Sunday, December 18, 2011

Tear Stains in Dogs

It is common to see Shih Tzu dogs, as well as Pugs and Miniature Poodles, with tear-stained faces.  This condition relates to inherited anomalies of facial structure.  The consequence is impaired drainage of tears through the tear ducts.  Instead, tears spill down the face.  Iron in tears stains the hair and the constant wetness results in infections, dermatitis and pain.
            Facial staining can be helped by restructuring the face about the eyes through two-step surgery.  Initially, a small wedge of skin is removed at the medial canthus.  As the edges are sutured together openings of the upper and lower tear ducts are repositioned closer to each other forming a tiny lake where tears collect.  The second surgery is correction of the entropion of the lower eyelid which typically has closed the opening of the ventral tear duct.  By turning the eyelid outward the duct opens and tears flow away from the eye in the tear ducts and staining of facial hair is reduced as is infection and dermatitis.