What Are The Signs Of Epiphora
The most common clinical signs associated with epiphora are dampness or wetness beneath the eyes, reddish-brown staining of the fur beneath the eyes, odor, skin irritation, and skin infection. Many owners report that their cat’s face is constantly damp, and they may even see tears rolling off their pet’s face.
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.
Common Symptoms Of Cat Eye Discharge
Cat eye-watering may occur on its own. Or may happen at the same time as other symptoms. The discharge can vary in frequency and consistency, and may appear as:
- Excessive wetness around the tear area
- Red and swollen eyes that are extremely sore looking
- Thin and watery or thick and mucus-like substance around the eyes
- Eye edges having crusty formations pointing to dried discharge
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Wondering Why Your Cat Has Eye Discharge 3 Vets Explain What It Could Be
Fun fact: cat’s eyes can say a lot about their health. They are prone to a range of issues that can trouble their eyes. That’s why it’s so important for pet owners to monitor their cats’ eyes closely. “In general, eye issues can develop and progress very quickly,” said Jessica Hermann, DVM, a veterinarian at Fuzzy Pet Health.
That said, cat eye discharge can happen for several reasons. As a result, treatment varies greatly, as it depends on what eye condition is diagnosed. To help us better understand why your furbaby’s eyes are leaking, POPSUGAR spoke with three veterinarians who explain what you need to know.
What Can I Do For The Staining
There are many remedies that have been recommended for removing or eliminating the facial staining associated with excess tears. None of these has proven to be 100% effective. Some over-the-counter treatments may be harmful or injurious to the eyes.
Low doses of some antibiotics are no longer recommended due to the risk of developing bacterial antibiotic resistance rendering these valuable antibiotics worthless for human and veterinary use. Some over-the-counter products have been suggested but have not been proven to be effective in research trials.
Do not use any product without consulting with your veterinarian. Avoid using any product containing hydrogen peroxide near the eyes, since these products can cause severe damage if inadvertently splashed into the eyes.
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Treatment Of Eye Discharge
- In minor cases of infection and inflammation, the treatment may be as simple as an antibiotic ointment put into the eye or an oral antibiotic. In the more serious cases, surgical intervention may be needed.
- If your cat’s eye is swollen and painful, the following may be used: warm compresses applied over the eye, pain medications, and/or an eye medication that dilates the pupil.
- It is important to remember that you must follow the treatment course prescribed by the veterinarian. Problems in the eye can rapidly decline, causing pain for the cat and eye damage that cannot be repaired.
What Is Eye Discharge
While occasional eye discharge may not be a great concern, chronic or long-term recurring eye discharge should be addressed with your veterinarian. Many of the diseases and conditions that cause eye discharge can cause blindness or systemic infection and seeking early veterinary attention can help save the sight of your cat.
Eye discharge in cats is typically a symptom of an underlying condition and not a disease in itself. Eye discharge is usually an indication of an infection, injury, or other problem and can cause serious discomfort for your cat. From seeping discharge to scratching, pain, or irritation, eye discharge is an uncomfortable symptom for your pet.
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Caring For An Eye Infection At Home
When To Seek Veterinary Care
If the ocular discharge is cloudy, bloody or foul smelling, you should seek veterinary attention as soon as possible. Ocular problems can worsen within hours.
Also, seek veterinary care if your cat seems sensitive to light, if there is swelling of the conjunctiva or the eyeball itself, or the cornea appears abnormal.
***Some ocular diseases in cats can be transmissible to humans, so you should wash your hands after handling any cat with an ocular discharge and carefully avoid touching your face.***
Page updated on Thursday, July 28, 2022
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Correct Diagnosis Is Key
The long list of potential conditions that aggravate, inflame, and damage a cat’s eyes means that getting the correct diagnosis from a vet is crucial. And because the viruses and bacteria that cause cat eye infections can be highly contagious to other cats as well, figuring out what’s wrong is the first step to making it rightthe earlier, the better. Home remedies without a medical diagnosis might sound tempting, especially when considering cost, convenience, or the stress a trip to the vet can cause. But proper treatment is crucial for making sure your cat has the best chance at a full recovery.
