Tuesday, June 18, 2024

How To Treat Conjunctivitis In Cats

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Feline Herpesvirus : Its Not Just A Cold

Treat Conjunctivitis in Cats

Most cats have at one time or another been exposed to Feline Herpesvirus. Some cats will show symptoms for the virus. Other cats will be carriers and show no symptoms because the virus lies dormant in their systems.

The virus can activate at any time, especially when a cat is stressed. Unfortunately, theres no cure, but FHV-1 can be managed to make the cat more comfortable and minimize flare-ups.


  • Upper respiratory symptoms coughing, runny nose, or sneezing
  • Conjunctivitis swelling or inflammation of the outer lining of the eye
  • Corneal ulcerations these are serious eye issues that need immediate vet attention to maintain vision in your kitty

Diagnosis & Treatment:

  • Fluorescein eye stain test todetectif an ulcer or injury is present
  • Eye drops or a topical ointment to ease symptoms and heal infections
  • Oral antibiotics or antiviral medications to treat an upper respiratory infection if present
  • Lowering stress asstress can activate the virus
  • Lysine vitamin supplements may help reduce or eliminate virus flares

Symptoms Of Conjunctivitis In Cats

Common feline conjunctivitis symptoms include:

  • Redness of the eye or surrounding skin.
  • Eye discharge that is watery, cloudy, dark, yellow, or green.
  • Squinting or excessive blinking.
  • Swelling of the eyelid or conjunctiva.

Cats that have infectious conjunctivitis may also show symptoms of an upper respiratory infection, such as sneezing, a runny nose, a fever, lethargy, or decreased appetite.

How Is Cat Conjunctivitis Diagnosed

In order to diagnose cat conjunctivitis, your vet will typically examine your cat for any obvious signs and rule out any other eye conditions. They will also want to know about your cats health history and anything leading up to the onset of symptoms to help make a diagnosis and identify the underlying cause. Your vet might also want to carry out further tests to reach a diagnosis, such as applying a dye to your cats eye to check for cornea problems, doing blood tests or taking a sample for biopsy.

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Kitty Pink Eye How To Treat Your Cat’s Conjunctivitis

Pink eyejust the term is enough to make you cringe, right? Whether it’s in humans or in our cats, pink eye, or conjunctivitis, is the worst. As veterinarians, we want to make you aware of what to look out for so we can nip this painful and inconvenient cat illness in the bud. We know you love your kitty so we’ve rounded up some relevant facts about this condition and shared them below.

When Will My Cat Recover From Conjunctivitis

How to Treat Conjunctivitis in Cats: 11 Steps (with Pictures)

Generally, rapid development will be observed within a few days. Infectious conjunctivitis often clears up in 5 to 14 days. Once your cat has recovered, continue administering the medication until the end of the prescribed period. Do not stop the treatment until then as it can cause the recurrence of the pink eye.

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Can I Use Neosporin On My Cat

Many human medications are toxic or otherwise dangerous for pets. This is especially true for cats since their compact size means that even the tiniest amounts of a dangerous substance can be life-threatening.

Neosporin is a topical antibiotic ointment that works very well on humans but is not recommended for cats. There have been reports of cats having severe anaphylactic reactions to the antibiotic ingredients in Neosporin’s ophthalmic preparations which include neomycin and polymyxin B.

Only use treatments prescribed by your veterinarian to treat eye infections in your pet.

Why Are My Cats Eyes Watering

The outer surface of cats eyes includes a layer of moisture, and just like human eyes, produce tears. Like us, cats use the moisture in their eyes to clean away dirt and debris, flush away bacteria, and keep the eye moisturized and healthy.

A little bit of moisture in your cats eyes is normal, and even runny eyes can be a normal reaction to an environmental irritant like dust or pollen. However, excess liquid, discolored liquid, redness, puffiness, and irritation can be a sign of a more serious condition.

In this post, well cover some of the most common reasons why cats eyes water. If you notice your cats eyes are watering excessively, or your cat seems to be in pain, it is important to contact a veterinary professional quickly.

Use the links below to find out more about possible answers to the question, why are my cats eyes watering?:

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What Causes Pink Eye

Feline pink eye can be caused by something as minor as having a foreign particle trapped in the eye to something as serious as having a compromised immune system due to the feline leukemia virus.

The most common causes of conjunctivitis in cats include:


Viruses like the feline herpesvirus or calicivirus can be dormant in your kittys body for many years and can cause pink eye symptoms at any time. You may not even realize your cat is a carrier, which is why a trip to your veterinarian is always a must if any eye irritation occurs. Herpesvirus is probably the number one offender when it comes to pink eye, and almost every kitty who comes from a cattery, shelter, or foster home has been exposed to it.

Bacterial infections

Feline chlamydophila is the most common bacterial culprit, and its usually accompanied by an upper respiratory infection, so be on the lookout for kitty sneezes and nasal drainage, too.


Allergy-related pink eye can be caused by seasonal allergens like grass, pollen, or fungi. It can also be caused by environmental irritants like smoke, dust, chemicals, or even your cologne so be careful when youre snuggling up close to your cat!

