Kitten Eye Infection
A Guide to Treating Kitten Eye Infection
While any kind of infection is a cause for concern, a kitten eye infection is very normal and completely treatable. These infections are very common among stray cats and those who have been picked up off of the streets and taken to shelters for adoption. Usually the first sign of an eye infection is an eye that is runny or looks like it is has some sort of goop in one corner.
The first thing you should do if you suspect a kitten eye infection is go to the vet as antibiotics might need to be prescribed. Alternatively, you can wipe out the eye with a soft wet cloth and keep it clean. If it fails to heal in a few days, antibiotics are probably going to be the only thing to completely get rid of the infection.
You have to be careful with a kitten eye infection because the eye of a cat is very complex. The outer part that you see is called the cornea. It is usually clear to look at but it can be infected and is easily injured. The sclera is the part of the eye that you can see which is white. It is usually not involved in a kitten eye infection. Another part of the eye, the conjunctiva, is the pink part which attaches to the sclera and the underside of the eyelids. This part of the eye is easily inflamed and where conjunctivitis sets in.
There is also a third eyelid which can become swollen in an eye infection but it is very hard to see. In fact most people do not even know that there cat has a third eyelid. Sometimes when a cat is traumatized they will close the third eye and it looks like they have no eyes at all. The third eyelid can be swollen due to an eye infection and then it will be a little more visible.
The most common of all viruses when it comes to a kitten eye infection is conjunctivitis. It is also the most common eye infection for adult cats. One of the biggest reasons is that conjunctivitis is highly contagious. Plus, once a cat has the virus, it can have it for life. That means that it can reoccur at any time and be spread to other cats every time the virus becomes active. Along with the eye swelling and discharge which is noticeable, the virus also causes frequent sneezing.
Other kitten eye infection causes are bacterial infections. Two of the most common are herpes-virus and Chlamydia. These are both very contagious to other cats. An injury to the cornea is also a ripe spot for an eye infection. This can be something as simple as a scratch or as complex as an eye taking a blow or other major trauma. The eye can be runny and there can be broken blood vessels.
A kitten eye infection is most often treated with some kind of prescription ointment which you can apply to the eye. The most common is Terramycin, which contains tetracycline. You should have a vet examine the eye to make sure that all that is wrong is an infection and nothing that needs to be repaired surgically. Depending on the type and extent of the infection, you might need to isolate your cat from other cats until the eye has healed.
The best way to prevent eye infections in cats is to make sure your cat gets all of the necessary vaccines, beginning as a kitten. The reason so many stray cats have eye infections is because they have never been vaccinated against feline herpes-virus, Chlamydia, and calicivirus. Keeping up with their shots won’t necessarily keep your cat from ever getting an eye infection, but it will help. Plus, if they do get one, the symptoms will not be as severe.