Have you ever had conjunctivitis or any other type of eye infection? Personally I have, and if you are like me, you know that it’s very uncomfortable and can even be painful.
Your cats can also develop an eye infection. Does your cat have swollen eyes? Conjunctivitis in cats is quite common. In this article, we give you tools for how to treat conjunctivitis in cats from the comfort of your home. I will also discuss the symptoms of eye infections in cats, causes and other relevant information.
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We want to keep you well informed so that you can contribute to the well-being of your animal. If you are already one of our thousands of satisfied customers, you may know that our professionals have created an entirely natural remedy for you, specifically to treat your kitty cat’s eye infections.
Now let's get to the heart of the matter. Firstly, I’ll explain the causes of conjunctivitis in cats. Read on to find out why your cat gets these nasty infections.
What is conjunctivitis?
Before going any further, I would like to answer this very simple question. Conjunctivitis is defined as inflammation of the conjunctiva. The conjunctiva is the transparent tissue covering part of the eyeball and the inside of the eyelids.
Causes of conjunctivitis in cats
Why does your cat have conjunctivitis? There are, in fact, several answers to this question. A cat's conjunctivitis can be caused by either a viral or bacterial agent. Let's take a closer look.
Feline herpes virus
Shelters are often overflowing with kittens that have an eye infection, combined with acute upper respiratory tract damage (rhinotracheitis). In most cases, this is viral conjunctivitis, caused by none other than feline herpes virus type 1. This initial manifestation of the virus usually lasts 10 to 14 days.
It is estimated that 80% of cats develop a dormant form of the virus, meaning that the virus never leaves their body and has the potential to reappear at any time. Of course, it may never reappear. In cats with the virus, 45% could either transmit the virus despite the absence of symptoms or develop clinical signs, such as recurrent conjunctivitis.
As with feline herpes, the transmission of feline chlamydia is facilitated by direct contact between animals, so it spreads quickly between cats living under the same roof. This time it stems from a bacterial conjunctivitis.
A cat infected with the Chlamydophila felis bacteria will usually show eye symptoms, such as the development of conjunctivitis. Cats with chlamydia do not necessarily have respiratory problems, but may also present with mild respiratory symptoms.
These two pathogens are the most frequent causes of feline conjunctivitis. However, there are others that exist, such as an autoimmune reaction. Conjunctivitis could also be due to an eye injury or the presence of a small foreign body.
What are the symptoms of conjunctivitis in a cat?
Have you ever heard of the expression "pink eye"? It refers to conjunctivitis. While the eye is inflamed, it takes on a pinkish or even red tint. It’s one of the main symptoms of conjunctivitis in cats. Here are other signs to watch for:
- Pink eye
- Swollen eyes
- Your cat keeping its eyes half closed, or closed
- Eye discharge (sometimes yellow or green)
- Rubbing or scratching at the eyes
- Less enthusiasm
- Nictitating membrane (third eyelid) swollen and visible
- Crusted eyes
Some of these symptoms could also indicate an allergy.
How to treat conjunctivitis in cats?
Effective treatment first requires the identification of the cause of the conjunctivitis. We want, at the very least, to have the animal examined to rule out the possibility of a foreign body or the possibility of allergies, before establishing a treatment plan.
If your cat also has significant respiratory problems (in the case of feline herpes), it’s important that you see a vet immediately. Young cats in particular are very fragile. In these cases, the vet will make sure that the animal receives sufficient oxygen and will offer supportive treatments, such as intravenous fluids if necessary. Since the virus usually clears up on its own in about two weeks, antivirals are generally not required.
When it comes to treating conjunctivitis directly, antibiotic and / or anti-inflammatory eye drops are likely to be prescribed. Purulent (thick, yellow or green) discharge from the eyes is often a sign of bacteria, so antibiotics are helpful in these cases.
Natural home remedies to treat conjunctivitis in cats
Here are some tips for things that you can do at home to care for your cat’s conjunctivitis. These are not magic recipes for treating acute conjunctivitis, however, they can be of great help at the first signs of an eye infection.
Cleaning and irrigation
Do you think that your cat has conjunctivitis because its eyes are crusty? You can help relieve this by preparing a homemade saline solution to temporarily clean and irrigate the eyes (it is more prudent to use an ophthalmic irrigation solution made for veterinary use).
To prepare a homemade cleaning solution, some suggest this recipe :
Mixing ¼ teaspoon of salt with a cup of lukewarm water. Then soak a gauze in this solution and use it to place a few drops of the solution in the cat’s eyes, in order to rinse them. You can then clean the edges of the eyelids and remove the crusts by moistening them. This will prevent blockage of the tear ducts.
Compresses of warm / hot water can also be placed on your cat's eyes a few minutes at a time, a few times a day, to dilate the tear ducts and facilitate the flow of eye secretions. This will certainly improve the cat’s comfort.
Homeopathic natural product
We are happy to suggest the HomeoAnimal CONJUNCTIVITIS product. It’s made entirely of natural ingredients and its anti-inflammatory properties help soothe the eyes of a cat affected by this condition. It also helps in case of tearing.
As mentioned above, it’s perfect for pets at the onset of conjunctivitis and can be used for both cats and dogs. It is therefore a product which is very useful to have on hand and that allows you to intervene quickly in the event of conjunctivitis in your cat.
How to prevent conjunctivitis in cats, or speed up its treatment?
If you know that your cat has feline herpes, it might be worthwhile adding a daily L-Lysine supplement to their food, available from your vet. It’s an essential amino acid that slows the progression of infection by a virus, and may even prevent its recurrence.
As silly as it sounds, putting a cone on your cat's head will also help speed up the effectiveness of this treatment. This will prevent the cat from rubbing its eyes with its paws, which puts new bacteria in its eyes.
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.
Is conjunctivitis contagious for cats and humans?
Conjunctivitis is very contagious between cats. As the probable cause is either viral or bacterial, it’s 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.
That’s all for my overview on conjunctivitis in cats. You are now well informed to successfully cope with this condition!
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