“Certain diseases of the eye can cause loss of vision or irreparable damage to the eye, requiring surgical removal to alleviate painboth of which are significant welfare concerns for the cat,” Aher says. “Eye diseases may also reflect a systemic illness and can be an indication that more diagnostics are needed.”
Ward agrees: “If a cat is squinting, has red eyes or is pawing at the eyes, don’t put anything in the eye before the veterinarian determines the cause. Putting the wrong medication in an eye wound can slow down healing.”
An evaluation of your cat’s eyes to check for signs of illness, infection, or injury is the first step. Blood tests and tests of the cat’s eye discharge or infected skin cells may also be required to determine what’s wrong.
How Is Epiphora Diagnosed
The first step is to determine if there is an underlying cause for the excess tear production. Some of the causes of increased tear production in cats include conjunctivitis , allergies, eye injuries, abnormal eyelashes , corneal ulcers, eye infections, anatomical abnormalities such as rolled in eyelids or rolled out eyelids , and glaucoma.
“The first step is to determine if there is an underlying cause for the excess tear production.”
Once the more serious causes for epiphora have been eliminated, it is necessary to determine if proper and adequate tear drainage is occurring. A thorough ocular examination is performed, paying special attention to the nasolacrimal ducts and nearby tissues, and looking for signs of inflammation or other abnormalities. The facial anatomy of the cat may play a role in this condition. Some breeds have flat or squished-in faces that do not allow the tear film to drain properly. In these pets, the tear film fails to enter the duct and simply rolls off the face. In other cases, the hair around the eyes physically obstructs the entrance to the nasolacrimal ducts, or debris or a foreign body forms a plug within the duct and prevents drainage of tears.
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Are The Tissues Around Their Eyes Inflamed And Red
If you see this in one or both eyes, along with a watery discharge, thereâs a good chance they have conjunctivitis. You may know it by its nickname, pinkeye.
It’s the most common eye problem for cats. An infection, an allergy, or even dust can bring it on. Pinkeye is contagious, so most cats will have it at least once in their lives. They can get it at any age, but it most often affects young animals.
Feline herpes virus also causes pinkeye. Your cat can get shots to protect them from this, but they could have picked it up when they were a kitten. If they have the virus, they are infected for life. But the vaccine can reduce their symptoms.
Easing their stress can prevent flare-ups. If they have an outbreak of herpes-related pinkeye, your vet will prescribe antibiotics and an antiviral drug for you to use.
Pinkeye often clears up without treatment. If you see discharge and your cat seems to be in pain, take them to the vet. Theyâll make sure that a more serious problem isnât causing the symptoms.
When To Go To The Vet
We want to reiterate that while a relatively small amount of discharge from you cats eyes can be considered normal from time to time, no amount of excessive discharge should be considered normal, regardless of the color or consistency. However, there are certain cases for which a trip to the vet is imperative.
If you notice a yellow or green discharge, make an appointment straight away, as it is a telling sign of infection. Additionally, if there is enough discharge that needs to be wiped away one or two times daily, we highly recommend that you see your vet.
Finally, if the eyes are red and swollen, or if your cat is excessively rubbing the eyes, make an appointment with the vet. The vet would advise you regarding the best treatment for your pet. In some cases, you may need to administer a few eye drops on a regular schedule.
However, in other cases, the eye discharge may lead your vet to find another underlying condition that needs to be addressed.
Your cats eyes are incredibly fragile and important. Trust your gut. If you think there may be something wrong, we highly recommend seeking a professional, veterinary medical opinion.
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Symptoms Of Eye Discharge In Cats
Eye discharge in your cat can vary in consistency, frequency and irritation levels. In some cats, eye discharge may occur on its own. In others, it may show up in connection with one or more additional symptoms. Signs of eye discharge and conditions related to eye discharge in your cat may include:
- Substance accumulating around edges of eyes ranging from thin and watery to thick and mucus-like
- Crusty formations around edges of eyes indicating dried discharge
- Cat itching eyes or continuously rubbing face against humans or household objects
- Red, swollen, or irritated-looking eyes
- Excessive wetness to tear area on cats face
- Fur loss around the eyes
Other Eye Discharge Causes
Other potential causes worth mentioning include feline infectious peritonitis , allergies, a foreign object lodged in the eye, or third eyelid protrusions.
