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Eye inflammation in cats

If your cat has watery eyes or has red mucous membranes, it could be a sign of inflammation. Eye inflammation in cats is not uncommon and the sooner you notice it and get help, the better. Here you will find out common symptoms and how to treat eye inflammation in cats.
Close up of a grey cat with bright eyes

Eye inflammation in cats can affect just one eye or both eyes. Often, an infection will start in one eye. The bacteria is then spread to the other eye when the cat washes itself or rubs their eyes with their paws.

Eye inflammation can also be called conjunctivitis.

Why do cats get eye inflammation?

Eye inflammation can have many causes. It could be due to an allergy or that your cat got something in the eye that irritates. It can also be a sign of an infection, often caused by a virus. 

If you suspect that your cat has suffered from eye inflammation, it is important to have it examined by a veterinarian.

Symptoms in cats with eye inflammation

  • Watery eyes
  • Red/pink mucous membranes
  • Difficulty opening one or both eyes
  • Itching in or around the eyes
  • Squinting

Diagnosis and treatment of eye inflammation in cats

It is important to get a correct diagnosis in cats with eye inflammation. The symptoms can also be a sign of a different disease or infection.

Often, the diagnosis needs to be extended with samples from the conjunctiva for diagnosis of possible infection caused by chlamydia, herpes or mycoplasma. They are found naturally in the cat but can cause inflammation if the cat's immune system is impaired. If, for example, herpes or chlamydia is the cause of the eye inflammation, the cat is treated with antibiotics.

Other examinations such as special staining of the cornea and blood tests may also be needed to make a diagnosis and give the cat the correct treatment.

For milder complaints, local treatment in the form of daily eye cleaning and tear substitutes is usually sufficient. Eye drops are a form of treatment that is very suitable if the cat suffers from dry eyes.

Even small superficial wounds in the cornea of ​​the eye that have caused inflammation can be treated with soothing eye drops. If you have discovered that the cat has got something in the eye, you should preferably not try to take it out yourself. See a vet instead.

In the case of physical injuries, it is very important that the cat gets help quickly as they are painful and can cause permanent eye damage.

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