When To See A Doctor
Minor kitten eye infections due to herpes may clear up on their own, without treatment. However, if you’re not sure what may be wrong with your cat, it’s always a good idea to take them to the vet, especially when they have eye problems. When eye problems go untreated, they can potentially lead to vision problems or even blindness.
The veterinarian will give your cat an exam and prescribe the appropriate antibiotic or steroid treatment, depending on the diagnosis. Your doctor may also show you how to administer the medication so you can do it at home.
If your cat has the herpes virus, they will probably get another eye infection in the future. However, if it was only a bacterial infection, it should not reoccur. Your cat’s eye infection should start to get better after a few days of treatment. If it does not, let your vet know, but do not stop the treatment until your vet tells you to.
American Journal of Veterinary Research: “Effect of oral administration of L-lysine on conjunctivitis caused by feline herpesvirus in cats.”
American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: “Cat Grooming Tips.”
Mayo Clinic: “Pink eye .”
Mount Sinai: “Lysine.”
Conjunctivitis: Yes Cats Can Get Pink Eye Too
Conjunctivitis is a common reason for your cats eyes to be red and inflamed. Conjunctivitis, or Conjunctiva, is the inflammation of the thin mucous membrane on the outer surface of the eye. When it gets irritated by foreign bodies, infected, or injured, it can get red and uncomfortable. Some other causes can be Feline Herpesvirus or Calicivirus. Whether the Conjunctivitis is bacterial, viral, or fungi based, it can be cleared up quickly with a vet visit, diagnosis, and treatment.
- Eye discharge that is different or discolored
- Third eyelid covering part of the eye
Diagnosis & Treatment:
- Aculture or specimen to determine the origin of the infection
- Blood or urine samples to confirm infection
- Eye drops or topical ointments applied to the eyes to reduce inflammation and heal the eyes
- Oral antibiotics or anti-viral medications may be prescribedif an infection or fungus is present
Eye Infection Diagnosis In Puppies And Kittens
If the eyelids are still closed, but Dr. Pierce suspects the puppy or kitten has neonatal ophthalmia, he will gently open the eyelids to examine the eye. Opening the eyelids earlier than they open normally does not hurt the puppy or kitten, and should have no negative long-term effects. Once the eye is visible, Dr. Pierce will examine the eye with a handheld microscope, apply fluorescein dye to look for corneal ulcers, and perform any other needed tests. Sometimes Dr. Pierce will culture the eye discharge to determine the bacteria present, and the best antibiotics for treatment. He may want to evaluate the entire litter of puppies or kittens, so ensure you ask if you should bring them all when you make the appointment. Dr. Pierce may also recommend testing the mother for the virus or bacteria that may have caused the puppies or kittens eye infections.
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Treatment Of Conjunctivitis And Keratitis:
In addition to specific antiviral therapy, alleviating stress is very important in cats affected with FHV-1. If possible, eliminate the stressors that are affecting your cat. Stress is triggered by any change in the daily routine. Your home is your cat’s universe. Some common stressors are remodeling the home, boarding the cat, holidays, adding a new pet to the household, and the owner being gone for awhile. Please complete this Stress Audit for your cat, to help you determine your cat’s stressors so that you can address them and help your cat.
Causes Of Cloudy Eye In Cats
There are several causes of cloudy eye in cats. Primary causes include disease, which may also involve secondary, noninfectious causes such as trauma and exposure to chemicals. Each cause is described in-depth below.
Corneal ulcers can occur for a number of reasons, such as blunt trauma to the eye, exposure to chemicals, or infection. Ulcers in the cornea form when the epithelium, a thin layer of protective cells, is fully penetrated. Inflammatory cells enter the stroma, underneath the epithelium, which is responsible for the cloudy appearance of the eyes.
This condition is characterized by corneal inflammation and swelling. Keratitis may be attributed to a number of secondary causes, such as infection and injury. Keratitis is often caused by the feline herpesvirus.
