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What are Tear Stains and How to Manage Them
Eye stains are a pain to look at (pun intended). These unsightly dark marks near your Pom’s eyes are a result of excessive eye tear production. Instead of draining from the eyelid into their nose, the dog’s tears flow onto the surface near the dog’s eyes. This produces a dark stain that is evident in white fur dogs.
A major culprit of excessive tearing is the chemical Porphyrin. Porphyrin is a pigment found in tears and saliva, a normal end product from the breakdown of red blood cells. This is a normal physiological process that occurs in a healthy dog. Some dogs produce more porphyrins than other dogs, resulting in more pronounced tear staining.
Managing your Pom’s Tear Stains
We can manage your Pom’s excessive tear staining as follows. First, get a proper examination by your vet to rule out root causes. This could include:
- Yeast or bacterial infection
- Blocked eye ducts
- Ingrown eye lashes
- Undetected eye infection
Your vet will introduce a small amount of fluorescein dye to the surface of the dog’s cornea to determine if the tear ducts are blocked and confirm the presence of any significant eye injuries.
If the tear ducts are found to be blocked, the vet can do certain procedures to ensure that it is cleared.
In addition, your vet is likely to check for other causes which lead to increased tear production such as checking to see if any ingrown hairs in their eyelids that are irritating the surface of the eye. Another cause of tearing would be an underlying eye infection, or any other more serious health issues which are not immediately obvious.
Once you have made a visit to your vet and ruled out any serious health issues, you, as the owner can:
Provide regular warm compresses and wipe your dog’s face twice a day.
Wiping your dog’s eye stains regularly. Use a warm wet cloth and place it on your dog’s eye for about 5 minutes and let the cloth soak up with fluid in the region. Do this at least once a day. You can also consider using liquid vitamin C soaked in a cotton ball to wipe your dog’s eye region. This may help to reduce the intense color of the stain.
Apply anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial creams such as topical aloe/calendula/polysporin
that can be found at the local pharmacy or from your vet. A small amount near your dog’s eye is sufficient to reduce the stains.
Let your dog consume more probiotics.
Probiotics refer to a group of food that are rich in healthy bacteria such as yoghurt. Find these in your local neighbourhood supermarket. 2 tablespoons per 10 pounds of bodyweight should be sufficient for your Pom.
Feeding your dog with herbs.
Some ‘alternative’ vets have proposed to feed your dog with a small amount of herbs such as dandelion tincture (1 drop per 2 pounds of bodyweight once or twice daily) or Milk thistle (100mg per 10 pounds of bodyweight). Allowing your dog to consume these herbs may improve your dog’s liver function, which in turn reduces porphyrins production.
Last but not least, do NOT give your dog antibiotics such as Tylosin. Antibiotics kill bacteria found in tears that cause tear staining. However, giving your dog antibiotics will affect your dog’s gut flora, and make it resistant to other antibiotics, making them prone to serious secondary infection. You will be hurting your dog more in the long run.
Most importantly, managing your Pom’s tear stains is easy as long as you maintain a disciplined daily hygiene routine.
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