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This disorder is incredibly common. In fact, most cats are likely to experience this mild condition. Certain breeds have a predisposition for developing conjunctivitis. The condition may also develop due to a bacterial infection or as a side effect of another disease.
Inflammation of the eyes in cats, also known as conjunctivitis, is the most common eye disorder in cats. Conjunctivitis occurs when the conjunctiva--a mucous membrane that protects the eyeballs and lines both sets of eyelids--becomes inflamed.
While the condition is fairly common, you’ll want to ensure your cat receives immediate veterinary attention as soon as you notice any of the following symptoms:
Causes of conjunctivitis can be either infectious or noninfectious. Infectious causes may include bacterial, viral, or fungal infection. Conjunctivitis is a common and often recurring side effect of the herpesvirus. Non-infectious causes may include allergic reaction, irritation due to the presence of foreign bodies, and exposure to chemicals, toxins, and certain plants. Conjunctivitis may also develop as a symptom of another disease such as cancer or tumors of the eye and feline leukemia.
All cats can develop conjunctivitis at some stage in their lives, although the disorder is most commonly seen among younger cats. Long-haired breeds have a higher chance of developing conjunctivitis. Cats that live in a multi-cat household also have a higher risk for conjunctivitis. The condition is not considered congenital (present from birth) or inheritable.
Your vet will perform an examination of the eye, looking particularly for foreign bodies or signs of injury. The vet will also ensure that the tear ducts are not blocked and there are no tumors present. The vet will then gauge your cat’s tear production as well as eye pressure.
Your vet may use a variety of diagnostic tests, including a corneal stain, scrapings of the conjunctival tissue, and, in some cases, eye biopsies. If the conjunctivitis is a suspected symptom of another disease, your vet may also take a blood test.
Treatment will usually take place following the diagnosis.
In many mild cases of conjunctivitis that have no infectious cause, the condition may clear up on its own. However, it’s unwise to delay veterinary treatment based on this fact, as the conjunctivitis may be a symptom of another, more serious condition.
The treatment method for conjunctivitis will depend on whether or not there is an underlying disease or infection causing it. Treatment usually takes anywhere from two to three weeks.
Antibiotics, whether administered by mouth or in eye drops, are generally effective for treating infectious causes of conjunctivitis. For herpesvirus, the vet may prescribe a topical medication, usually an ointment, in addition to antibiotics. There is no cure for the herpesvirus, and conjunctivitis caused by the virus is likely to come back; however, these treatments will help to manage symptoms when they appear.
Symptom of Disease
The recommended treatment course will vary depending on which disease is causing conjunctivitis. In many cases where the immune system is weak or suppressed as a result of the underlying disease, the vet will prescribe immune stimulants in addition to other treatments to manage symptoms.
Conjunctivitis resulting from an allergic reaction will typically require topical treatments. Corticosteroid creams and drops are usually effective at reducing the symptoms of conjunctivitis. Your vet may prescribe additional medication to combat the reaction. It is very important that you use only corticosteroid creams prescribed by your vet as opposed to corticosteroid creams made for human use.
For cases of conjunctivitis that have no identifiable cause, the vet may prescribe a general antibiotic medication in addition to anti-inflammatory drugs. These medications can be in capsule or topical form. In some severe cases, an injection may be required. Your vet will decide a course of treatment based on your cat’s specific needs.
Your cat’s prognosis will depend on the cause of the condition. In most cats, conjunctivitis will clear up with proper treatment. As with most antibiotic treatments, you may see symptoms start to disappear before the recommended treatment time is up. However, it is imperative that you continue administering the medication for the entire duration of the prescribed treatment period. Failure to do so may cause an aggressive recurrence.
If you’ve ever tried to administer eye drops or ointments to your cat, you know this can be tricky. The eye drops prescribed for conjunctivitis often require frequent administration, up to 6 times per day. You may find it easier to deliver these medications if you have another person to help you keep your cat still. If you are unsure, ask your vet to show you how to administer the medication.
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Eye Inflammation Average Cost
From 407 quotes ranging from $200 - $1,000
0 found helpful
3-4 weeks old stray kitten, eye inflammation. two eyes completely closed because of the discharge. i opened them with some betadine solution (cleaned just peripheral and discharges not into eyes) kitten is ok right now but further treatment required. he and at least one of his sibling have an infection too. what's the best way to treat that infection? home remedy is my first chioce since it's hard to see a vet.
April 29, 2018
no name's Owner
Dr. Michele K. DVM
Kittens can be affected by viruses and bacteria that can permanently destroy their corneas and impact vision if not treated properly. Since I cannot examine the kittens, I'm not able to diagnose or recommend any treatments. The kittens should be seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible to have an examination and get appropriate treatment for them. I hope that all goes well for them.
April 30, 2018
1 found helpful
My 5 month old kitten only has one eye. It was taken out months ago when she had a severe eye infection when she was found as a stray and medication couldn't save it. She woke up this morning with some swelling and what looks like the size of a lemon drop where her eye was taken out. There is just a socket there. The vet here told us that it is most likely a popped blood vessel from playing too hard or sneezing and that it will go away on its own. Is that accurate? She also said that the likelihood of it being an infection is slim to none because there is no eyeball and also tumor is very unlikely. What other causes could cause that bulge where her eye was taken out? She was completely fine until this morning when I noticed it, which is another reason why the doctor suspected something temporary as onset like a popped blood vessel being that she was okay all this time until today.
Dec. 21, 2017
Dr. Michele K. DVM
Thank you for your question. That is odd. It is possible that there is scar tissue there that all of a sudden is showing up if she has been playing rambunctiously. If she is eating and drinking, bright and happy, and there is no discharge or infection in that missing eye socket, you should be fine to monitor it. Without seeing it I honestly have a hard time saying what it might be, but I think scar tissue is possible.
Dec. 22, 2017
domestic short hair
0 found helpful
when we got my cat he was a stray with an upper respiratory infection. we took him to the vet and got him treated. months later he has discharge, kinda like mucus coming from his eyes every few days with a runny nose. it’s easy to clean out but i wonder if maybe his infection is back? looking for advice because vet bill is expensive and will have to save money to bring him
British Shorthair mixed w/ Scottish Straight
0 found helpful
I have a black smoke british shorthair kitten with a irritating third eyelid that is white and has red spots on it. what does this mean? He forces the eyes closed and often blinks. Matches alot of the symptomps and I don't know if he is in danger or not.
long haired kitten
0 found helpful
10 month old kitten, eye inflamation since birth shes had 8 lots of isathal eye cream and 1 lot of eye drops not helping eyes vets saying to keep going back same thing over again and the creams easing it but not treating it also had to lots of inflamatories vet will not also spay her and shes in season cannot keep her in much longer and dont want kittens, dont know what else to do running out of options and costing a fortune in vets bills 😢 shes ok in herself playing
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