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What is Eye Infection in Newborn?

Eye infection in newborn cats is also called ophthalmia neonatorum. An eye infection in a newborn cat is an infection of the thin layer that lines the eye called the conjunctiva, or even of the cornea, which is the thin membrane that makes up the surface of the eye.

Red, irritated eyes shedding cloudy, yellow or green discharge could be signs of an eye infection in newborn kittens. You may see the upper and lower eyelids become stuck together and even swell outward. Both of the cat's eyes may be infected.

Eye Infection in Newborn Average Cost

From 341 quotes ranging from $200 - $300

Average Cost

$250

Symptoms of Eye Infection in Newborn in Cats

Luckily there are a few easily seen symptoms that will let you know that your newborn cat is suffering from an eye infection, so you can do everything necessary to make your kitten healthy again.

  • The kitten’s 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

Types

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 (FHV)
  • Staphylococcus

    bacteria

  • Streptococcus 

    bacteria

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Causes of Eye Infection in Newborn in Cats

Eye infections in newborn cats are commonly seen in cats rescued from, or kept in, dirty environments, though it is not unheard of in cats that are properly housed and cared for. Two common causes of eye infections in newborn cats include:

  • An unclean resting area
  • A vaginal infection in the mother cat
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Diagnosis of Eye Infection in Newborn in Cats

If visual observation of the newborn cat shows the usual signs of an eye infection, redness, swelling, discharge, and an inability to open the eye fully, you should arrange to have the animal seen by a veterinarian right away. There is a chance that the cat will suffer permanent eye damage if the infection is not treated properly.

The veterinarian will start with a complete physical exam of the newborn cat, and you will be asked to provide a full medical history of the pregnancy and birth. You will also be asked to provide a medical history of the mother of the newborn cat. The veterinarian may want to test a sample of the mother’s vaginal discharge to determine if the eye infection was passed from the mother to the kitten during birth. 

In order to rule out other causes for the eye infection, the veterinarian could order a blood test that includes a complete blood count and a chemical blood profile. The veterinarian might also take a urine sample for analysis. Your veterinarian, to rule out actual damage to the eye, may stain the newborn cat’s eye with a chemical dye called fluorescein. This chemical will make any scratches or foreign substances easily visible upon examination with a blue light.

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Treatment of Eye Infection in Newborn in Cats

Your veterinarian will usually begin treatment by carefully separating the newborn cat’s eyelids. Once the eye is opened the veterinarian will wash out pus and mucus. The veterinarian may take a sample of this material for further testing. 

A topical antibiotic ointment will be prescribed by the veterinarian, to be put directly in the infected eye for one to two weeks.

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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 newborn cat should be kept away from the mother, or the rest of the litter. The infection ordinarily will go away within one to two weeks with proper care.

Keep an eye out for signs of a more serious illness developing in the newborn cat. Signs of a more serious infection can include; diarrhea, lethargy, vomiting, and lack of appetite. If you see any of these symptoms, see your veterinarian immediately.

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Eye Infection in Newborn Average Cost

From 341 quotes ranging from $200 - $300

Average Cost

$250

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Eye Infection in Newborn Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Siamese

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7days

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Unknown severity

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1 found helpful

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Unknown severity

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Swollen Eye

5 newborn kittens of mine have swollen eyes

Sept. 28, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. Kittens can get severe infections of the eyes, and if untreated these infections can cause long term eye damage. It wold be best to have the kittens seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine the kittens and get the right therapy for them.

Oct. 7, 2020

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Short hair

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2 weeks

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

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Left Eye Matted Shut

Kitten had both eyes open and doing well, Queen moved kittens from spare room to my bedroom, sometime during he work, when came home and finally found mother and babies one kitten had left eye matted shut again, left it alone for a couple days to see if Queen would take care of the eye and if it was just from first opening it and it adjusting to new sight. But when I started warm water washing the eye greenish pus started draining in copious amounts and continuously is matted shut again after a few hours. Is it safe for me to start applying tobraDex ointment to eye?

Sept. 26, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. . Tobradex ointment would not be a good idea, as the steroid ointment in that may cause damage. I hope that the kitten is feeling better, but if not, It would be best to have your pet seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine them, see what might be going on, and get treatment for them.

Oct. 17, 2020

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Russian blue mix

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One Week

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

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Eye Infection

Eye infection in newborn cats, no money for vet, how can I help them at home

Sept. 24, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. I apologize for the delay, this venue is not set up for urgent emails. I hope that your pet is feeling better. Kittens can develop eye infections that can become quite severe and affect their long term eyesight. If they are still having problems, It would be best to have your pet seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine them, see what might be going on, and get any testing or treatment taken care of that might be needed.

Oct. 23, 2020

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Kitten

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3-4 weeks

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Buldging Eyes, Stuck Eyelids, Discharge, Inside Of Eye Looks Swollen

This is a rescue kitten that I just got less than 24 hours ago. I believe the kitten to be about 3-4 weeks old. She is eating well, pooping normal, and has urinated in a litter box twice. But her eyes just look pitiful. The eyelids get closed shut multiple times a day and have green discharge. I have MicrocynAH cat ophthalmic gel that I have put into her eyes per packing instructions and the eye on one side seems to be more visible now but the other one doesn't have much of a change. Are there any other the counter medications/ointments that I can use or should I take her to a vet ASAP?

Aug. 6, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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Thank you for your question, I'm sorry that your kitchen is not feeling well. Kittens can get very severe eye infections early on that can cause long-lasting vision and corneal problems. The bacteria in their eyes is quite specific, and probably needs different medication than what you can buy over the counter. It would be best to have her seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible, yes. I hope that everything goes well with her.

Aug. 6, 2020

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Domestic cat

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6..5 weeks

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2 found helpful

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Pusy Eyes

She wakes up with her eyelids stuck shut 2 3 days a week

July 29, 2020

Owner

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Jessica N. DVM

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2 Recommendations

Hello- Thank you for your question. It’s very common in kittens to be diagnosed with conjunctivitis and usually this is related to an upper respiratory tract infection. It would be best to have your kitten examined by your veterinarian so they can prescribe medication to help clear the eyes. I hope she feels better soon.

July 30, 2020

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Kitten

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Persian

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12 Days

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Moderate severity

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Eye Crust

I have 12 day old kittens, all their eyes had opened but one eye on one kitten. The eye locked a tiny bit crusty. I tried to clean it with a warm wet cotton pad and then a bunch of pus came out, I kept wiping it until there was no more, but still can’t see the eye to see if it is ok under there. The other eye on the same kitten seems fine! No vets are open here until tomorrow, I plan to take him in the am.... but is there something more I can do? I’ll keep cleaning it but that might irritate it too?

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n/a

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Unknown

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2 Weeks

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Conjuctivitis
Curst Around Eye Lids

Hello Doctors, I found 5 kittens roughly 2-3 weeks old with conjuctivitis no swelling yet I was wondering what I can be advised to do to help them get better and find them good homes.

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Not sure

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1 Week

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Swollen Crusty Eyes

There is a newborn kitten to one of the strays that live behind my apartments. It's eyes are really crusty and look stuck shut but when I called the SPCA they said it was too young to survive without it's mother who is still nursing it. Is there anything I can do to help it?

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Tuxedo

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5 Days

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Swollen Eye

I have a 5 day old kitten with a very swollen eye, I am sure there is puss underneath the eye but kittens eyes normally don't open for 10-14 days, is it ok to pry this eye open early to drain the infection or is this a bad idea.

Eye Infection in Newborn Average Cost

From 341 quotes ranging from $200 - $300

Average Cost

$250

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