Comparison of tear pH in dogs, horses, and cattle

Billie Beckwith-Cohen, Daniel Elad, Tali Bdolah-Abram, Ron Ofri*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Objective-To determine baseline tear pH in dogs, horses, and cattle by use of a microelectrode. Animals-28 dogs, 24 horses, and 29 cattle. Procedures-Under manual restraint, tears were collected from each subject's left eye with cotton spears. A Schirmer tear test was performed in the right eye. Tears were extracted from the spears by centrifugation. Tear volume was measured, pH was determined with a microelectrode, and total solids (TS) concentration was measured by refractometry. Results-Mean ± SD pH of tears in cattle, dogs, and horses was 8.32 ± 0.14, 8.05 ± 0.26, and 7.84 ± 0.30, respectively. Tear pH was significantly higher in cattle versus dogs and horses and in dogs versus horses. Mean ± SD TS concentration in horses, cattle, and dogs was 2.04 ± 1.29 g/dL, 1.07 ± 0.60 g/dL, and 0.33 ± 0.18 g/dL, respectively. Total solids concentration was significantly higher in horses versus cattle and dogs and in cattle versus dogs. Schirmer tear test results for all animals were within the species reference range. Conclusions and Clinical Relevance-Tear pH in all 3 species differed from that of published blood pH values and the pH of common topically administered ophthalmic medications. These fndings may have implications for variations in ocular flora and defense mechanisms, susceptibility to ocular disease, and success or comfort of topical treatment.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)494-499
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Veterinary Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2014


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