What causes my pet’s tear stains?
There are many reasons that can cause your pet to have excessive tearing. Many dog breeds, especially in the ‘toy’ category, are genetically predisposed to tearing. The most common of these dog breeds include: Bichon Frise, Shih-Tzu, Maltese, Poodles, Cocker Spaniels, Pekinese, Pugs, Bulldogs and Lhasa Apso, to name a few. Within cat breeds, the most prevalent tearing breeds are Exotic Shorthairs, Persians and Himalayans.
Many other breeds of dogs and cats also have tearing issues for a variety of other reasons. The list is not exhaustive, but here are some of the most common reasons:
- Corneal abrasions, ulcers, conjunctivitis
- Hair growth around the eyes can cause irritation that can lead to excessive tearing
- Blocked tear ducts
- Shallow eye sockets
- Third Eyelid Flap (aka Entropion)
- Teething (this can affect tearing up to 16-18 months of age)
- Ear Infections
- Small noses/snouts, flat-faced
- Narrow nose nostrils
- Large Eyes
- Clogged tear ducts
- Dust or an object in the eyes(e.g. foxtails)
Also, with the creation of all ‘hybrid breeds,’ we are now seeing new breeds with tearing issues. These hybrid breeds do not have the common traits like other tearing breeds. In fact, many have long snouts, normal inset eyes, etc. These are eatures that were typically not seen in the ‘tearing’ breeds.
- Goldendoodle: Golden Retriever (Non-Tearer) + Poodle (Tearer) = Tearer
- Cavashu: Cavalier King Charles (Tearer) + Shih Tzu (Tearer) = Bigger Tearer
- Puggle: Pug (Tearer) + Beagle (Non- Tearer) = Tearer
- Maltipoo: Maltese (Tearer) + Poodle (Tearer) = Bigger Tearer
If your pet has never suffered from tearing problems, then suddenly has excessive drainage, have your veterinarian check for eye scratches, periodontal issues, clogged tear ducts or ear infections. These issues will cause a non-tearing pet to tear.
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