Tear Staining: Antibiotic-Free Treatment

By Jessica Melman Bhatia, DVM

Tear StainingTear staining is a common problem and concern of pet owners. There are a plethora of products available marketed to help treat tear staining. Some of these products contain the antibiotic tylosin tartrate, which is not approved for use in dogs or cats and also not approved for the treatment of conditions associated with tear staining, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

DermaZoo’s TrisOptho Wipes are an excellent antibiotic-free alternative to help aid in the treatment of tear staining. TrisOphtho Wipes contain EDTA, Tromethamine and 0.002% Chlorhexidine. Tris-EDTA is antibacterial and also chelates minerals, such as iron which is a component of tear stains, and thus helps to aid in the removal of the stains from the hair. Chlorhexidine is antibacterial and synergized by Tris-EDTA. Chlorhexidene at 0.002% has safely been used in contact solution, and therefore, at this concentration it is safe if it gets into the eyes and is also synergized by Tris-EDTA without the adverse effects of higher concentrations.

What is Tear Staining?

Excessive tears drain down the pets face and this chronic exposure to moisture can cause skin irritation, infection and odor. This is especially a problem in pets with very small tear ducts, and/or large eyes and short muzzles, all of which tends to allow more eye irritation and less drainage.

The fur becomes stained reddish brown due to salivary pigments called porphyrins. Porphyrins are a group of organic compounds. One of the best-known porphyrins is heme, the pigment in red blood cells. When red blood cells are naturally broken down by the body, a chemical substance known as porphyrin is left in the bloodstream. Porphyrins are excreted primarily through bile and the intestinal tract, but a significant amount of porphyrin is excreted through tears, saliva and also urine. Porphyrin is an iron-containing substance, and those stains are difficult to remove. Staining occurs when porphyrin penetrates the hair cuticle and is deposited within the hair and dyes the hair.

DermaZoo’s TrisOphtho Wipes may be used to help remove and prevent tear staining, as well as help treat infection associated with chronic moisture. As mentioned above, Chlorhexidine is antibacterial and synergized by Tris-EDTA. Additionally, Tris-EDTA is antibacterial and chelates mineral such as iron, which is found in the porphyrin that causes the tear stains to be a reddish-brown color, and therefore, helps to remove the tear stains.

It is optimal to remove stained hair prior to use of these wipes and then use them daily to prevent staining. However, it is not always possible to remove stained hair and these wipes may help to remove staining from old hair.