Conjunctivitis In Cats Faqs
Will conjunctivitis in cats go away by itself?
No. True conjunctivitis has an underlying cause that must be treated.
Can conjunctivitis in cats cause blindness?
Yes. If left untreated, conjunctivitis in cats can progress and lead to necrosis of the cornea and blindness.
Is conjunctivitis painful for cats?
Absolutely! This condition is quite painful, which is why you may notice your cat squinting.
How can I treat my cats conjunctivitis at home?
You cannotand should notattempt to treat this condition with anything other than what your veterinarian has prescribed.
How long does it take for conjunctivitis to clear up in cats?
Many simple cases of conjunctivitis resolve in seven to 14 days with veterinary-prescribed treatment, but chronic cases require prolonged treatment . Cat pink eye will not clear up on its own.
Is conjunctivitis in cats contagious?
The most common causes of conjunctivitis in cats are highly contagious to other cats. However, viruses such as FHV-1 and calicivirus are not contagious to humans and other animals.
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What Kind Of Eye Conditions Are There
Eye conditions are a result of bacteria, fungi, or viruses that penetrate the eyeball or eyelids. Eye issues are broken down into two categories issues in the clear front of the eye and issues in the thin layer lining the eye and eyelids . An eye condition in a cat can signify several different things.
Typically, eye conditions and eye discharge are caused by feline upper respiratory problems. Pink eye, is also a common culprit. Conditions can be caused by bacteria or viruses and may indicate a secondary ailment connected to something much larger.
Signs Your Cat May Have Conjunctivitis
Conjunctivitis can affect one or both eyes. An infection is often to blame if symptoms are in both eyes at the same time or start in one eye and then spread to the other.
One of the most common signs of cat conjunctivitis is eye discharge. It can range from clear and watery to yellow-green to thick and brown, Nanning says. Other symptoms include:
- Eye redness
- Swelling of eyelids and the inner corner of the eyes
- Pawing at or rubbing eyes against furniture
- Sniffles and a runny nose
Any cat can develop conjunctivitis, but kittens are more susceptible. Eye infections frequently cause conjunctivitis in kittens, who havent yet developed an immunity to the germs that cause them. Not to mention, kittens are super curious and more accident-prone. They have a higher risk of eye injury.
Older cats are vulnerable to infection if they have diseases that weaken their immune system such as feline immunodeficiency virus or feline leukemia virus . Cats in group settings like boarding or breeding facilities are also more likely to catch an infection from other sick cats.
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What Causes Eye Infections In Cats
Cat eye infections can be divided into two basic categories: infectious conditions and non-infectious conditions.
Some of the most common infectious conditions that can cause eye infections include: bacterial infections, viral infections, feline herpesvirus, feline calicivirus and FVR .
There are also a number of non-infectious conditions that can lead to eye infections in cats such as allergies, hereditary conditions, tumors, eye trauma, foreign body stuck in eye, and autoimmune disease.
What are the symptoms of cat eye infections?
If your cat is suffering from an eye infection you may notice one or more of the following symptoms:
- Whites of your cat’s eye may turn red
- Discharge from the eye
- Winking or squinting
- The third eyelid may be protruding and covering part of the irritated eye
- Rubbing or pawing at one or both eyes
It’s important to note that your cat’s symptoms may affect one or both eyes. Often a cat will only show symptoms in one eye but the infection then spreads to the healthy eye.
Cat colds, or upper respiratory infections frequently cause eye irritation in cats. Symptoms of URIs in cats include typical human cold symptoms such as sneezing or nasal discharge.
If your cat is displaying any of the above symptoms it’s time for a trip to the veterinarian. It is essential to treat eye infections early in order to prevent the infection from spreading to the other eye, becoming more severe, or being spread to other pets in your household or neighborhood.
What Dr Jean Revealed About Treating Feline Conjunctivitis
In a recent radio show interview, Dr. Jean Hofve shared this tip that made a lot of sense to me based on something I had learned as a nutritionist.
Dr. Jean said that very often conjunctivitis in cats is caused by a herpesvirus.
When the cause is herpesvirus, its going to be aggravated by stress andmore importantlyits going to be suppressed by the amino acid Lysine.
Lysine is an old nutritionist trick I learned for herpes in humans. As this article explains:
Without arginine, a herpesvirus cannot reproduce. The amino acid lysine is taken up by the virus in favor of arginine. We can take advantage of this situation by saturating the virus with lysine and thus suppressing the viruss ability to replicate.
Yes, Lysine is a cheap, simple, safe supplement you can pick up in places like Whole Foods Market. Its just an amino acid, which means its a building block of protein.
Dr. Jean explained the dose is 1000mg/day during flare-up, and 250mg day as maintenance afterward, mixed into wet food.
From what Ive read, Id give the maintenance 250mg for about a month, and then not need to dose the lysine again unless symptoms show up again.
