Cats are active, stoic animals that often continue acting normally despite developing a serious illness or injury. When dealing with eye problems, these characteristics can delay treatment and increase the risk of vision loss. Regularly giving your cat a once over will help you spot issues before they cause irreversible damage. Any signs of redness, swelling or discharge require a trip to the vet for a diagnosis and treatment. Vets work quickly to identify and treat the problem to keep further complications to a minimum. Here are three conditions your vet will likely test for during the diagnostic process at a vet clinic.
Vets refer to a simple infection on the eye and eyelid as conjunctivitis, or pink eye. As the name suggests, this type of infection causes swelling and breakage of the tiny blood vessels, which turns the affected eye a bright pink color. Pink eye is highly contagious, so once one eye develops the issue, the other is soon to follow.
In addition to redness, you may notice discharge that looks yellow and crusty after your cat wakes up from a nap. Your cat may rub his or her eyes on furniture, blankets or clothing in an effort to clear the discharge and ease discomfort. Vets frequently treat pink eye with a topical steroid ointment that you apply once or twice a day.
Keratitis is an infection deep in the cornea, rather than on the surface like conjunctivitis. As a result of this infection, the cornea often swells up, causing an immense amount of pain and discomfort.
Ulcers can develop on the surface of the eye if the cat does not receive medical treatment soon after symptoms appear. Preventing ulcers is important, however, as the healed tissue can leave scars that block vision.
If you notice thickening of the cornea coupled with clear discharge, take your cat into the vet right away. The vet will perform a lab test to check for elevated white blood cell counts that indicate the presence of an infection. A combination of steroid and antibiotic medications usually clear up this disorder on an outpatient basis.
The eyes are incredibly susceptible to scratches and abrasions from flying claws and pointed objects as cats run and play alone or with each other. For example, your cat may end up injuring his or her cornea by jumping from limb to limb in a tree or roughhousing with other pets. After the injury occurs, you may notice your cat has extremely watery eyes and protrusion of the third eyelid.
If the cornea is punctured or scratched, your cat may need immediate medical treatment to help the wound heal without developing an infection. If an infection does set in anyway, your cat will likely need an aggressive course of antibiotics. You will also need to keep the eye moist with thick ointment during the recovery period as your cat may be unwilling or unable to blink due to severe pain.
Providing Home Care
After performing the initial stage of treatment, your cat may be sent home with prescription medications, eye drops or ointment needed throughout the recovery period. You must follow the aftercare and administration instructions exactly to help your cat heal quickly and without further complications.
Your cat may act less than cooperative during this time, however, especially when dealing with pain or vision disturbances. Just be patient and do your best to follow the procedures demonstrated by your vet. If you cannot apply the ointment, drops or administer medications without getting scratched up, gently wrap your cat in a towel to keep him or her from clawing at you. If all else fails, you can also consider having your cat stay at the vet overnight for a few days to begin the recovery process.
Hi! My name is Lisa Caldwell, and I often refer to myself as the cat lady. My husband isn’t as proud of that title as I am. Oh, he loves our cats. It’s just that every time he says no more cats, it seems I find a poor little kitten stranded in the snow or wandering the streets. We have a nineteen-year-old cat, a twelve-year-old, and three cats under the age of two. Each one has been rescued or came from the local Humane Society. We also have an eighty-five pound dog who thinks he’s one of the cats. I never bring a new kitten into the house and just toss them into the mix. I have a particular method of introducing a new pet into the household. I am going to share how this works, also how we feed and care for new kittens. Enjoy!