My Cat’s Eye Is Watering. 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.
My Cat’s Eye Is Watering
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. My Cat’s Eye Is Watering
Epiphora in Cats Epiphora is a condition that causes an abnormal overflow of tears. Causes of epiphora due to the shape of the eyes is seen in many breeds. The overproduction of tears can be congenital due to distichiasis – turning in of the eyelashes, or entropion – the turning in of the eyelid. The upper or lower lid may be affected. This condition may occur secondary to eye irritation. An absence of the eyelid is also possible in domestic shorthair cats. Symptoms and Types Epiphora is evident with the observation of an overflow of tears; tear drainage and/or staining on face. Other signs include: Squinting Inflammation Redness and irritation Discharge from eye Ulcers of the cornea Skin around eye is loose or sagging Congenital abnormalities include the occurrence of too large an opening of the eyelids, causing increased exposure of the eyeball in brachycephalic breeds. Entropion is seen at birth in some breeds and can be acquired due to post-traumatic eyelid scarring and facial nerve paralysis. Eyelid tumors can be characterized by a small, raised patch of skin on the eyelid. Eyelid tumors are rare in cats, but when they do occur, the most common type is the squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), and the most commonly affected cats are white cats with non-pigmented eyelid margins. Causes Conditions acquired by a cat can lead to epiphora. These conditions include rhinitis/sinusitis, which causes swelling adjacent to the tear drainage system; trauma or fractures of the bones in the face; foreign bodies in the eyes (e.g., grass, seeds, sand, parasites). Tumors of the third eyelid, the conjunctiva of the eye, eyelids, nasal cavity, maxillary bone in the face, or in the sinuses located around the eyes will also be considered. A condition that causes the nasolacrimal duct (tear duct) to be obstructed, whether through inflammation due to an acquired condition, or because of a congenital abnormality, may also cause an overflow of tears. Blockage of the nasolacrimal drainage system can be caused by congenital lack of normal openings on the eyelids into the tear drainage system. Extra openings can also form into the tear drainage system in abnormal positions, such as openings along the side of the face below the corner of the eye, closest to the nose. Other possibilities include lack of openings from the tear drainage system into the nose. Inflammation of the eyelids and conjunctiva can be due to infectious or immune-mediated causes. Disorders of the cornea are characterized by the presence of scratches/ulcers with or without inflammation. Inflammation of the front part of the eye, including the iris, can be present. Glaucoma is a condition in which the pressure within the eye is increased.
Eyelid tumors are typically seen in older cats, especially those that spend a lot of time outdoors. Diagnosis Your veterinarian will perform a thorough physical exam on your cat, taking into account the background history of symptoms and possible incidents that might have precipitated this condition. Your veterinarian may order radiographs to check for lesions in the nose or sinus area, and contrast material may be used to help differentiate structures. Your doctor may also order a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT) scan. In addition, a culture of the material in the eyes will be taken for laboratory analysis. However, surgical exploration may be the only way to obtain a definitive diagnosis. A flushing of the tear ducts may be used to dislodge any foreign material. If irritation is evident, your veterinarian may also employ the use of a fluorescein stain, a non-invasive dye that shows details of the eye under blue light, in order to examine the eye for abrasions or foreign objects. 1 2 Next nerveA bundle of fibers that are used in the process of sending impulses through the body nasolacrimal ductThe passage that brings tears into the nose prognosisThe prediction of a disease’s outcome in advance sinusA cavity within a bone; may also indicate a flow or channel sinusitisA medical condition; occurs when the sinus becomes inflamed lymph nodesSmall structures that filter out the lymph and store lymphocytes scleraThe outer layer of the eye that helps it to keep its round shape; the eye white. irisThe colored layer around the pupil ductsA passage in the body with walls distichiasisA condition in which there are two rows of lashes in place of one entropionTurning in of the eyelids epiphoraThe excessive production of tears brachycephalicAn animal with a wide head, short in stature. intactDenotes an animal that is still able to reproduce or is free of cuts and scrapes lesionA change in the way that tissue is constructed; a sore.
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