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Monday, 16 May 2011

Cat Pink Eye

feline conjunctivitis
Cat Pink Eye - Feline Conjunctivitis - Photo by Elisa Black-Taylor

Cat pink eye is layman's language for feline conjunctivitis, which is an inflammation of the membrane at the back of the eyelids and the surface of the eyeball not including the cornea (the transparent front part of the eye).

It is fairly common and nearly always caused by a viral and/or bacterial infection. The eye is red/pink. The eye itches. The cat or kitten will paw at the eye. If left untreated it can affect eyesight.

A mild form of cat pink eye is "serous conjunctivitis". It can be caused by non-infectious agents such as allergens. If can also be a symptom of feline viral respiratory disease. It can be treated at home: eye cleansed with sterile ophthalmic irrigation solution as used for people. A vet visit may be advisable, however.

When the cat pink eye is more serious i.e. when there is mucus and crust around the eye a secondary bacterial infection is indicated (chlamydophila or mycoplasma - these are types of bacteria). This is called "purulent conjunctivitis". The first infection, a viral infection might be herpes virus, calcivirus (see URIs).

Feline conjunctivitis can rarely be caused by a fungus.

You will have to take your cat/kitten to a vet I am afraid. Treatments include irrigation, warm soaks and antibiotics to treat the bacterial infection (Neosporin ophthalmic ointment for example - USA product).

The condition can be perpetuated by organisms being shed in the cat's stool or urine - carrier state. A vet will deal with this through a 3 week course of treatment - see the vet please.

There are two other forms of feline conjunctivitis listed in the Cat Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook: Follicular Conjunctivitis and Neonatal Conjunctivitis. The first is an irritation of the eye leading to a discharge that is caused by rough mucous glands. It is thought that the glands become rough due to allergens, pollens and infections. A vet is once again required and steroids might be prescribed. The latter condition is a bacterial infection below the eyelids. It happens before the newborn kitten's eyes open up.

Update from Elisa: The mother's nipples may need to be wiped after nursing as this can spread the condition to all of the kittens..thanks Elisa.

The cat in the picture is called "Pinky" and at the time the photo was taken Pinky couldn't see. This might be temporary. We will see. He's on Clavamox and Gentamicin antibiotic eye drops. Here are two photos showing slow progress. The first one I find very hard to look at to be honest:

kitten with pink eye feline conjunctivitis
Two days before the pic below - Photo copyright Elisa

kitten with pink eye feline conjunctivitis
Two days after the photo above
photo copyright Elisa

feline conjunctivitis
Pinky about 2 weeks later
- Photo copyright Elisa

You can see in the last image that Elisa has worked her magic with plenty of TLC and the right antibiotics. I can feel the relief from the irritation and discomfort. Well done Elisa. The job is not quite finished but a massive improvement.

Another update - Pinky getting better - phew. I felt for him:

feline conjunctivitis
Pinky getting better thanks to  Elisa's devoted work
photo copyright Elisa

Here is another update. A photo of Pinky taken 27th May 2011. I have cropped to a close up of the eyes and enhanced the contrast etc. to show up the legacy of this severe bacterial infection. He is much, much better but still has a little way to go to be in good health.

after effects of feline conjunctivitis
Last bits of feline conjunctivitis - photo copyright Elisa.

1-6-11 - The improvement continues - phew
I can feel the relief - Photo: Elisa

Update September 2015 - about 2-3 years later. Here is Pinky looking adult with slight "scaring" (around his nose - or am I incorrect?) from his horrible conjunctivitis but his eyes look fine now. He has been adopted. A good ending to a bad start to life. Elisa deserves a pat on the back for getting him over that terrible period.


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23 comments:

  1. My cat had cat pink eye and my vet fixed it for me. I am so grateful. I was worried out of my mind.

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    1. It looks horrible and I felt for this cat. Think of the discomfort. Must make cats miserable.

