10 Types of Cat Eye Infections to Watch Out For
Is your cat squinting or blinking a lot, or does it keep rubbing its eyes? This might be due to an infection in the eye. It can either be an allergy or viral or bacterial infection. Therefore, you should seek cat eye care when you start noting any concerns in your cat’s eyes because the symptoms could result from various types of cat eye infections, including conjunctivitis. Hence, if you are interested in learning more about the top 10 types of cat eye infections to watch out for, read on.
In most cases, irritation is usually viewed as a symptom but can also be a cat eye infection which occurs when the eye is exposed to allergens or irritants. The main causes of irritation are strong perfumes, tobacco smoke, cleaning chemicals, and dust. The common signs and symptoms to watch for that can tell your cat has come into contact with irritants include redness, rubbing, eye discharge, and squinting.
Usually, when an irritant has entered your cat’s eye, you are advised to rinse it with clean water or an eye-wash solution thoroughly. However, you are advised to seek veterinary care when your cat has eye irritation because, in most cases, the symptoms of irritation are similar to those of other serious cat eye infections. But if you are sure that the irritation in your cat’s eyes is due to exposure to a certain irritant, it is essential to try and remove it from home before consulting your vet.
9. Feline upper respiratory tract infections
Certain types of respiratory infections can spread, causing eye infections. Usually, these additional eye infections secondary to upper respiratory infections are from viruses, bacteria, or parasites. The common signs and symptoms of these infections include squinting and rubbing. Other symptoms that might indicate that your cat has these infections include swelling, nasal discharge, redness, sneezing, and eye discharge.
And when you notice any of the above symptoms in your cat, seek veterinary care for treatment. The type of treatment given to your cat depends on the underlying cause of the infection. For instance, vets treat mild infections using some home remedies. This includes ensuring the eyes are clear from the discharge, providing rest, plenty of hydration, and a healthy diet. However, severe infections require treatment that includes eye drops, topical ointment, and systemic antibiotics.
8. Retinal problems
Retinal problems are common in cats due to other health problems that cause a rise in blood pressure, such as kidney disease and hyperthyroidism. Usually, high blood pressure can cause the tiny blood vessels in the retina to rupture, thus making the retina detach, causing blindness. Hypertensive retinopathy, which refers to damaged blood vessels due to high blood pressure, is one of the common problems present in elderly cats.
Common examples of retinal symptoms are sudden blindness and dilated pupils. In this case, seek immediate veterinarian services. If you note the initial signs of retinal problems like blindness to help save your cat’s vision. It is a serious cat condition requiring immediate action. If you delay treatment for even a few more hours, your cat may be blind.
Blepharitis is an eye inflammation that might affect one or both eyes of your cat. It is a condition that is more common in flat-faced cats such as Himalayans and Persians. Blepharitis can be caused by infections, allergies, inflammatory disorders, and tumors. Some common symptoms of blepharitis include scratching of the eyes, swollen eyelids, crusty areas around the affected eye, and eye discharge.
Blepharitis is a treatable condition, and examples of treatment options available include eye drops or topical ointments. However, in very serious cases, oral antibiotics are given to help deal with the infection. According to the Dutch, home remedies such as warm compressions are allowed to the affected eye to help soothe or alleviate symptoms.
6. Corneal inflammation
Keratitis, also known as corneal inflammation, is an inflammation of the cornea. A bacterial infection commonly causes trauma to the eye or other eye conditions. It can also be caused by exposure of your cat to the herpes virus or secondary to trauma to the cat’s eye from an injury or scratch. Examples of signs and symptoms of keratitis include swelling, redness, excessive tearing, discharge discoloration of the eyes, squinting, and avoidance of bright light. Usually, the treatment option offered to a cat with keratitis depends on the underlying cause, which may involve antiviral medications or topical antibiotics.
A cataract is typically a cloudy area that forms around the lens of the eye, thus blocking light from the object under vision from reaching the back of the eye. in this case, by blocking light from reaching the back of the eye, the retina, whose function is vision results in vision loss or blindness. Usually, the primary cause of cataracts is aging, but it can also be due to inflammation of the uvea or diabetes mellitus. They may also be caused by an electric shock or exposure to toxic substances or radiation. Cataracts can also be a sign of calcium deficiency in your cat.
Common signs and symptoms of cataracts include cloudy or milky appearance. Cataracts are often not easily detected until they have seriously impaired your vision. Therefore, your cat begins showing signs of vision loss, such as moving slowly and bumping into objects. And if your cat starts presenting with any of the above symptoms, you are encouraged to consult your vet, who will rule out other non-age-related causes. Surgery is the recommended treatment for cataracts. According to Hills Pet, your cat can adapt well to vision loss when they have cataracts as long as they are kept indoors.
Generally, Glaucoma is a condition that exerts more pressure on your cat’s eye, leading to loss of vision in the affected eye. And according to Pet Med, Glaucoma has also been considered an emergency condition because if the pressure in the eye is extremely high, it results in immediate loss of vision. The condition is often due to various things that prevent fluid drainage in your eyes, resulting in Glaucoma. The causes include eye tumors, anatomical abnormalities, inflammation, eye infections, and eye trauma. Other cats also have a genetic predisposition to Glaucoma, but it is very rare for both eyes to be affected.