Cats typically develop cataracts due to inflammation, systemic disease, or trauma to the lens rather than old age. Old age causes a thickening of the lens called nuclear sclerosis, but cataracts are a different problem. Cataracts are characterized by cloudy eye and partial to full vision loss.
This irreversible disease occurs when the aqueous fluid within the eye stops draining properly. This buildup of fluid causes pressure on the optic nerve, causing nerve damage. This nerve damage will seriously impair your cats vision. Unfortunately, by the time signs manifest, partial vision loss has already occurred.
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Recovery Of Eye Infection In Newborn In Cats
Use warm, wet towels to keep the eyelids from sticking together. Apply antibiotic ointment regularly as prescribed by your veterinarian, for the length of time he instructs you.
Eye infections can be highly contagious. Keep the area where the mother and litter sleep clean and ask your veterinarian if the kitten should be kept away from the mother, or the rest of the litter. The infection will typically resolve within one to two weeks with proper care.
Watch for signs of a more serious illness developing in the kitten. Signs of a more serious infection can include diarrhea, lethargy, vomiting, and lack of appetite. If you see any of these signs, see your veterinarian immediately.
Eye infections in newborn cats can be expensive to treat. To avoid high vet care expenses, secure pet health insurance today. The sooner you insure your pet, the more protection youll have from unexpected vet costs.
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Eye Infection in Newborn Average Cost
From 341 quotes ranging from $200 – $300
Neonatal Ophthalmia And Other Eye Infections In Puppies And Kittens
What better way to start the new year than with new life, Mrs. Jones asked herself, as she lovingly gazed at her beloved basset hound tending to her litter of week-old roly-poly puppies. Then, this idyllic moment suddenly came to a grinding halt as Mrs. Jones realized that several of the puppies still-closed eyelids were swollen, with crusty debris near the corners. She immediately made an appointment with Veterinary Vision Center, where the puppies were diagnosed with neonatal ophthalmia, an eye infection that occurs beneath the closed eyelids. Thankfully, all the puppies recovered well with no lasting vision issues and headed off to new adventures with their families, but not all pets with neonatal ophthalmia or other eye infections are so lucky.
Eye Trouble After Eyes Open
Signs that your kitten has an eye problem once her eyes are open can vary. Following are nine types that can be common or rare.
1. You may notice a discharge, which can range from clear to pus-like. Your kitten may be squinting or holding her eye closed. The third eyelid, or nictitating membrane, may come up and cover the eyeball itself. Cats have quite large and mobile third eyelids. These are located inside what we think of as the normal eyelids and appear whitish. Normally the third eyelid is tucked into the corner of the eye toward the nose. It can spread out across the cornea very much like a windshield wiper.
2. Many infectious agents can cause conjunctivitis in kittens. This is inflammation of the conjunctiva the soft, pink-colored tissues that go from the eyelid to the eyeball. This area may get quite swollen. Your kitten may have a discharge and may squint. Medications usually clear this up quickly.
3. Along with infections, kittens are prone to trauma of the eye. Play fighting can lead to a corneal scratch from a claw. Blowing dust can also irritate the cornea. Corneal injuries are quite painful. Your kitten may hide, avoid bright light and will squint or close her eye. The third eyelid may be pulled across the eye. Eye problems can go from minor to serious very quickly. Always contact your veterinarian if you suspect an eye problem.
Featured Image: Gina Cioli/I-5 Studio
Eye Infection Treatment In Puppies And Kittens
Since these are viral or bacterial infections, Dr. Pierce will prescribe an antibiotic or antiviral medication as the main treatment, and may recommend warm compresses to help soothe the eyes and remove any eye debris. Monitor the infected puppies or kittens closely, and promptly call Veterinary Vision Center if their condition worsens, or you suspect littermates are developing eye infections.
