Sometimes benign, conjunctivitis in cats can also raise the suspicion of a more serious pathology. It must therefore always be the subject of a consultation with the veterinarian. Although it is quite common in small cats, this inflammation of the eye or both eyes must in all cases be treated without delay in order to limit the risk of complications. It is of course necessary to identify its exact cause so that the cat benefits from the treatment best suited.
Conjunctivitis in cats: the causes
Conjunctivitis is defined by a inflammation of the eye tissue. It can be of origin:
- Allergic : the allergen is often difficult to identify. It can be a chemical, a material or even a pollen for example.
- Traumatic : This is the case when the inflammation is due to a scratch that resulted in an injury. But sometimes the cause is dry eye, a foreign body in the eye. Conjunctivitis of traumatic origin can also be due to ectropion or entropion. In the first case, the eyelid rolls up outwards, in the second case it rolls up inwards.
- Infectious : in this category we find:
- the original conjunctivitis bacterial (chlamydia),
- the original conjunctivitis parasitic,
- the original conjunctivitis viral (leucosis, coryza, infectious feline peritonitis).
Every form of conjunctivitis in cats deserves the veterinarian’s full attention. As for the master, he must take the necessary measures so that his other cats are not contaminated because the conjunctivitis spreads very easily from one cat to another. It may be useful to keep the affected cat at home for a few days, if possible for the duration of treatment.
Conjunctivitis: the main symptoms
Depending on the type of conjunctivitis, a cat may exhibit some of the following symptoms:
- Tearing in one or both eyes
- The discharge of a clear or thick liquid either greenish or yellowish, with or without pus,
- Conjunctival hyperemia, that is to say localized redness accompanied by swelling which is a good indication of the inflammatory phenomenon,
- The involuntary closure of the eyelid. These are lateral or bilateral hemifacial spasms. This is called blepharospasm.
- Respiratory disorders.
In the majority of cases, the cat with conjunctivitis frequently runs its paw over its eye but this fails to relieve it. He may even make things worse because his hair can be more or less soiled.
Treatment of conjunctivitis in cats
After having identified the cause of the conjunctivitis, the veterinarian can administer the necessary treatment to the animal. If the inflammation is due to the presence of a foreign body, it should be removed from the eye with great care. In this regard, it is strongly recommended not to do it yourself because it requires the use of perfectly adapted equipment in order not to injure the animal and to avoid the risk of aggravation. The eye should then be cleaned with eye drops and an sterile gauze whose fibers are not likely to stick together unlike those of cotton wool. Finally, we apply locally and for a few days a ointment special.
Anti-inflammatory, antihistamines and sometimes even corticosteroids may be prescribed if the conjunctivitis is of allergic origin.
When its cause is infectious, the veterinarian first seeks to identify the virus, bacteria or parasite responsible and gives the cat a specific treatment in the form of an ointment.
In case of dry eye, the little feline must receive several times a day artificial tears to compensate for the lacrimal insufficiency at the origin of conjunctivitis.
Caution should be exercised in the presence of this type of inflammation. You should never decide for yourself to administer eye drops to the cat or even to use an ointment to relieve it (let alone an ointment intended for humans). It can be serious. As we have seen, before treating conjunctivitis it is imperative to be sure of its origin. Only a veterinarian can do this.