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  2. This has been the most drug resistant case of pink eye I've ever seen. Most have cleared up in 5 days or less. We've just kept at it. He's almost well now.

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    1. I have just added an updating photo from your Instagram page to show he has recovered and been adopted. Well done Elisa. You probably saved his eyesight.

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  3. You've done great work, Elisa. Is his eye sight OK?

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  4. My cat has kust a vety little bit of crusies as i call them in the corner of the eyes. I was tolf that angel eyes natural works wonders. Any advice?

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  5. Gail/Boston, USA4 December 2012 at 22:33

    Can Conjunctivitis be spread from cat to dog?

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    1. Sorry it is 2 years late almost. It would have to pass from cat to dog and the virus that causes it is specific to cats as I understand it. Sometimes a secondary bacterial infection is involved but that is not infectious.

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  6. Oh thank God kitty is better - just too precious to be sick!

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    1. It looks horrible. Elisa nursed Pinky to health. It was pretty serious.

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    2. he is so cute, how is he doing today?

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    3. He is doing fine, I believe. I'll ask to make sure but he is in good hands.

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  7. Hello there! I have a very similar cat, in a very similar condition! I have found it in the streets, last year in May and her eyes were just like Pinky's! I am since treating her with all kinds of eye drops and oral tablets. I have taken her to three different vets, who also treated her, injections included, but her eyes and her nose are still running! I am starting to wonder if this will ever go away!! Her eye secretions have also turned pink now! I am still using eye drops everyday, otherwise her eyes become very cloudy and the discharge even more severe! I don't know what else to do! Please help Whitey!!!

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    1. Antibiotics are the cure. Clavamox and Gentamicin antibiotic eye drops. You have not mentioned antibiotics. This condition is treatable. She appears to have a viral infection as well. A good vet should be able to deal with this unless there is an underlying illness as well. I feel sad for her and I wish you the best of luck.

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    2. Well, I did try for about two months gentamicin eye drops, then tobradex eye drops and eye ointment for another couple of months, then betapioptal and nowdays ciprofloxacin eye drops. Oral tablets included synulox and augmentin. I don't know what medicines have the vets used, but each of them gave him 3 to 5 shots. All these treatments have had effects for as long as they were administered and maybe a few days after, but then the discharge was back and is still ongoing :(( Should I request an antibiogram perhaps? I don't know what else to do, I am desperate when I see this poor little soul, with his white fur all dirty like this :((

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    3. Yes, the antibiogram may help. I'd have thought antibiotics would fix this. It may be a question of how long the antibiotics are given but what do I know? The vet should know. What explanation do they give as to why there has been no long term improvement? It is distressing to see your cat in discomfort. Have you tested for underlying illnesses such as FeLV? These sorts of illnesses depress the immune system making recovery harder.

      http://pictures-of-cats.org/adoptable-felv-cats.html

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    4. Thank you so much for your answers! I shall try the antibiogram and also test for FeLV. The vets don't really know, they just say let's wait and see how it progresses... Will keep you updated!

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    5. Ask you vet about any underlying major illness. Another one is FIV. FeLV and FIV are rare in domestic cats but your cat was a street cat where these diseases are more common. Good luck. Tests will be required I am afraid.

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    6. Yep! Will do that. If I think about it, I realize that my other cat also got sick with her eyes and I took them both to the vet; the other one got well straight away after the treatment, whereas this one is still in the same condition, so it must be her immune system, I am afraid :(

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  8. I don't have money for a vet visit anything I can do I do wet rags and antibiotics I am waiting to do eye drops will that be enough

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    1. I think that will be enough if you are consistent and the infection is not too bad. Do you have the correct antibiotics? Although to be brutally honest, you should see a vet and if you can't afford it it means that you are not genuinely able to provide the best care for your cat. Good luck though.

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    2. I got eye was from the dollar general it worked in two days he's doing so much better

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    3. Excellent news. Well done and good luck.

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