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Preventing Conjunctivitis And Eye Infections In Cats
Even if a pet parent does everything right, many kitties will still have at least one episode of conjunctivitis in their lifetime, since its a very common and highly contagious condition. However, there are several things you can do to minimize the risk:
- Routine vaccinations, as recommended by your vet, help protect against common infectious causes of conjunctivitis.
- Maintaining good overall health, including feeding a complete and balanced food, helps keep your cats immune system strong.
- If your cat will be around other cats or experiencing a stressful situation , ask your vet about supplements or other recommendations for these times, especially if your kitty has a history of conjunctivitis.
- Choose boarding or grooming facilities that require all cats to be up to date on vaccinations. While this cant completely eliminate the possibility of infections, it does greatly reduce the risk.
- Try to eliminate environmental irritants such as dust, smoke, and chemicals in the home.
No one enjoys dealing with conjunctivitis or watching their pet be uncomfortable. Fortunately, prompt treatment can help many kitties recover quickly from conjunctivitis. Contact your vet if you notice any symptoms, so your furry friend can feel better and get back to all their favorite activities!
Blepharitis: Theres A Reason For Those Puffy Eyes
Blepharitis is an inflammation and infection of the eyelids. It can also involve the muscles, connective tissues, and glands of the eye. Its more common in flat-faced cats like Persians and Himalayans, but other breeds of cat can get it, too. It can be caused by allergic reactions tumors, trauma to the eyelid, and other conditions like diabetes. Your cats own hair can also cause Blepharitis if it irritates their eyes!
- Rubbing or scratching at the eyes
- Dry or crusty areas around the eyes and discharge
- Hair may come out leaving leathery or bare areas around the eyes
Diagnosis & Treatment:
- Examination of the eyelids and surrounding areas to determine the presence and extent of inflammation, plus the cause of the infection
- Blood or urine tests and possibly cultures or biopsies to detect if an infection is present
- Clean aroundtheeyes while theyre healing with cotton balls wet with warm water
- Apply warm compresses to the area to help soothe the eyes
- Get an Elizabethan collar to protect the eyes during the healing process
- Topical ointments and eye drops may be prescribed to treat inflammation or infection
- Oral antibiotics if needed, but the underlying cause should be addressed for a longer-term solution
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Eye Discharge In Senior Cats Signs And Symptoms
Here are some of the most common causes of weeping eyes in cats:
- Conjunctivitis Conjunctivitis refers to the inflammation of the eyes conjunctiva. This is the pink membrane that surrounds the whites of the eyes and lines the inside of the cats eyelids. Conjunctivitis causes discharge, squinting, and redness.
- Epiphora This occurs when there are too many tears in the cats eyes. This results in wet and drippy eyes. It can also lead to staining of the fur underneath the eyes.
- Keratitis This is an inflammation of the cornea . The cornea may look rough, ulcerated, or damaged. This is likely to cause weeping and eye discharge.
Conjunctivitis, epiphora, and keratitis are not the cause of eye discharge. Rather, they are a collection of different symptoms.
How Is Conjunctivitis Treated
The general approach to non-specific conjunctivitis is to use ophthalmic preparations containing a combination of broad- spectrum antibiotics to control the secondary bacterial infection and anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce the inflammation. These preparations come as either drops or ointment for instilling into the eyes. Local treatment may need to be supplemented with injections and pills.
If a specific diagnosis has been reached, one of the following treatment regimens may be used:
1. Herpesvirus conjunctivitis
- Although these infections are usually mild and self-limiting, infected cats remain carriers of the virus and may have intermittent relapses.
- No treatment may be required for mild cases.
- Antiviral medications are used in severe or poorly responsive cases.
- L-lysine may be used to promote healing and may be used for the entire life as an immune-stimulant for cats that have recurrent problems.
- Antibiotics are often used if a secondary bacterial infection is present.
- Interferon-alpha may be used as an immune stimulant.
2. Chlamydophila or Mycoplasma conjunctivitis
- Tetracycline ophthalmic ointment.
