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Conjunctivitis (Pinkeye) in Cats - Types, Symptoms, Causes and Treatments

Purulent Conjunctivitis continued...

Conjunctivitis due to fungal infection is rare and requires special laboratory aid for diagnosis.

Treatment: Purulent conjunctivitis requires eye irrigations and sometimes warm soaks to loosen crusted eyelids. Antibiotics are applied to the eye surface several times a day. They should be continued for seven days beyond apparent cure. An ointment containing a combination of neomycin, bacitracin, and polymyxin (such as Neosporin ophthalmic ointment) often works well.

If the condition is caused by chlamydophila or mycoplasma, eyedrops containing tetracycline or chloramphenicol are the antibiotics of choice. Chlamydophila conjunctivitis can result from cats shedding organisms in their stool or urine after the infection appears to be cleared. This carrier state can be treated by your veterinarian with a three-week course of doxycycline or a week of azithromycin.

Deep-seated infections are difficult to clear up. In such cases, you should suspect involvement of the tear drainage system. Repeated cleansing of the eye, correction of any underlying problem, and specific topical and oral antibiotics tailored to cultures and sensitivities form the primary approach to this problem.

Antiviral eye medications are available for the treatment of viral conjunctivitis. They must be prescribed by a veterinarian. Cats with herpesvirus often have chronic recurrent conjunctivitis and may periodically be a source of infection for other cats. Research at Colorado State University is using a new antiviral drug, cidofovir, to treat cats with herpes conjunctivitis. This medication needs to be given twice a day and is not as irritating to the cat as other antiviral medications.

Follicular Conjunctivitis

This is a condition in which the small mucous glands (also called follicles) on the underside of the nictitating membrane form a rough, cobblestone surface that irritates the eye and produces a mucoid discharge. Various pollens, allergens, and infective agents are implicated as causes. After the initiating factor has been removed, these follicles may remain enlarged. The roughened surface of the conjunctiva then acts as a persistent irritant to the eye.

Treatment: A steroid-based eye ointment can be used to decrease the size of the follicles and smooth the surface. If steroids are not effective, your veterinarian can mechanically or chemically cauterize the follicles. Steroids should not be used unless an infectious cause has been ruled out.

WebMD Veterinary Reference from "Cat Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook"

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