Cat Tear Stains

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When a cat's tears are exposed to air they turn a reddish-brown color, and if the tears spill onto the fur they can cause unsightly staining, particularly on light-colored animals. These tear stains are not really a health concern, but many owners would just as soon treat them with pet meds.

"If you suspect any sort of problem with your cat's eyes, the first thing you should do is make an appointment with your veterinarian."

What Causes Tear Stains on Cats?

Tears protect and nourish the surface of the eye. Under normal circumstances, the tears that are produced drain away from the eye through small holes on the inner surface of the lower lids, and very little, if any, staining of the fur around the eyes occurs. However, certain circumstances can disrupt this normal pattern:

  • Overproduction of tears
  • Blockage or abnormal development of the ducts that drain tears
  • Anatomical abnormalities that promote spillage of tears (e.g., a cat with a very short nose and prominent eyes)

Veterinary Care for Tear Stains

Angel's Eyes for Cats

If you suspect any sort of problem with your cat's eyes, the first thing you should do is make an appointment with your veterinarian. Wounds, infections, ulcers, and other serious diseases can cause increased drainage from the eye. Do not overlook the possibility that an underlying problem may be the cause of your cat's tear staining.

Tear Stain Home Care

Once more serious eye problems have been ruled out, owners have several options for dealing with tear stains. Keeping the fur around the eyes trimmed short and washing away the drainage once or twice a day with a warm, wet cloth or eye rinse will keep staining to a minimum. If more dramatic results are desired, oral tear stain supplements are widely available. Some of the more popular products like Angels' Eyes contain the active ingredient tylosin, a type of antibiotic. Although the long term use of tylosin appears safe, owners should decide on a case by case basis whether such treatment for tear staining is warranted.

The above is provided for information purposes only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of any condition. This information does not cover all possible variables, conditions, reactions, or risks relating to any topic, medication, or product and should not be considered complete. Certain products or medications may have risks and you should always consult your local veterinarian concerning the treatment of your pet. Any trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

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