, May 24, 2024

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Dog Tear Stains: Cause and Treatment


  •   5 min reads
Dog Tear Stains: Cause and Treatment
by Mariana Burgos

Tear stains are an unpleasant issue that many pets face. Unfortunately, this isn’t simply an aesthetic problem. These stains are frequently an indication of a greater problem and a crucial warning sign that owners should be aware of.

If your dog has watery eyes, please have your dog evaluated by a veterinarian first before attempting to remove tear stains with whatever product you saw in an advert. There are several disorders that can cause the eyes to leak excessively, resulting in discomfort and loss of vision if left untreated. It is best to know the true cause from a vet before doing DIY treatments.

A toy poodle mix breed has tear stains on its face. (Photo from Dreamstine royalty-free images)

Vetrerinariqan Eileen Fatcheric says in her article, “Dog Tear Stains: What You Should Know,” some of the most common possible underlying issues of tear stains include

1. allergies,

2. inflammatory conditions (like conjunctivitis, corneal irritation, or ulcer),

3. foreign bodies,

4. glaucoma,

5. distichiasis (eyelashes growing from the wrong place),

6. entropion (eyelids that roll in so that haired skin rubs on the cornea),

7. facial nerve paralysis (eyelids can’t blink), and

8. nasolacrimal (tear duct) obstruction.

If your veterinarian discovers an underlying medical problem that can be handled or addressed, tear staining will no longer be an issue. Epiphora (excessive tears that pour onto the face) is neither unpleasant nor hazardous for your dog. It is only a cosmetic issue. Simple modifications in grooming practices can sometimes be beneficial.

What causes tear stains?

According to Dr. Greg Magnusson, in his article, “A Veterinary Guide To Tear Stains” in the Leo’s Pet Care website, tear stains are typically generated by color molecules known as porphyrins. Porphyrins are iron-containing compounds created by the body when red blood cells are broken down. Porphyrins are largely expelled through bile and the digestive system, although a substantial proportion is excreted through tears, saliva, and urine in dogs.

Stains appear when porphyrin-containing tears or saliva settle on white fur for an extended period of time. When exposed to sunshine, these iron-related stains deepen and worsen.

Magnusson says all dogs manufacture porphyrin, although porphyrin staining is more visible in light colored dogs. When a white or light-colored dog licks or bites on his leg, you’ll notice that the fur in that region turns an iron-brown hue as well.

Most tear stains in most dogs may be avoided simply by keeping the face clear of porphyrin-containing tears. Dr. Magnusson recommends trimming the face hair and cleaning the face at least twice daily with a gently moist washcloth to dilute and wipe away the tears.

A toy poodle mix breed has tear stains on its face. (Photo from Dreamstine royalty-free images)

Correcting a misconception.

Ptyrosporin, according to Dr. Magnusson, does not exist. Prior to the official term change in 1984, the Red Yeast everyone is talking about is not some magical red-stain-producing yeast strain found exclusively in dog tears; it is the same, brown, Malassezia that causes ear infections, skin infections, and all sorts of other yeast-based infections in dogs.

A little mistake spread across dozens of websites has resulted in a vast misconception about what causes tear stains.

If your dog has a YEAST INFECTION beside her nose as a consequence of the fur beneath her eyes being chronically wet with tears as a result of you not washing her face and keeping her fur trimmed, it is a medical problem that may be readily addressed with regular grooming and care.

BROWN staining from yeast infection caused by inadequate grooming care and RED staining from porphyrins are two distinct diseases, according to Dr. Magnusson, which is why oral supplements aimed at lowering porphyrin synthesis will not work in all dogs.

Certain antibiotics reduce excessive porphyrin synthesis in some dogs, indicating that yeast infection is not the sole likely source of tear stains, according to Dr. Magnusson.

Treating tear stains:

Dr. Magnusson gives us an 8-step treatment.

STEP 1: Keep your dog’s face clean at all times. Wipe the face with a moist towel twice a day to eliminate excess tears, and schedule frequent grooming sessions.

STEP 2: Discard plastic food dishes. Stainless steel, porcelain, or glass are all acceptable materials. Tiny fractures in plastic food bowls can contain germs and cause face discomfort.

STEP 3: Use a moderate boric acid solution, such as that found in certain contact lens cleaners, or liquid vitamin C on a cotton ball to wipe the dog’s face and lighten any existing tear stains. Acids such as boric and citric (Vit C) oxidize the porphyrin iron complexes and lighten them, whereas sunlight darkens them.

STEP 4: If your porphyria persists despite your best grooming efforts, consider a NON-Tylosin containing oral supplement, such as those indicated above.

STEP 5: If your tap water has a lot of minerals or iron, try giving your dog bottled water or using a filter to make cleaner water.

STEP 6: If you insist on administering antibiotics, medications such as doxycycline, metronidazole, and enrofloxacin have all been administered successfully under veterinary supervision.

STEP 7: Tums or Apple Cider Vinegar? – Dr. Magnusson discovered no evidence that adding a trace of antacid or vinegar to your dog’s massive stomach acid had any influence on the pH of their tears.

A rescue dog in a shelter has tear stains below the eyes. (Photo from Dreamstine royalty-free images)

STEP 8 : Does a higher-quality food lower porphyrin synthesis in some dogs? Yes, they do. Veterinarians usually advise giving the most balanced food you can afford for your dog. Some people swear by homemade or raw meals, while others are concerned about nutritional balance difficulties with homemade diets. Most veterinarians recommend feeding a well-studied commercial food of some sort from a big manufacturer. There are no absolutes here; do what works best for you and your family.

NOT A SINGLE MEDICATION IS SAFE. Every medication, supplement, and herb has an adverse effect. According to Dr. Magnusson, saying otherwise is careless and irresponsible. Buyer beware, and always contact your veterinarian before beginning any supplementation program for your dog.

Tear stains are an indication that there is a problem inside your dog’s body. Tear stains will be more evident if your dog has been exposed to irritants or has structural eye abnormalities, but vets will still typically suggest a deeper issue. Fortunately, most of these difficulties can be rectified with a little research, hard effort, and assistance from your local vet.

About the Author: Mariana Burgos is a freelance artist. She is a solo parent for 16 years now because she is wife to a desaparecido. She and her daughter are animal lovers and are active in advocating not only human rights but the rights of animals as well.

This article also appears in the Manila Standard



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