Corneal ulcer in cats: symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and prevention

Corneal ulcer is a serious problem to which cats who fight with their congeners are particularly exposed. But it can have other causes. Let’s find out in more detail what is more precisely this lesion on the surface of the cornea which can, in certain cases, seriously impair vision in cats in the event of bacterial superinfection. Let’s also see what are the main symptoms who should alert and what treatment can be considered.

What is the cornea?

The cornea is the transparent part that surrounds the anterior area of ​​the eyeball. It is more precisely in front of the pupil and the iris. It’s kind of convex natural lens which ensures a protective role and transmits light to the retina and the lens. It is therefore very involved in the extremely complex mechanism of vision. She is constantly nourished by tears.

Main causes of corneal ulcer in cats

Corneal ulcer is a fairly common problem in cats that can have various origins, such as:

  • The scratches in one eye during fights between cats (by far the most common cause of ulceration in these animals),
  • Poor implementation of eyelashes (quite rare in cats),
  • The introduction of a spikelet into the eye or another foreign body (traumatic origin),
  • The tear dryness, that is to say an absence of tears (we commonly speak of “dry eye”),
  • Herpes or other viral disease.

It is necessary to check the state of the eyes of the animal when it returns from an escapade in full nature because it may be perforated retina by infiltrating, for example, branches.

Corneal ulcer symptoms

The master of the little feline must do everything to get an appointment at the veterinary as soon as possible if their cat exhibits one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Tremor in one of the eyelids,
  • An eye that remains closed,
  • The cat tries to rub one eye insistently,
  • Redness around the eye which, in addition, is very painful,
  • A part of the iris that protrudes outside the eye, which is recognizable as a blackish ball,
  • A purulent discharge,
  • A loss of transparency of the cornea resulting in a bluish reflection.

These are apparent manifestations. Other symptoms are possible, but if the cat’s eye remains closed, their owner may not notice them.

How to treat corneal ulcer in a cat?

It is important that the animal is taken care of urgently by a veterinarian who may have to perform different exams to identify the cause of corneal ulcer with certainty. A dye is applied to visualize the ulcer, but the practitioner usually uses a bacterial culture and perform a blood test. He also measures the blood pressure of the diseased eye, quantifies the production of tears and if he deems it necessary, he can even practice under local anesthesia a scarification or a scraping in order to carry out all the useful investigations to confirm his diagnosis.

The veterinarian first prescribes a Pain killer then topical treatment to limit the risk of an infectious complication such as antibiotics. Ointment and eye drops are part of the treatment. In many cases, a few days are sufficient for the healing to be complete. If the origin of the corneal ulcer is a viral disease, of course, specific treatment will be prescribed.

In some cases, in order to keep the eyeball when the cornea has been punctured, it may be necessary to perform surgical intervention. But for the prognosis to be favorable, the procedure must be carried out within 12 hours (at the latest before a period of 48 hours). Surgery is the solution that also corrects an anomaly at the origin of the corneal ulcer. It is also essential for fill a loss of substance at least equal to 50%. Thus, the cornea recovers its strength. Finally, a cornea transplant can be considered. In all cases, a control visit is required at the end of treatment.

It is important that this type of problem not be overlooked, even if the ulcer appears superficial. The eye is a extremely vulnerable organ, and any impairment may result in partial or total loss of vision. It is also necessary to take the precaution of equipping your cat with a collarette collar for the duration of the treatment and also if it has been treated surgically. This helps prevent scratching which greatly increases the risk of infection and delays healing.

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