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Healthy Cats

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Eye Discharge in Cats

Eye Discharge Treatments

Because so many conditions can lead to eye discharge in cats, you really need to talk to your veterinarian before trying any eye discharge treatments on your cat.

Depending on what your veterinarian finds, treatment for cat eye discharge might include:

  • Feline upper respiratory infections . Specific treatments depend on the cause of the infection as well as how serious it is and may include eye medications, antibiotics, decongestants, and fluids.
  • Conjunctivitis . Pollen, dust, weeds, or other irritants can cause conjunctivitis, which may be treated with antibiotic ointments, many of which have a local anesthetic to reduce pain. Conjunctivitis with fever, diarrhea, and respiratory distress can point to potentially fatal feline infectious peritonitis, though this isn’t very common.
  • Corneal disorders . Treatment depends on what’s troubling your cat’s cornea, but may include keeping kitty’s eyes clean, antibiotic eye ointment or drops, removing loose corneal tissue, cauterization, or surgery.
  • Watery, tearing eyes . Under general anesthesia, your vet may use plain water or saline to flush your cat’s blocked tear duct. If there's an infection, antibiotic eye ointment or drops may be needed.
  • Uveitis . The right treatment depends on what’s causing your cat’s uveitis, though that’s often hard to diagnose. Care may include eye ointment or drops to control inflammation and pain.
  • Feline calicivirus . Secondary bacterial infections, which can cause pneumonia and other serious issues, are common with calicivirus, so always call your vet if you suspect your cat has this disease. Treatment may include symptom control, antibiotics for secondary infections, and good nursing.
  • Dry eye . Many things can cause dry eye, from upper respiratory infection to distemper. Treatment can include eye drops or ointments, immune-suppressing drugs, antibiotics, or artificial tears.

When to See a Vet

Your cat’s eyes are as delicate as they are beautiful. Small problems can quickly turn into serious conditions. If your cat’s eye discharge symptoms don’t clear up within 24 hours or if your cat is squinting, talk to your veterinarian right away.

If you have medications left over from a previous eye problem, don’t use them on your cat’s eyes. Different eye issues call for different medications, and you can end up causing serious injury by using the wrong one.

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