocol.


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