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Conjunctivitis in a cat: how to recognize and treat them?

Conjunctivitis in a cat

I know from my experience that cats often have problems with their eyesight.

Probably the most common disease is conjunctivitis.

This disease may have various origins, therefore diagnostics is extremely important before starting treatment.

In this article, you will learn how to recognize your cat's conjunctivitis and how you can prevent your pet from becoming infected.

  • What is cat conjunctivitis?
  • What physical factors can cause conjunctivitis?
  • Infectious conjunctivitis
    • Viral conjunctivitis in a cat
    • Mycoplasma conjunctivitis
    • Chlamydia-related conjunctivitis
  • Immunological / allergic conjunctivitis
  • Conjunctivitis in a cat symptoms
  • Are there cats more or less likely to develop conjunctivitis??
  • Can my cat get infected from another cat and can a person get infected?
  • How to recognize conjunctivitis in a cat?
  • Treatment of cat conjunctivitis
  • Home remedies for conjunctivitis in a cat
  • How to protect your kitten from conjunctivitis?

What is cat conjunctivitis?

The conjunctiva is the thin mucosa that covers the inner surface of the eyelids and the outer, front part of the eye sclera.

Its inflammation can be caused by physical factors as well as by factors of the immune / allergic and infectious background.

Conjunctivitis in a cat is chronic disease with a slow onset that causes no significant pain or loss of vision.

What physical factors can cause conjunctivitis?

Most often, conjunctivitis develops against the background mechanical irritation.

The eyeball is systematically irritated in the case defects in the growth of eyelashes.

In this case, we can replace double row of eyelashes or ecotopic eyelashes, that is, growing in the wrong place.

Eyelid defects are also very common.

Defective eyelids tend to curl up towards the eyeball, causing constant irritation of the conjunctiva.

Infectious conjunctivitis

The infectious agents include:

  • viruses,
  • bacteria, mycolpasms, and chlamydia.

Viral conjunctivitis in a cat

Most often we deal with Herpes virus.

Herpesviridae viruses. View from under the electron microscope | source: wikipedia

It is one of the many infectious agents that is involved in the development of the so-called cat's cold.

It causes severe inflammation of the conjunctiva and corneal ulceration.

Bacterial inflammation develops at the moment decrease in local immunity or as an infection complicating inflammation of another background.

Bacteria tend to travel through the bloodstream and are sometimes transmitted by animals themselves, e.g. by rubbing the mouth with paws in the presence of inflammation from the nose or ongoing inflammation in the mouth.

Bacterial inflammation is very common purulent discharge from the conjunctival sac.

The eyelid fissure, in severe inflammation, is closed due to the sticky edge of the eyelid due to dried pus.

In less severe cases, purulent discharge may accumulate in the medial corner of the eye.

Mycoplasma conjunctivitis

Mycoplasma conjunctivitis, like herpesvirus inflammation, it usually accompanies catarrh.

The conjunctiva is swollen, with serous-mucus discharge that may become entangled with bacteria and become purulent.

Chlamydia-related conjunctivitis

Chlamydiae bacteria | source: wikipedia Chlamydia-related conjunctivitis is inflammation that is long-lasting, often recurrent.

This disease affects one eye first, and after approx 5-12 days next.

We observe profuse serous outflow, with blepharospasm and progressive swelling of the conjunctiva.

Symptoms of acute chlamydial inflammation subside after 3-4 weeks, however, they tend to relapse.

Immunological / allergic conjunctivitis

Inflammation of the conjunctiva always has its origins.

In the process of examining the organ of vision, it is worth taking swab, which, after carrying out a culture in the laboratory, will help determine the etiology of inflammation.

Sometimes there may be a situation in which we are dealing with a lack of pathogens in the conjunctival sac.

In such situations you should take note of allergic conjunctivitis.

It does not differ much from inflammation on any other background, there will also be conjunctival redness with serous discharge, but such inflammation does not respond to routine treatment.

In order to confirm 100% allergic inflammation, it is performed allergy tests with the indication of the sensitizing factor.

Conjunctivitis in a cat symptoms

Conjunctivitis in a cat symptoms

Each conjunctivitis is characterized by:

  • redness,
  • swelling,
  • blood vessels are injected with blood.

Serum discharge flows from the conjunctival sac, which during the process may be entangled with bacteria and take on the appearance of purulent discharge.

In severe inflammation, for example during cat runny nose or Chlamydia inflammation, it may occur eyelid spasm.

The inflammation does not cause much pain, so the animal's behavior itself does not have to change.

The first thing that catches the eye is dirty hair around the eyes and squinting of the eyes / eye.

It should be borne in mind that the organ of sight is connected with the nasal cavity by nasolacrimal tubules, therefore conjunctivitis with outflow is often accompanied by a nasal discharge of a similar nature.

You can see what conjunctivitis in a cat looks like in the video below

Kitten Conjunctivitis & How To Treat It ~ Care Info In Comments ~ Eye Infections This Bad Need A Vet
Watch this video on YouTube

Are there cats more or less likely to develop conjunctivitis??


Taking into account the etiology of the disease one can designate different groups of animals taking into account age or also race.

For infectious agents kittens are the most vulnerable. Kittens are most likely to be infected

Chlamydia attacks most often aged kittens 5-12 weeks, while the herpesvirus attacks kittens weakened, unvaccinated, as well as cats older with reduced immunity.

In the case of mycoplasma, unfortunately there is no age predilection.

AT brachycephalic cats conjunctivitis due to physical damage is very common.

It is related to the anatomical structure of the skull, which is shortened in the facial part.

It is a feature predisposing to the faulty development of the eyelids, eyelashes which, by irritating the conjunctiva, cause its inflammation.

They are also at risk of developing inflammation cats staying in shelters and in large clusters, with weakened immunity and with deficiencies.

Can my cat get infected from another cat and can a person get infected?

Is cat conjunctivitis contagious? Infectious agents most often spread from individual to individual.

Viruses and bacteria are microscopic, so we are not able to completely isolate our cats from these pathogens.

Being a healthy cat in the presence of a sick cat may cause inflammation in the event of a decrease in its immunity.

Whereas a person is sensitive to chlamydia.

Feline chlamydiosis is zoonosis, that is, a zoonotic disease.

Therefore, inflammation caused by chlamydia can also spread to humans.

How to recognize conjunctivitis in a cat?

Inflammation itself is easy to recognize by its clear clinical signs.

Identifying the background of inflammation is a bit more difficult.

For this purpose, swabs from the conjunctival sac are made, which are tested in the laboratory or from which bacterial cultures are made.

Treatment of cat conjunctivitis

Treatment of cat conjunctivitis

Once the etiology of inflammation is known, targeted treatment can be introduced.

The mainstay of treatment for conjunctivitis in a cat is application drops with antibiotic and an anti-inflammatory drug.

Supportive care is also very important.

They are used in this case preparations that increase immunity animals, making treatment more effective.

These can be preparations containing L-lysine, interferon.

They are in the form of a gel, oral liquid, capsules or injection, e.g.:

  • Lydium KLP,
  • immunodol cat,
  • bioimmunex.

How much are drops for conjunctivitis for a cat? The prices of eye drops fluctuate within limits from 10 to 20 PLN.

Long-term use is important.

I recommend minimum 2 weeks, but length of treatment should be determined by your veterinarian based on the ethology of inflammation and treatment progress.

In the case of eyelid and eyelash defects, the only solution is surgical correction.

Home remedies for conjunctivitis in a cat

To improve the effects of treatment, use an eye toilet with scalded, cold tea (but not chamomile, as it dries the conjunctiva) or with saline.

Additionally, it is worth using vitamin preparations.

How to protect your kitten from conjunctivitis?

How to protect a kitten from disease?

As in any case, prevention is always better than cure.

It is worth paying attention to the cat's origin, from what environment it was adopted and whether there is a risk that it could become infected.

For this purpose it applies vaccinations, however, remember that the vaccine is intended to protect against disease, not to combat it.

From 9 weeks of age we can vaccinate cats against cat runny nose, Herpesvirus is involved.

when it comes to chlamydial conjunctivitis in a cat the available vaccines reduce the symptoms but do not prevent asymptomatic infection and shedding.

Kittens are vaccinated in 9, 12 and 15 weeks and splits off annually, while in breeding it is also carried out vaccination of pregnant cats.

There are also vaccines against Mycolpazmie on the market, which are used between 8 and 10 weeks of age.

Keep in mind that these vaccinations protect against disease but not infection.

The organ of sight is a very specific and highly sensitive organ.

Most of the diseases have the same symptoms at the beginning, only during the development of the disease process there are changes that may suggest an ethology.

Conjunctivitis is common in cats but requires treatment as it is not a self-healing condition.

Rapid intervention is important, thanks to which the treatment will be shorter and more effective.

Hopefully after reading this article, you already know what to do if you suspect your cat has conjunctivitis.

If you have questions about this disease, or want to share your experience, feel free to comment - I will answer all your questions.

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