What Causes Pink Eye In Cats

Kitten Conjunctivitis & How To Treat It ~ Care Info In Comments ~ Eye Infections This Bad Need A Vet

As previously mentioned, pink eye is essentially an inflammatory response. This response can cause eye inflammation, redness of the eyelid, squinting, and other symptoms. But that response can have several different causes. There are two main types of conjunctivitis in cats: infectious and non-infectious.

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Will My Cat Be Cured Of Conjunctivitis

It all depends on what has caused the conjunctivitis. If it is non-infectious and the cause is not or cannot be eliminated , conjunctivitis will re-occur. If it is viral and incurable, like the feline herpes virus, it can persist in flare-ups during times that the immune system is compromised by illness or stress. When it comes to feline herpes, optimal wellness care, nutrition, appropriate vaccinations, supplements, and or medications can help minimize the frequency and seriousness of the relapse.

If you suspect your cat has conjunctivitis, right away!

How Are Eye Infections In Cats Treated

Your vet will determine the best treatment for your cat’s eye infection based upon the results of the examination and of your cat’s overall health.

If the eye infection is the primary concern your vet may recommend a topical treatment for your cat’s eye such as Terramycin® or Vetropolycin®.

If however your cat’s eye infection is due to an underlying condition such as FeLV or Calicivirus the underlying condition may be the main focus of the treatment. Treatments for underlying conditions will depend upon the nature of the illness but may include oral antibiotics, immune boosters or other treatments.

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Cat Conjunctivitis: Could Your Cat Have Pink Eye

Nearly every cat has pink eye at some point in life. Learn what symptoms are red flags of this common condition.

Most people have heard of pink eye, but not when it comes to their pets. Conjunctivitis is actually very common in catsmost of them get the irritating eye condition at least once in their lives. Learn how to spot the signs and what you can do to quickly get rid of pink eye in cats.

How To Treat Cat Conjunctivitis

Home Remedies for Cat Eye Infection in 2020

If you have already experienced the pink eye, you know howannoying and contagious it is. But did you know that the pink eye also existsin cats? Unfortunately, the diagnosis and treatment of cat conjunctivitis isnot as straightforward as it is in humans. However, it is not safe to useover-the-counter human products to treat your cats conjunctivitis. Instead,read on for the most common symptoms, causes, and treatments that can help yourcat if it develops this problem.

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How Long Does Conjunctivitis In Cats Last

It all depends on its cause and the treatment. We know that the feline herpes virus, responsible for conjunctivitis, is generally active between 10 and 14 days. If the origin of the conjunctivitis is bacterial, it will depend on the speed that the body responds to the treatment. That said, the condition should improve within a few days of starting treatment.

What Causes Eye Infections In Cats

If your kitty is suffering from an uncomfortable eye infection the cause could either be an infectious or a non-infectious underlying condition.

Infectious Conditions that May Cause Eye Infections

  • Some of the most common infectious conditions that can lead to eye infections in cats are Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis and Feline Calicivirus. Both of these viruses are highly contagious among cats and are known to cause feline upper respiratory disease which can lead to symptoms such as eye infections.

Non-Infectious Conditions that May Cause Eye Infections:

  • Viruses aren’t the only cause of eye infections in cats. If your cat’s eyes are sore and irritated it could be due to allergies, a foreign body in the eye, a hereditary eye condition, trauma, tumors, or even an autoimmune disease.

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How To Identify Pink Eye In Cats

The fastest way to help your cat is to recognize when something is wrong in the first place. Keep in mind that a cat eye infection can affect one or both eyes. Signs of conjunctivitis in your feline friend may include:

  • Redness and inflammation around the eye
  • Redness and inflammation in inner corner of the eye
  • Frequent blinking
  • Colorless watery discharge around the eye
  • Thick dark discharge around the eye
  • Pawing at the eye
  • Rubbing the eye against furniture or other surfaces

If you see any of these signs, dont panic. It may be conjunctivitis, or your furry friend may have just come up against trouble you didnt seea playful catfight or a bush poking them in the eye unexpectedly. Our mischievous, curiosity-loving felines have a tendency to get into everything and anything.

Whenever you see signs of a cat eye infection, its always better to take them to the veterinarian to assess the damage. In the meantime, its a safe bet to give their eye a rinse with an antimicrobial eye wash to keep the area clean and comfortable while you make your appointment.

How To Apply Eye Drops

How to Naturally Heal Conjunctivitis in Cats

Every cat owner knows that it can be incredibly hard to keep a cat still, especially when youre trying toclean your cats eyes. One minute theyre secure in your lap, purring awaythe next theyve jumped halfway across the room and are peeping up at you from under the bed. This definitely happens when cats sense impending doom triggered by a vet trip, a nail clipping session, or dreaded eye drops.

Luckily, there are some tried and true tips to prevent an eye flushing session from becoming a wrestling match, complete with claws. Here are a few steps to help you calm an anxious kitty down and effectively flush out irritated eyes.

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Is Conjunctivitis Contagious For Cats And Humans

Conjunctivitis is very contagious between cats and kittens. As the probable cause is either viral or bacterial, its very easily transmitted by direct contact, by aerosols, or even by sharing a litter box. It is therefore important to isolate affected cats from others in the house during treatment.

