Mini Pig Care: Tear Staining

Gray mini pig standing outside and chewing on a melon.
As a mini pig owner, it is important to be aware of potential health issues, such as “tear staining.” Mini pig tears contain a pigment called porphyrin, which may cause tears to turn dark in color when exposed to air over time. This tear staining, called chromodacryorrhea, is commonly seen in all ages from piglet to adult mini pigs.

What causes tear staining?

Stress is the major contributor of tear staining. Stress can result from:
  • Changing food too quickly
  • Being left alone for long periods of time
  • Social group dynamics
  • Allergens in the air
  • Underlying medical conditions.
Tear staining can also become more common with age, increasing the likelihood of staining in adult mini pigs.

What can I do?

First, consult your veterinarian to determine if the drainage you are seeing is tear staining and not something more serious. To clean off the tear staining, you can wash the area around your mini pig’s eyes by gently wiping with a warm cloth as needed. To manage potential stressors and reduce the risk of staining, you should evaluate your pig’s environment. For example:
  • Allow your pig to exhibit instinctual behaviors like wallowing and rooting.
  • Try offering food in puzzle feeders appropriate for mini pigs.
  • Begin socializing and training your pig at an early age. Early exposure to noises, people, or other animals will prepare your mini pig for a variety of encounters throughout its life.
  • Feed a balanced diet appropriate for the life stage, as found in our Mazuri® Mini Pig food.
  • Offer treats in moderation to keep your mini pig at a healthy body weight and to help maintain a nutritionally balanced diet.
You should also continue to visit your veterinarian to keep your mini pig up to date on vaccinations, deworming, and other routine health measures.

Should I be concerned?

While occasional tear staining is normal, and generally not a cause for concern, increased or prolonged staining can indicate more serious conditions, like an eye infection in your mini pig.  Always consult your veterinarian when new or prolonged conditions arise and when you are unsure about any aspect of your pig’s health.
 
Interested in learning more about mini pigs? Check out other Mazuri® mini pig content such as 5 Signs of a Happy, Healthy Mini Pig and the Mini Pigs of Mazuri® Facebook group.