Your cat’s eyes, usually clear and bright, are looking a little gooey. She might be pawing at them, or rubbing her face against the sofa or on the rug. Clearly, something’s wrong. Anything from a simple cold to a serious illness could be be causing your cat’s eye discharge. Learn a few of the more common causes of eye discharge, when to see a vet, and what you can do at home to help your feline friend. Eye Discharge Causes A healthy cat’s eyes should be bright and clear. Eye problems can bring out another cat entirely, one who paws at his eyes, squints, or blinks excessively. Because eye problems can lead to devastating consequences — including surgery or blindness — always talk to your vet when you notice your cat has irritated eyes. A few common reasons for cat eye discharge include: Feline upper respiratory infections. A frequent cause of eye discharge in cats, these can include viruses such as feline calicivirus, a contagious respiratory disease, pneumonitis or rhinotracheitis (herpesvirus), bacteria, and protozoa. Symptoms can be mild or progress to something very serious and may include a sticky, pus-like eye discharge. Conjunctivitis (pink eye) . An inflammation of the light pink lining around your cat’s eye, conjunctivitis can cause one or both of your cat’s eyes to look red and swollen, be light-sensitive, and have clear, teary or thick, mucus eye discharge. Conjunctivitis with fever, diarrhea, and trouble breathing can point to potentially fatal feline infectious peritonitis, though this isn’t very common. Corneal disorders . A cat’s cornea, the dome-shaped surface that covers the front of the eye, can become inflamed, injured, or ulcerated. The result may be cloudiness, excessive blinking, inflammation, and increased tear production. Watery, tearing eyes (epiphora) . Blocked tear ducts, an overproduction of tears, allergies, viral conjunctivitis, and more can be behind your cat’s abnormal tearing. Uveitis. An inflammation of the internal structures of the eye, trauma, cancer, immune problems or infections can cause the serious, often painful inflammation of uveitis. Dry eye (keratoconjunctivitis sicca). A chronic lack of tear production, dry eye can lead to an inflamed cornea, red eyes, and if left untreated, blindness. Because the watery portion of tears is missing, a yellow, gooey eye discharge can result. Other eye discharge causes include feline infectious peritonitis, allergies, something lodged in the eye, or third eyelid problems.
Continued 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. 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 supportive care. 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.
What are Watery Eyes?If your cat has allergies, a foreign object trapped in the eye, or a viral infection similar to the common cold, her eyes could become excessively watery for a temporary period of time. However, if your cat’s eyes have been abnormally watery since birth or for an extended period of time, the problem could be the symptom of a condition that requires veterinary attention.Watery eyes, known as epiphora in the veterinary world, is defined as an abnormal overflow of tears. Veterinarians commonly see epiphora in brachycephalic breeds, such as Himalayans and Persians, whose congenital abnormalities cause an over exposure of the eyeball to the outside world. Watery eyes is also connected to two other congenital abnormalities including distichiasis and entropion, conditions in which the eyelids or eyelashes turn inward causing irritation to the eyeball.
That coating on your cat’s eyes plays a major role in keeping them healthy. Known as the tear film, this layer removes debris. It keeps her eyes moist and provides nutrients. It also fights bacteria. Sometimes that watery discharge is a sign that your cat’s eyes are in full fight mode against a threat to her health. Most of the time, the cause is minor and will clear up on its own. But if you see these signs, a checkup at the vet is in order. Are the tissues around her eyes inflamed and red? If you see this in one or both eyes, along with a watery discharge, there’s a good chance she has conjunctivitis. You may know it by its nickname, pinkeye. It’s the most common eye problem for cats. An infection, an allergy, or even dust can bring it on. It’s contagious, so most cats will have it at least once in their lives. They can get it at any age, but it most often affects young animals. Feline herpes virus also causes pinkeye. Your cat can get shots to protect her from this, but she could have picked it up when she was a kitten. If she has the virus, she’s infected for life. But the vaccine can reduce her symptoms. Easing her stress can prevent flare-ups. If she has an outbreak of herpes-related pinkeye, your vet will prescribe antibiotics and an antiviral drug for you to use. Pinkeye often clears up without treatment. If you see discharge and your cat seems to be in pain, take her to the vet. He’ll make sure that a more serious problem isn’t causing her symptoms. Is the discharge sticky or yellow? Your cat probably has an infection. Lab tests can help your vet figure out what’s causing the problem. Clear mucus means your cat has a virus. The vet will tell you to wait and see if it clears up on its own in a week or two. Green or yellow mucus suggests a bacterial infection. You’ll probably get antibiotic eyedrops or ointment to treat it with.
Recovery of Watery Eyes in CatsRecovery and management of watery eyes in your cat is dependent of the severity of the condition. If your cat has been prescribed medication to alleviate pain due to a foreign object obstruction or antihistamines to relieve allergy symptoms, recovery should begin within a few days. Management will mainly take place at home with occasional trips to the veterinarian. However, if you cat has undergone a surgical procedure, recovery and management will take longer, requiring more veterinarian attention. Your veterinarian will want to reevaluate your cat and check on the progress of the treatment.
Treatment of Watery Eyes in CatsTreating watery eyes in your cat will depend on the underlying cause. Treatment of watery eyes in cats may be include of the following:Removal of the foreign body lodged in the eyeAntihistamine treatment to manage allergies Topical antibiotics for treatment of infectionPain alleviating ointments to aid the healing of trauma, conjunctivitis, and congenital abnormalitiesIn the case of tear duct blockage, a catheter may be placed within the tear duct to open the duct and allow fluid to pass. Surgical repair of the eyelid may be necessary to treat abnormal eyelid formation such as an Entropion. Distichiasis can be treated by removing the hairs using a process called cryosurgery. Eyelid tumors will require aggressive treatment and if caught early, can be surgically removed.
Watery Eyes in cats can be caused by a number of underlying health complications, but it is commonly seen in short faced cats. Short faced, or brachycephalic cat breeds, are genetically predisposed to have short noses and bulging eyes. The outset eyes are not protected from dirt, pollen and other elements that can scratch and inflame the eye, causing the eyes to water. The condition in which portions of the eye become scratched, referring to the conjunctiva of the eye, is known as conjunctivitis. Other causes of watery eyes in cats include the following: