Eye infections are fairly common in cats. The most common causes are bacteria or viruses, which means, eye infections can easily be transmitted from one cat to the next particularly in crowded environments. Luckily, there are cat eye infections treatment you can do at home.
In young cats, eye infections are commonly caused by Chlamydia and Mycoplasma, which are both types of bacteria. Viral causes include feline herpesvirus type 1 and calicivirus. Young cats whose immune systems are compromised or those exposed to environmental stressors are more prone to developing eye infections.
In adult and senior cats, most eye infections occur as a secondary problem to a primary issue. Eye injury, cancer, autoimmune disease, and viral infections such as feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) and feline leukemia virus (FLV) are common underlying conditions.
Symptoms of Cat Eye Infections
There are a variety of symptoms that may indicate an eye infection in cats. It is common for a cat to display only one or two of the above symptoms, especially during the early part of the infection.
- Eye discharge that may range from clear to yellow to green
- Reddish or inflamed whites of the eye
- Excessive tear production
- Protrusion or inflammation of the 3rd eyelid which usually covers the affected eye
- There may be accompanying symptoms such as sneezing or nasal discharge (commonly associated with upper respiratory infections.
** These symptoms may be evident in one or both eyes.
Uncomplicated eye infections usually have an excellent prognosis. Eye infections caused by bacteria tend to respond well to appropriate medication, and viral infections generally resolve on their own with time.
However, if the eye infection is secondary to another condition, the prognosis will depend to a large extent on the severity of the primary issue.
Treatment for Cat Eye Infections
Cat eye infections treatment will depend on the cause of the problem. Antibiotics, usually eye ointments or drops, are used for treating eye infections that are caused by bacteria. While viral infections are generally self-limiting, veterinarians may recommend applying topical antibiotics to prevent secondary bacterial infections which are a common occurrence. Antiviral medications may be necessary in severe cases of eye infections. Applying eye ointments properly is crucial for your pet’s recovery. Always remember to read the label of the medication and that you understand the instructions for dosage and administration.
Home Remedies For Cat Eye Infections
There are cases in which eye infections can be treated at home with over-the-counter medications. However, serious matters, like an eye ulcer, cherry eye, or an eye injury, should be brought to the attention of a veterinarian. Eye problems that are not given prompt and appropriate treatment can possibly develop serious complications and the cat may suffer from vision problems.
Some of the common home treatment for eye infections in cats include the following:
- L-lysine — This is commonly used for cat eye infection treatments in cases that are caused by feline herpesvirus, an issue that is commonly acquired by cats that spend time in shelters.
- Cat eye rinse — An eye rinse is a sterile ophthalmic solution that usually contains a combination of boric acid, sodium chloride, sodium borate, and filtered water. It can be administered to the eye to remove foreign material or allergens.
- Rinsing with distilled water — If you notice your cat’s eye/s appears red or are tearing up, wet some clean cotton balls with sterile or distilled water and use them to gently wipe your pet’s eyes. Don’t forget to use a different cotton ball for each eye to prevent spreading any infection that may be present.
- Warm compress –The use of a warm compress is a common cat eye infection home remedy. Simply soak a gauze pad, soft towel, or washcloth in warm water. Gently place the cloth on your pet’s eye, letting it remain there for about 5 minutes. Use another cloth or gauze for the other eye. You may need to administer warm compresses every hour until the symptoms ease up.
- Eye wipes — A fragrance-free baby wipe for sensitive skin can be used to wipe any discharge from your cat’s eye. Use a separate wipe for each eye and be sure to discard the wipe after use.
- Herbal supplements — These products contain chamomile, aconite, calendula, euphrasia, and other natural ingredients that can help fight infection and aid in the relief of symptoms, such as itching and redness of the eyes. You can ask your veterinarian for the appropriate dosage.
- Eyewash — This can be used to flush away any foreign object that is stuck in the cat’s eye. Eyewash products are usually made up of saline solution are commonly used as cats eye infection home remedy.
- Diet — A complete and balanced premium quality diet can go a long way in supporting the immune system to combat infections. If you have any questions and/or concerns about your pet’s diet and nutrition, do consult a veterinarian.
How to Clean Your Cat’s Eyes
The pain and discomfort of an eye infection can make your cat more sensitive to being touched or handled. Here are some tips to remember when cleaning your pet’s eyes and during cat eye infection treatment.
- Support your cat by wrapping him in a light blanket or hand towel.
- Use lukewarm distilled water NOT tap water to wet cotton balls or towels to wipe your pet’s eyes.
- Before applying the cotton balls or cloth on your pet’s eyes, squeeze gently to get rid of excess water.
- Avoid undue pressure when holding the cotton ball or cloth on your pet’s eyes.
- Always be very gentle in wiping your pet’s eyes. Wipe in the direction of his fur coat, that is from the tear duct to the outer eye.
- Cleaning and applying a warm compress to your cat’s eyes would need to be repeated several times a day.
- Make sure to use separate cotton balls for each eye to avoid the spread of potential infection.
- Use different towels or cotton balls between littermates or kittens.
- Consider wearing separate gloves when cleaning the eyes of several kittens to prevent infection.
- Don’t soak a kitten’s face with water because it can increase his risk of hypothermia as they are susceptible to cold.
- When administering medication, do it on the good eye first before cleaning and treating the irritated eye.
- Be careful to prevent the dropper from touching the irritated eye because this could possibly help spread the infection.
- Always wash your hands with soap and water between treating each cat.
There are many problems that can affect the eye of cats. If you notice signs of a potential eye issue, you should bring it to the attention of your veterinarian sooner rather than later. The eye is a very important sense organ and anything that can jeopardize the integrity and function of your cat’s eyes should be addressed promptly and appropriately to prevent potential vision problems.