If you notice your cat has any issues with their eyes including discharge or discolouration, be sure to visit your vet and have them checked out. If specialized eye care through a veterinary eye specialist or allergy care through a veterinary dermatologist is needed, your vet will be able to assess further steps. Your cat will thank you with their demanding pet me look.
Creative Commons Attribution: Permission is granted to repost this article in its entirety with credit to VetDERM Clinic and a clickable link back to this page.
Dr. Andrea Lam, DVM, DACVD is a Board certified veterinary dermatologist. Dr. Lam loves learning and educating, and has trained several dermatology interns as well as dermatology residents. Her research interests include novel management strategies for the treatment of canine atopic dermatitis and applications for stem cell therapy.
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Checking A Cat’s Eyes For Infection
Our Question This Week Was:
I recently got on this website about my 7-year-old cat named Babe, he passed away a week later from liver disease. I miss him very much. On a brighter note my daughter surprised me with an 11-week-old Calico kitten! It has filled my sadness with joy! My question is: Sophie is having some tearing and drainage from her eyes also she is sneezing some, what is your advice on this? Thank You.
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Signs Of Eye Problems In Cats
Watery & Glassy Looking Eyes
Allergies are common in cats and can certainly lead your kitty’s eyes to become irritated and watery. Common allergies that could affect your cat’s eyes include pollen, mold and mildew dust, household cleaning products, perfumes, and some medications. Keeping your cat away from the allergen could help to clear up the issue. However, if you are unable to pinpoint what is causing your cat’s watery eyes a trip to the vet is in order. Your vet will be able to rule out more serious causes for your cat’s watery eyes and be able to recommend ways to help make your cat’s eyes feel more comfortable.
Blinking, Squinting & Pawing at Eyes
If your cat has watery eyes and is blinking excessively, squinting or pawing at their eyes it’s time for a trip to the vet. Your cat could have a foreign body trapped and irritating the eye, or a blocked nasolacrimal duct . Although nasolacrimal obstructions aren’t as common in cats as they are in dogs they can result in tears overflowing and running out of the eye.
Red & Inflamed Eyes
Yellow or Green Sticky Discharge
Pain & Swelling
Sneezing & Runny Nose
Cold symptoms such as watery eyes, sneezing and a runny nose mean that your cat is likely suffering from a cat cold or feline upper respiratory infection. Many cat colds will clear up within a week without the need for veterinary care, however, if your cat’s symptoms become worse or fail to improve within a couple of days make an appointment to see your vet.
Understand The Signs Of Cat Eye Infection
Veterinarians say the first signs of an eye infection owners notice are pretty straightforward, and aside from the cat’s third eyelid , these signs might sound a lot like humans’ when we get an eye infection:
- The white of your cat’s eye may show some redness.
- You may see eye discharge that’s clear, yellow, or green.
- You may see excessive blinking, or it may look like your cat is winking at you.
- Your cat’s third eyelidwhich actually closes sideways, instead of up and down like our eyelidsmay be covering up more of the eye than usual.
- And if their eye problem is tied to an upper respiratory infection, your cat may also be sneezing or experiencing some nasal discharge as well.
Some eye problems can go away on their own, but because many eye conditions are indicative of something more seriouslike diseases that can lead to blindness or worsediagnosis is crucial.
“Most cases are going to require intervention by a veterinarian,” says Ernie Ward, DVM, a writer, podcaster, pet nutrition advocate, and veterinarian who works with cats at animal rescue groups in North Carolina. “Eyes are emergencies. Eye can be intensely painful. I can’t overstress that.”
Here’s how to know what could be causing your cat’s eye trouble so you can get it treated quickly and effectively.
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