Feline conjunctivitis is not contagious to humans. That said, they are the hosts of many bacteria that are normal for cats but harmful for us, especially in their mouths. It is therefore recommended to wash your hands after handling your cat’s mouth, especially if your pet goes outside and hunts.

Thats all for my overview on conjunctivitis in cats. You are now well informed to successfully cope with this condition!

Have you ever had to deal with conjunctivitis with your kitty cat? Tell us about your story below.

Remember, we are also always available to hear your special cases. Fill out our form for a free consultation and we will be happy to discuss your pet with you.

Treatment For Cat Eye Infections

Oftentimes, viral eye infections pave the way for a bacterial infection to take root. Theres a good chance your kitty may be dealing with a double eye infection. If thats the case, expect to apply antiviral and antibiotic eye drops for several days or weeks.

After starting treatment, your cats eyes may look better within a few days. But its crucial to continue treatment as outlined by your vet. The infection can return if you stop treatment too soon. It could also make a future infection more difficult to treat. Expect conjunctivitis infections to go away within one or two weeks of treatment.

Just dont be surprised if your cat gets another infection in the future. Herpesvirus is one of the most common causes of cat conjunctivitis. While treatment helps your kittys eyes heal, the virus stays in your cats body. It may pop out again during times of stress or when your cats immune system is weakersimilar to how cold sores come and go in people.

As a preventive, your vet may prescribe a probiotic or lysine supplement, which boosts your cats immune system, Nannig says.

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Causes Of Conjunctivitis In Cats

The causes of conjunctivitis determine whether or not it is classified as the infectious or non-infectious type of conjunctivitis.

  • Viruses: If conjunctivitis is caused by a virus it is considered to be the infectious type. The most commonly seen type of virus that can cause conjunctivitis is the feline herpesvirus type-1, also known as feline viral rhinotracheitis . This virus also causes a variety of respiratory symptoms, including sneezing, and can spread from cat to cat.
  • Bacteria: Another type of infectious conjunctivitis is caused by bacteria. Staphylococci, Streptococci, and Chlamydophila bacteria can infect the eyes of cats and cause conjunctivitis along with other issues. These types of infections are also contagious from cat to cat.
  • Environmental irritants: Dust, mold, smoke, poor air quality, air fresheners, and other things in a home that could cause eye irritation can cause conjunctivitis. Even pet shampoo and dirt that gets in a cat’s eyes can cause conjunctivitis because of how irritating it can be. These things can all cause the non-infectious type of conjunctivitis.

How To Prevent Feline Calicivirus In Cats

How to Treat Conjunctivitis in Cats: 11 Steps (with Pictures)

The best way to protect your cat from feline calicivirus is to vaccinate regularly. While the calicivirus vaccine will not fully prevent contraction of the virus, it will help your cat fight off the infection and experience milder symptoms.

Cats with feline calicivirus should be kept separate from other cats to prevent the spread of the disease. Multi-cat environments should be cleaned thoroughly and routinely with pet-safe disinfectants to minimize accidental exposure.

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What If It Doesnt Get Better

If your cat isnt getting better or keeps getting conjunctivitis, they may need some further investigation by your vet. These may include swabs, tear measurement or perhaps referral to a specialist ophthalmologist .

Some conditions that cause conjunctivitis need lifelong treatment. If you want to find out more about the conditions that cause conjunctivitis please use the links within the causes section.

Cat Pink Eye Treatment Options

The good news is that once the root cause is determined, your cat can begin treatment right away, and should begin healing in just a day or two. If its a viral infection, your veterinarian will likely prescribe a topical or oral anti-viral medication. For bacterial infections, expect antibiotics usually in the form of eye drops or ointment. Ask your veterinarian for tips on safely and effectively administering medications.

If your feline friend has allergy-related pink eye, your veterinarian might prescribe an anti-inflammatory medication. Be aware, though, medications containing hydrocortisone are not good for kitties with corneal ulcers or for cats who are experiencing a herpesvirus episode. In most allergy-related cases, youll be encouraged to simply remove your cat from the allergens causing the problem. The good news is that since pink eye is fairly easy to diagnose and treat, cats rarely experience any long term effects.

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Treatment For Cat Conjunctivitis

The prognosis varies depending on what caused the condition, how severe it is, and a cats overall health status. Fortunately, most kitties respond well to prompt treatment, with symptoms resolving in 1-2 weeks. However, some cats develop complications , and some struggle with chronic or recurrent conjunctivitis.

Maybe youre wondering if cat conjunctivitis will go away by itself. Sometimes that can happen with mild symptoms, but its best to consult a vet to be safe.

A veterinary visit is recommended to prevent eye discomfort and rule out serious conditions like an eye ulcer. Also, if you have other cats in the home, prompt treatment is crucial to preventing spread of the disease.

Heres what to expect and some of the most common cat conjunctivitis treatments:

Note: Never give human medications to a cat without first checking with your vet. Some human medications are toxic to cats, and giving the wrong eye drops can make the condition worse.

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