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Signs Your Cat May Have An Eye Infection
Your cat’s gorgeous eyes are suddenly showing some signs of irritation. They’re looking a little goopyclear, yellow, or green discharge might be pooling in the corners of the eyes and on the eyelids. Perhaps she’s squinting or blinking, or those cute little paws are rubbing one or both eyes more than usual.
You might be wondering if it’s an eye infection. Even worseis it contagious? Before turning to an untested home remedy or raiding your medicine cabinet for a treatment that’s meant for humans, consider the different conditions that can cause eye trouble in cats. You need a solid diagnosis from a professional before tackling your cat’s eye trouble, and here’s why.
Before You Do Anything
Be sure to have a vet check this condition first, as this tip could help in many adult cat cases, but not all of them. If you have a kitten, and/or the underlying cause is FIV or a bacterial infection , or a corneal ulcer, youre going to need some veterinary assistance FAST. This is especially the case with kittens! They could even go blind from an infection.
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Diagnosing Conjunctivitis In Cats
A veterinarian will perform a full physical examination to determine whether or not a cat has conjunctivitis. Often times conjunctivitis will also occur with other problems including respiratory diseases and other eye issues.
An ophthalmoscope may be used to get a better look at a cat’s eye and various tests may also need to be run to ensure there aren’t other eye problems associated with the conjunctivitis. Special eye stains and tearing tests are commonly used.
What Are The Causes Of Conjunctivitis In Cats
As mentioned earlier, cat conjunctivitis can either be infectious or non-infectious. Hence, identifying the cause can greatly help to classify your cats condition whether it can infect other felines in your household or not.
Conjunctivitis is primarily caused by harmful bacteria viruses or fungi . Sometimes the trauma to the eyes can be caused such as when a cat scratch comes from another animal provoking the infection.
There can be also other causes like allergies or irritations due to environmental causes but these are less common.
Infectious conjunctivitis is most threatening among kittens. Infectious agents that trigger pink eyes include feline herpesvirus, calicivirus, Streptococci, Chlamydophila felis, and Mycoplasm. A variety of viruses and bacteria cause damage to the optic nerve including your cat’s eyes.
If you have a Persian or Himalayan, or a similar longhaired cat breed, they may be born with entropion a common eye condition.
Recurrent non-infectious conjunctivitis in certain kittens is a sign of chronically compromised immunology. You may want to send your pet for testing of the feline immune system including HIV infection or feline leukemia.
Again, below are the three common causes of conjunctivitis in cats:
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Causes Of Eye Problems In Cats
There are a variety of reasons that could be causing your cats eye problems, and red, swollen eyes dont necessarily indicate infections. Typically, the causes of eye problems in cats are broken up into two categories: an infectious disease or a non-infectious underlying condition. Well get into more detail about the various causes below:
Can I Give My Cat Pink Eye Drops That Are Made For Humans
Pink eye often clears up after specifically formulated feline eye drops are administered. A commonly asked question is: Can I give my cat eye drops that were made for humans? While some eye drops can be used on both humans and cats, it is possible to deliver the wrong dose or use drops with preservatives that damage a cats eyes.
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Is Conjunctivitis Contagious To Humans
Neither the infectious or non-infectious type of conjunctivitis is contagious to humans. However, people can spread infectious conjunctivitis to other cats just by touching them. If a person has pet a cat that has herpesvirus type-1 or obvious conjunctivitis they should always wash their hands before handling any other cat even if they aren’t sure if the cat they touched had an infectious type of conjunctivitis. It is better to be safe than sorry and limit a cat’s exposure to viruses and bacteria whenever possible.
How Do You Know If Your Cat Has Pink Eye
If your cat has pink eye, their eyelid may look red, inflamed, puffy, or swollen. You might also notice squinting, tearing, goopy eye discharge, or other symptoms.
These symptoms may also occur with other eye problems such as eye ulcers or injuries. So if you notice eye symptoms, a veterinary visit is needed.
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About Dr Tammy Powell Dvm
Dr. Tammy Powell is a small animal veterinarian who earned her degree from the University of Georgia in 2010. After that, she spent several years practicing in Florida, followed by two years overseas in the United Arab Emirates. Passionate about both animals and writing, Dr. Tammy then transitioned from clinical practice to freelance writing on pet and veterinary topics. She also writes about animals in a fictional format and is working on a childrens book about cats with superpowers. Dr. Tammy lives in the West Valley of Phoenix, Arizona with her husband, two stepchildren, and a beautiful rescued Himalayan cat named Luna. You can learn more about Tammy at PetCopywriter.com or TamaraSpellAuthor.com.
What Is Cat Conjunctivitis
Cats conjunctivitis, commonly known as pink eye, is the inflammation of the conjunctiva, the transparent mucus membrane that covers the eyeball and lines the eyelids. The conjunctiva protects the eyes by lubricating the sclera with tears and mucus.
In healthy cats, the conjunctiva of the eyelids is pale pink and is not readily visible. However, if its inflamed, it appears red and swollen. Also, conjunctivitis can affect one or both eyes at the same time .