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Treatment For Eye Infections In Kittens
Your vet will gently moisten the kitten’s eyes with warm water and coax the top and bottom eyelids apart. Once your kitten’s eyes are open the vet will delicately wash the eye and eyelids to remove all signs of discharge, pus, or crust. When the eyes are clean your vet may apply a warm compress to help prevent the lids from sticking together again, then apply an antibiotic ointment to begin healing the infection.
Your vet will provide you with detailed instructions for your kitty’s home care. Typically your vet will instruct you to gently wash your kitten’s eyes a couple of times a day to ensure that discharge doesn’t build up, applying a warm compress, and then applying eye ointment or drops as prescribed.
Follow your vet’s instructions carefully. It is essential to finish the entire round of antibiotics as instructed, , and be diligent about keeping the bedding extra clean wherever the mother and kittens eat and rest.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet’s condition, please make an appointment with your vet.
Symptoms Of Eye Infection In Newborn In Cats
Luckily there are a few easily seen signs that will let you know that your newborn kitten is suffering from an eye infection, so you can do everything necessary to make your kitten healthy again.
- The kittens eyelids are stuck to the eye itself
- A pus-like discharge is seeping from the eye
- Dry hard discharge that can stick both eyelids together
- Both eyelids bulge outward
Eye infections in newborn cats are commonly caused by bacteria or a virus present in their environment or passed between cats, such as:
- Feline herpesvirus
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Blindness From Untreated Eye Infections
Eye infections are a treatable condition in cats however, severe eye infections and eye infections which are left untreated can cause permanent blindness in cats. As well as the risk of blindness, eye infections cause extreme discomfort and pain. It is therefore extremely important that cats with eye infections are given veterinary attention.
Conjunctivitis is the most commonly diagnosed eye infection in cats. This is where the infection leads to inflammation of the conjunctiva the pink membrane that lines the inner surface of the eyelids and the outer surface of the eyeball . Left untreated, conjunctivitis can lead to eye damage, vision loss and blindness.
Eye infections can be caused by injuries to the eye, or foreign objects in the eye . Newborn kittens may develop eye infections due to vaginal infections of the mother at the time of birth, as well as being born into an unsanitary environment.
Symptoms Of Cataracts In Cats
The first thing that is evident is partial cloudiness of the eye which appears as a whitish gray spot. It can be diagnosed via a simple eye examination. In cases when only one eye is cloudy, the cat may not show an signs of alteration in vision. Other symptoms include:
- Clumsiness when wandering
- Stumbling over objects
- Abnormally moist eyes
Unlike the previous case, we will not observe complete cloudiness of the cat’s eye. The cloudy part of the eye can vary in size, however.
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Treatment For Cat Conjunctivitis
The prognosis varies depending on what caused the condition, how severe it is, and a cats overall health status. Fortunately, most kitties respond well to prompt treatment, with symptoms resolving in 1-2 weeks. However, some cats develop complications , and some struggle with chronic or recurrent conjunctivitis.
Maybe youre wondering if cat conjunctivitis will go away by itself. Sometimes that can happen with mild symptoms, but its best to consult a vet to be safe.
A veterinary visit is recommended to prevent eye discomfort and rule out serious conditions like an eye ulcer. Also, if you have other cats in the home, prompt treatment is crucial to preventing spread of the disease.
Heres what to expect and some of the most common cat conjunctivitis treatments:
Note: Never give human medications to a cat without first checking with your vet. Some human medications are toxic to cats, and giving the wrong eye drops can make the condition worse.
Are Your Cats Eyes Healthy
As you can see, there are many reasons a cat can develop an eye infection. Some are not as serious as others, but all can be treated to keep your kitty comfortable. Bacteria, viruses, fungus, and allergies can all threaten your cats amazing vision talents. So if you look at your beloved kitty and notice their eyes are not as clear and beautiful as they usually are, maybe its time to see your vet. With the right treatment and insurance to help cover it, your cat will be back to their old tricks and talents in no time.
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