Can Cats Get Pink Eye ?

August 21, 2013By 0 Comments

Well, the answer to this question is yes, cats can get pink eye. Pink eye or conjunctivitis is the inflammation of conjunctivita and this eye infection is pretty common in cats. Pink eye in cats is caused by infections, most common of which are herpesvirus (FHV-1) and chlamydophila. The symptoms of pink eye in cats include red eye, discharge from your cat’s eye or you may find your cat pawing at the eye very often.  Swelling, redness and discharge from the cat’s eye can also be caused from factors like foreign object in the eye, damage in any form caused to cornea and blocked tear duct.

Similar to humans, conjunctivitis in cats is not at all painful but it is quite  itchy. It is necessary to identify the symptoms of red eye in your cat. Basically pink eye in cats is categorized in two ways- infectious and non- infectious. Non-infectious conjunctivitis can be from foreign objects, allergies, trauma or irritants. Infectious pink eye in cats is from mainly three sources namely mycoplasma, feline chlamydia and feline herpesvirus 1. Feline herpesvirus 1 is quiet common among cats.

Pink eye is not painful but there can be problems like itching, tearing which might put your cat in trouble. If you see the symptoms of conjunctivitis in your cat, take it to the veterinarian immediately because pink eye if left untreated may even lead to serious damages including blindness. Also to ensure proper diagnosis and treatment to the cat, it is a must to visit a vet. Your cat’s veterinarian will study the cause of cat’s symptoms and prescribe the treatment accordingly. Generally eye drops and ointments are used to treatconjunctivitis in cats. In few cases hydrocortisone is used to reduce inflammation. However if the pink eye has worsen, oral antibiotic can be used. As a preventive measure, feed your cat with a diet rich in antioxidant, zinc, lutein, Vitamin A, C and E.

Symptoms of pink eye in cats

  • Watery or thick discharge from the eye which may also contain mucus or pus
  • Conjunctiva turns red and swells
  • Keeping third eyelid closed
  • Squinting
  • Pawing and rubbing often at eye
  • blinking
  • third eye protrusion
  • sneezing and nasal discharge

Causes of pink eye in cats

  • Viral and bacterial infections
  • Structural defect of eye
  • Feline Chlamydophila
  • Allergies from pollens, plants etc.
  • Foreign objects like hair, eyelash and grass seed
  • Irritants like smoke, fumes and dust
  • Damage to eye like scratch
  • Keratoconjunctivitis sicca is dryness and inflammation of cornea and conjunctivita

Serous conjunctivitis:

This is a mild pink eye in which cat’s eye gets swollen and looks pink. There is a clear discharge and eyes remain watery which is different from tearing. It is caused by irritants like dust, wind, cold weather and allergens. In some cases, it can also be caused by eye worms. Serous conjunctivitis in cats may also be a symptom for chlamydophila or feline viral respiratory disease.

Since serous conjunctivitis is a mild condition, it can be treated at home. If the cat develops serous pink eye, clean the eye with dilute solution of boric acid, sterile ophthalmic irrigating solution and artificial tears. If your cat’s eye shows no improvement, take the cat to veterinarian

Purulent conjunctivitis:

Serous conjunctivitis in later stages becomes purulent conjunctivitis. In this, cats get thick secretions which stick eyelids and eye discharge has mucus and pus. This is a clear case of bacterial infection. However if discharge is from both the eyes, it can be viral infection caused by herpes virus or calici virus. If both the eyes turn pink one after the other, then infection might be from chlamydophila or mycoplasma. If there are ulcers on cornea, then it may be herpes virus conjunctivitis. Take your cat to veterinary hospital to detect the cause of conjunctivitis.

Purulent conjunctivitis is treated through eye irrigations and warm soaks. The veterinarian will also prescribe antibiotics which have to be applied on eye surface. A combination of neomycin, polymyxin and bacitracin also makes an effective combination of antibiotic ointment to treat purulent conjunctivitis. Even if symptoms go away, continue giving medicine to the cat as prescribed.

Follicular conjunctivitis

Follicular conjunctivitis is a condition in which follicles underneath nictitating membrane form rough cobblestone surface produces a mucoid discharge. It is caused by pollens, allergens and few other infective agents. Even if the cat is no longer in contact with these conjunctivitis causing factors, follicles still remain in enlarged state. Now,this roughened surface of conjunctivita acts as irritant to eye. To reduce the size of follicles and smoothen the surface, steroid based eye ointment is used. If this ointment does not seem to work, mechanical or chemical treatment can be given to close the follicles. Steroids should be used only if the correct infection cause has been figured out.

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