Uveitis is an inflammation of
the inner pigmented structures of the eye. It is one of the most common inner
eye conditions of cats, in part because a number
of feline infectious diseases can involve the eye. They include feline leukemia (FeLV), feline
infectious peritonitis (FIP), especially the granulomatous form), feline immunodeficiency virus
(FIV), toxoplasmosis, herpesvirus,
bartonella, systemic fungal infections, and the larvae of roundworms and heartworms. Uveitis may also be
caused by penetrating eye injuries, blood-borne bacterial infections, and eye
tumors. Uveitis is a serious
disorder that can lead to blindness.
Uveitis is painful. The cat squints, and the affected eye waters. Other
distinguishing signs of uveitis are surface redness and a small pupil. When you
push with your finger against the eyelid, the eye is tender and feels like a
soft grape. Some cats will show a clouding or edema of the cornea and there may
be new blood vessels growing across the cornea. Blood or pus may leak into the
front area of the eye. The accumulation of inflammatory cells may cause the
iris to stick to the lens and lead to secondary glaucoma as a result of
The cat normally has four pairs of mammary glands. The
upper two pairs have a common lymphatic channel and drain into the axillary
(armpit) lymph nodes. The lower pairs also have a common channel and drain into
the inguinal (groin) lymph nodes. Infections and tumors of the breasts may cause enlargement of the
corresponding lymph nodes.
Cats with acute uveitis will have low intraocular pressure. This can
especially be seen when the pressures of both eyes are compared. Serology tests
and titers may be done to look for the inciting cause.
Treatment: Any underlying infectious or systemic illness should be treated.
Corticosteroids reduce intraocular inflammation, but they are used with caution
to prevent exacerbating an underlying systemic illness. Eyedrops such as
atropine may be used to dilate the pupil and relieve pain. Treatment must be
administered under veterinary supervision. Antibiotics may be given as
well to help battle infections. Clindamycin is often used, as well as
azithromycin, to treat toxoplasmosis or bartonella.
Chronic uveitis that goes untreated may be associated with the development
of intraocular cancer.
WebMD Veterinary Reference from "Cat Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook"