If your pup's eyes are constantly tearing, it can lead to consistently wet fur under and around his eyes, creating the perfect environment for red yeast and bacteria to fester. This type of yeast not only causes itching and discomfort for your pooch, but also ugly reddish-brown stains in the eye area. Visit the vet to discover the cause of your dog's tearing problems and treat that unsightly yeast.
Red yeast, a type of fungi also known as ptyrosporin, pityrosporum or malassezia, develops in the moist environment around your dog's eyes when he produces excess tears or has issues with tear drainage. While this yeast naturally resides on the skin, the constant moisture allows it to thrive more than it normally would. As the name implies, red yeast stains the fur a reddish color and causes skin irritation and an unpleasant odor. While treating the yeast can help eliminate the stains and irritation, this won't solve the problem, which has to do with your pup's excess tear production or failure of the tear ducts to function properly. Without solving this issue, the yeast will continue to return and fester, even if you treat the infection with antifungal drugs or medicated pre-moistened eye wipes.
The cause of red yeast is a condition known as epiphora, in which the tears from your pup's eyes constantly spill over onto the fur of his face. Some dogs are born with hereditary problems with their tear ducts, which impede proper drainage of the tears back down through his nose and throat. Others produce excess tears because of the irritation caused by bacterial eye infections or eyelashes growing into the eyes. These hairs scratch at the inside of the eye, leading to redness, inflammation and tearing. No matter what the issue, you'll have to visit your vet to determine the cause of this condition; otherwise you'll be dealing with tear stains and red yeast indefinitely.
Visiting the Vet
Have your vet examine your pup's eyes to determine what could be the cause of his teary eyes. She'll look for signs of serious eye issues like glaucoma, eye injuries, corneal ulcers or eye infections that may be the cause of your pup's epiphora. If the eyes appear free of such issues, then allergies or a problem with the tear ducts may be to blame. The vet will apply a stain to the eye to check the drainage of the ducts. If the ducts are blocked, surgery may be required to open or flush them, according to the VCA Animal Hospitals. After determining the primary problem behind the epiphora, your vet will also recommend a treatment for the red yeast around your pup's eyes to rid him of these unsightly stains. She may even trim the fur around the eyes to discourage eye irritation and yeast growth.
Preventing Tear Stains
A variety of factors may contribute to staining around your pup's eyes, including red yeast, bacteria and pigments contained in your dog's tears called porphyrins, according to petMD. After treating his epiphora and clearing up any yeast or bacteria with the help of your vet, you can prevent any staining from normal tearing by simply cleaning your pooch's eyes with a cotton ball dipped in warm water daily. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals recommends wiping from the inner corner of the eye to the outer one, without touching the inside of the eye itself with the damp cotton ball. Keep the area around the eyes as dry as possible to prevent new yeast growth and trim or pin back long hair that could fall into and irritate your pup's eyes.
- VetInfo: Causes of Dog Tear Stain Problems
- Dog Channel: Cleaning a Dog’s Beard Stains
- American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: Eye Care
- Leo's Pet Care Veterinary Clinic: A Veterinary Guide to Tear Stains
- Maltese Only: Frequently Asked Questions
- Cesar's Way: Tear Staining
- VCA Animal Hospitals: Eye Discharge or Epiphora in Dogs
- The Everything Small Dogs Book: Choose the Perfect Dog to Fit Your Living Space; Kathy Salzberg
- WebMD: Dogs and Tear Stains
- petMD: Angel Eyes Is for 'Little Angels' (Too Bad the Devil's in the Details)
Based in Las Vegas, Susan Paretts has been writing since 1998. She writes about many subjects including pets, finances, crafts, food, home improvement, shopping and going green. Her articles, short stories and reviews have appeared on City National Bank's website and on The Noseprint. Paretts holds a Master of Professional Writing from the University of Southern California.