Tears that tarnish


January 12, 2015 – Just like your car; pets come equipped with a self cleaning device to ensure clear vision.  Think of tears as windshield washer, the eyelids as wipers and the fluid in the corners as overflow.  The tears are made up of water, oil and mucus; and ideally, there shouldn’t be any surplus on the skin; but like any system that channels flow; there’s nothing like a fluid to ferret out its flaws.  While automobiles have gutters to guide away water; pets have tiny tubes that the tears must traverse.  All goes well until the mucus is muddled, the oil opts out and the ducts don’t drain.

It’s enough to make one cry.  Although, pets don’t actually shed tears… they seep tears.  It may look like they’re crying, but tears of tribulation are a distinguishing characteristic of a complex brain housed only by humans.   What we do have in common is skin that suffers, hair that hinders, bacteria that binds and fluid that overflows… all leading to unsightly tear staining.

Epiphera is the technical name for out of control tears, but “Poodle eyes” is the term most people prefer.  It brings to mind a brownish blemish in the corner of eye where it’s normally not.  If tarnish comes from tears, what accounts for unduly discolored lips, paws and poopers?   Some suggest saliva, others point to porphyrins, but the true basis for browning is… bacteria (or yeast).

Bottom line:  You can wipe them away, clip them clean, or bleach em’ blond, but bathing off bacteria is a better bet for stopping stains before they start.