Additionally, a cats conjunctivitis can either be infectious or non infectious .
Conjunctivitis is also most common in kittens, though cats can experience pink eye at any time in their lives. This ophthalmic infection can be uncomfortable for your cat, which is why cats with conjunctivitis often blink or squint, or paw at the affected eye/s.
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Preventing Pink Eye In Cats
If your feline contracts the non-infectious type of conjunctivitis, you need to think about what items they mightve come in contact with that may have caused the allergic reaction. It could be pollen from the trees, or a new perfume, or a certain ingredient in the new shampoo. Using the process of elimination, try and find out until you go to see the vet.
If youre a multi-cat household, keep your healthy cats far from the infected one. Isolation might be hard on the litter, but its necessary to keep the others safe and healthy. This way, you can make sure your cat wont be patient zero for spreading pink eye to all the cats they meet.
But if the pink eye keeps recurring, there might be a serious problem behind this. Have the vet look into it and prescribe more assertive treatment.
Treatment For Cat Eye Infections
Cat eye infections treatment will depend on the cause of the problem. Antibiotics, usually eye ointments or drops, are used for treating eye infections that are caused by bacteria. While viral infections are generally self-limiting, veterinarians may recommend applying topical antibiotics to prevent secondary bacterial infections which are a common occurrence. Antiviral medications may be necessary in severe cases of eye infections. Applying eye ointments properly is crucial for your pets recovery. Always remember to read the label of the medication and that you understand the instructions for dosage and administration.
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How Is Feline Conjunctivitis Diagnosed
As always, its best to seek veterinary guidance to get a conclusive diagnosis and determine other conditions that come along with your kittys conjunctivitis. Your vet will perform a full physical examination to arrive at a definitive diagnosis, and rule out other possible causes of your cats symptoms.
Most of the time, respiratory issues and other cat eye infections also come with conjunctivitis. Your vet may also use an ophthalmoscope to get a better view of your cats eyes, and various tests may also be done to ensure there are no other health issues associated with conjunctivitis.
If your cat is feeling agitated, the vet can administer eye drops for immediate treatment. Special eye stains or dyes, as well as tearing tests are commonly used. Your cat’s medical history will also help in diagnosing the symptoms as some cases of cat conjunctivitis may be persistent on an ongoing basis.
Antibiotic & Other Treatments For Eye Infections In Cats
Eye infections in cats can be caused by a host of issues from bacterial or viral infections to injuries or other more serious underlying conditions. The cause of your cats eye infection will dictate the treatment recommended by your veterinarian. Here our Charlotte vets share some of the most common treatments for eye infections in cats.
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How Long Does Feline Conjunctivitis Last
Conjunctivitis is often short lived when appropriate treatment is prescribed by your vet. You should notice an improvement in your cat’s symptoms within a few days of starting the treatment. Sometimes only a short course of medication is needed, in other cases treatment might be needed for a couple of weeks.
Cat Eye Infection Home Remedies
Here are some home remedies to choose from, you may have to try more than one to gauge its effectiveness. Some are stronger than others, so for severe infections, such as pink eye, youll have to use a stronger home remedy.
- Step 1: Before you administer any type of eye drops, clean eye as best you can. Mix up a saline solution, by combining ½ cup warm water and ½ tsp salt. Stir vigorously and apply the solution to your cats eye using a cotton ball and gently wiping the area.
- Step 2: Choose a home remedy and apply accordingly. Here are some of the most effective yet gentle remedies.
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What Is The Treatment
If your cat has conjunctivitis but the specific cause is unknown, your veterinarian will prescribe a general treatment that contains antibiotics to control any secondary infection and/or anti-inflammatory medication to reduce pain and swelling. These will come in either drops or ointment that needs to be applied to the eye. If you have not ever applied eye medication, please ask your veterinarian to demonstrate how to apply your cat’s eye medication.
Treating A Cats Eye Infection
The right cat eye infection treatment ultimately depends on the root cause of the infection. There are various ways you can go about treating a cats eye infection, such as:
- Cleaning your cats eyes
- The best cat eye infection home remedy is to just clean your cats eyes yourself to get rid of eye discharge. Eye discharge can accumulate in your cats eyes and be quite uncomfortable for them, so its important to do this regularly if your cat is experiencing any eye discharge. You can do this with a cotton ball to wipe away the discharge. Gently wipe starting from the outside of the eye and make sure to use a fresh cotton ball on each eye. Never touch the eyeball itself. If the discharge is not easily cleared away, then do not wipe harder and seek care from a veterinarian.
- Topical treatments, including ointments or drops, should be applied directly onto a cats eyes. You may need a second person to help to properly apply the medication to your cats eyes.
- Oral antibiotics, which are usually only prescribed if an infection is present.
- Treating root cause
- If your cats eye infection is a result of an underlying condition, your vet may prescribe oral antibiotics, which may also clear the eye infection.
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