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Last updated December 27, 2018

Cat Eye Infection – Definitive Guide For Cat Owners

The Complete Guide To Cat Eye Infection

Cat eye infection is relatively common among cats. As a cat owner, you should not underestimate the severity of feline eye infections. In extreme cases, your pet cat may go blind as a result of delayed treatment. As such, if you suspect your cat of having an eye infection, it is best to bring it to the vet.

Causes of Cat Eye Infection

Feline eye infections are caused by a number of bacteria, fungus, parasites and viruses. Some infections like bacterial eye infections are secondary conditions caused by injuries or viral infections. An eye infection may be the onset of a more serious underlying medical problem.

Viral eye infection
The feline herpes virus and to a lesser extend the feline calicivirus are the most common types of viral eye infections. The feline herpes virus is responsible for most of the eye infections such as conjunctivitis brought about in viral infections. Once a cat is infected with this virus, the infection will be lifelong as the virus cannot be totally eradicated from the body. Flare-ups will occur if the cat is under stress.

A good immune system is required to suppress the feline herpes virus as this condition is stress induced. As such, it is important to provide a healthy diet and enough exercise and rest for your cat to ensure its immune system is functioning well.

Many times, cat owners misjudge what is stressful or not stressful for their pets. This is something you need to take note of as certain situations you find alright, may be in fact stressful for your pet. For example, if there is a new addition to the family in the form of a newborn baby, the crying may be too much for your cat to handle, leading to a flare up again.

Bacterial eye infection
Both the chlamydia and mycoplasma bacteria are the two most common bacteria eye infections found in cats. Bacterial eye infections caused by chlamydia is known as chlamidious. It is the second most common type of eye infections after the feline herpes virus. A bacterial eye infection is normally a secondary condition brought about by other medical issues such as allergies, viruses or injuries.

Fungal eye infection
Feline fungal eye infections are caused by a number of fungal diseases such as coccidioidomycosis, cryptococcosis and histoplasmoss. The most common is crytococcosis which is a fungal disease that can affect and cause fungal eye infection in your cat. It is caused by the fungus Cryptococcus neoformans which is found in soil and bird manure.

Parasite eye infection
A parasite eye infection is usually a medical condition caused by toxoplasmosis, which is a parasite disease that can affect most animals. Toxoplasmosis is caused by a microscopic protozoan parasite known as Toxoplasma gondii. Most cats infected with toxoplasmosis will display no symptoms. However, a small number of cats will develop problems with their eyes when infected. Cats are infected when they accidentally consume feces that contains this parasite.

Types of Cat Eye Infection

Infection of the eyes can be classified under a few types. It is good to know and understand the different types of eye infections a cat may suffer from to provide the correct care and help.

Conjunctivitis
This is inflammation of pink membranous tissues in the front part of the eye, which is the area between the globe and up to the edge of the cornea. This condition is also known as pink eye.

Blepharitis
This infection happens at the eyelids causes the outer skin and middle portions of the eyelids to be inflamed.

Keratitis
This infection is inflammation of the clear outer layer of the eye known as the cornea. It is normally caused by failure to treat infection of the eyelids.

Uveitis
This infection occurs in the uvea; the eye’s vascular layer which is pigmented. This area consists of the choroid, ciliary and iris.

Stye
This is an infection of the sebaceous gland in the eyelid.

Symptoms Of Cat Eye Infection

These symptoms are commonly associated with cats having eye infections. Cats will display some of these symptoms if they are affected. These symptoms may affect one or both eyes.

  • Change in appearance of the eye or eye area
  • Crusting around the eye area
  • Eye is turning red in color in the white area
  • Eyelid appears inflamed and swollen
  • Eyeball bulging out
  • Excessive tearing
  • Frequent rubbing and winking of the eyes
  • The third eyelid may cover the affected eye
  • Watery eye with colored discharge coming from the eye
  • Other signs of sickness such as sneezing or nasal congestion, which indicate respiratory infections

Diagnosis Of Cat Eye Infection

The first thing you should do if you suspect your cat of having an eye infection is to bring your pet to the vet for a diagnosis. Your vet will be able to determine what type of tests is suitable for your cat. The diagnosis will involve cleaning of the eyes and eye areas, evaluation of the eyes for signs of injuries and trauma, evaluation of the structure of the eye as well as check for signs of any upper respiratory infection.

If there is damage to the eye, a surgery may be required. Your vet may take small samples of inflamed areas to check for infectious agents. If suspected of having an underlying medical condition, further tests may be conducted to ensure correct diagnosis. Once the results are out, your vet will be able to advise you on the next course of action to be taken.

Treatment Of Cat Eye Infection

During on the results of your diagnosis, your vet will recommend the most suitable treatment for your cat. Normally, your vet will prescribe antibiotics in the form of topical ointment or drops for bacterial eye infections.

For viral eye infections, antibiotics are normally prescribed as both viral and bacterial infections usually occur concurrently. Depending on the severity of the infection, sometimes anti-viral medications are prescribed.

For fungal eye infections, oral anti-fungal medications are normally prescribed. Antibiotics are normally prescribed for parasite eye infections. As mentioned previously, if there is substantial damage to the eye, a surgery may be required to repair the damages done to the eye.

Tips For Taking Care Of Pets With Cat Eye Infection

Your vet will advise you on the proper care and management of your cat. It is important to stick to the medication schedule as given by your vet. Otherwise, you may have to bring your pet back to the vet again. The following tips will be helpful to you in taking good care of your pet.

  • Keep your house as clean as possible. It is good to have your place sterilize before you bring your cat back from the vet to kill off all bacteria and viruses.
  • Use a fresh clean cloth every time you clean your cat’s eye. Use a different part of the cloth to clean the second eye. Do not use back the same side or part. Wash the cloth with warm water after every session.
  • Do not stop applying medications even if you think your cat has fully recovered. Complete the whole course of treatment as advised by your vet.
  • If you have more than one cat or other pets at home, keep your infected cat separated in its own room. This is to prevent the infection from spreading to other cats or pets.

Prevention Of Cat Eye Infection

The best way to prevent your pet from getting an eye infection is to keep your cat indoors at all times. By keeping your cat indoors, you reduce the risks of it being injured or infected in the eyes. Having contact with infected cats or pets is one of the most common causes of getting an eye infection. So, it is advisable to keep your cat indoors.

When grooming your cat, use saline drops and a clean piece of cloth to clean your pet’s eyes. This will helps to remove all possible debris and irritants that may be present. Also, it is important to prevent a clean environment for your pet. Cleaning your cat litter box daily will help to reduce the chance of getting a parasite eye infection.

It is also advisable to get your pet vaccinated against the most common feline viruses. Check with your vet on the types of vaccines available for your cat.

Summary
Cat eye infections are a very common occurrence, though if not treated on time will lead to blindness in some cases. However, if you do take good care of your pet and don’t allow it outdoors, there is nothing much for you to worry about. Hopefully, the information in this article will provide you with enough knowledge on what to do in the event your cat has a feline eye infection.


Image Credit
Photo by ilovebutterCC BY 2.0

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Last updated December 27, 2018

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