Tear stains and eye drainage in a Persian cat

Our question this week was:

Dr. Debra how are you?

I enjoy your website so much. I have 3 Persians and a Shih Tzu. My 2 doll faces Persians have really bad eye drainage. It stains the fur under their eyes. It is really bad. What can I do to prevent it?

Thank you,

Pamela White


Hi – thanks for your email. It is not uncommon for Persian cats to have an increased amount of eye drainage, commonly referred to as Epiphora. We have a good article about this on PetPlace.com – go to the link for more information. This article was written by a veterinary ophthalmologist and has some great information.

Dr. McNabb wrote in the article “Inefficient drainage of tears from partial closure of the drainage openings, increased kinking of the drainage duct in the nose, or wicking of tears onto hairs present in the crease where the eyelids meet. This condition is most common in the flat faced, long-haired breeds of cats, particularly the Persian and Himalayan breeds.”

As far what you can do about – there really isn’t much to be honest. Because these flat faced breeds commonly have problems, there is often no easy correction. You can take your cat to your vet to see if there is any other reason to have excessive draining and look for something that can be “fixed”. Outside of that, most cat owners try to clean around the eye every day – you can use a soft cloth with water. Some pet owners have used tetracycline (a common antibiotic) because it has shown to reduce the tear staining. It doesn’t change the amount of tears or the underlying cause but can minimize the “staining”.

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra

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