The signs and symptoms of Glaucoma include eye pain, squinting and rubbing of eyes. Also, crying or yowling, and withdrawal from people. The eyes also appear reddened or cloudy. If you suspect that your cat might be having Glaucoma, you are advised to seek immediate vet services. Usually, immediate care is required because the earlier the increased pressure in the cat’s eye is reduced, the better to prevent permanent vision loss. Of importance to note is that in mild cases, Glaucoma resolves after the cause is dealt with. However, severe cases require continuous management to prevent fluid accumulation in the eye.
Eye inflammation is a condition that occurs when the colored part of the eye. Therefore, uveitis is a very painful concern that impacts your cat’s vision if no treatment is given. Some common signs and symptoms of eye inflammation include cloudiness. Additionally, excessive tearing, alteration in the pupil size of a cat’s eye, and discharge.
Usually, uveitis occurs secondary to bacterial infection. Additionally, eye trauma, parasitic diseases such as cancer, autoimmune diseases, and infectious concerns like the feline immunodeficiency virus. Therefore, the treatment option offered for your cat depends on the underlying cause. For instance, if the cause is bacterial, antibiotics are given to treat the infection, thus reducing your cat’s eye inflammation. However, if the cause is cancerous, surgery is recommended to remove the tumor.
2. Corneal ulcers
Usually, corneal ulcers are open sores found on the surface of your cat’s eye, making the affected part appear cloudy. In most cases, corneal ulcers usually occur when the cornea is damaged. This happens as your cat is scratching its eye, trying to satisfy an itch. As a result, debris, dirt, and small bugs enter the eye, causing an infection. Fellow cats or other animals can also scratch your cat’s cornea while playing. The signs and symptoms of corneal ulcers include squinting and rubbing of the eyes, redness, eye pain, and discharge.
Usually, corneal ulcers go away once the cause of the ulcers has been dealt with. But your veterinarian may also prescribe antibiotic drops or ointment to help alleviate your cat’s pain. However, deep ulcers in the eye may require surgery followed by post-operative care for proper healing. Therefore, with proper treatment, these ulcers heal, but if no care or treatment is given can result in permanent blindness together with disfigurement. Therefore, you are encouraged to seek immediate veterinarian services before serious complications arise that might cause permanent vision loss.
Conjunctivitis is a common cat eye infection, also referred to as pink eye. And just like human beings, cats also suffer from conjunctivitis, which is characterized by an inflammation of the muscle lining the eyeball. Common symptoms of conjunctivitis include sticky eye discharge, reddish or pink color in the eye, and swelling. The cat eye infection can be caused by an allergen, bacterial or viral infection. If the cause is bacterial, the veterinarian prescribes antibiotics to deal with the infection, thus reducing the inflammation.
And if the cause is viral oral or topical antiviral medications are given because viruses do not respond to antibiotics. However, suppose the inflammation is due to an allergen. In that case, your care provider advises you to try and determine which specific allergen your cat is allergic to and keep it away from your cat. Some antihistamine medications are given to deal with allergic reactions, thus reducing inflammation. According to ASPCA Pet Health Insurance, conjunctivitis is very painful and can affect your cat’s vision to worsen if left untreated. Therefore, you are encouraged to consult your veterinarian when you note the initial signs of conjunctivitis.
How can you tell if your cat has an eye infection or problem?
You are supposed to be very keen and observant to determine whether your cat has an eye infection. In most cases, if your cat keeps holding one eye shut, rubbing, squinting, avoiding light, has excess eye discharge, and paws its eye, it’s more likely to have an eye problem. However, other serious cat problems like retinal or cataracts require advanced checkups for diagnosis. Therefore, if you note any of the above symptoms, you are supposed to consult your veterinarian for diagnosis and treatment before severe complications arise.
Can cat eye infections go away on their own?
Cat eye infections can come and go independently in some cases, but others, like those caused by viruses, occur repeatedly. They usually come and go with time, meaning they will occur, start improving, go away for some time, and later come back again. Even though these infections can go away independently, diagnosing and treating them is essential to ensure they do not return.
How can you treat your cat’s eye infection?
Generally, there are various ways in which you can treat your cat’s eye infection, depending on its cause. Even though the infection can resolve independently, your veterinarian may prescribe a topical ointment or eye drops for your cat. But in severe cases, oral antibiotics are prescribed to deal with the underlying cause of the infection.
In a nutshell, cat eye infections can be painful for your cat to bear, and may require immediate action and proper treatment. Therefore, if you begin noting symptoms like redness, squinting, rubbing, or eye discharge, you are encouraged to take your cat to the vet for diagnosis and treatment. Consulting your vet when your cat has an infection is essential because it promotes comfort by providing symptomatic relief and evaluating whether the infection is a symptom of a more serious underlying medical condition.