Conjunctivitis in cats - what you need to know

Conjunctivitis is the inflammation of the moist tissues in cats’ eyes. It can cause their eyes to discharge fluid and other uncomfortable symptoms, leading to infection.

How to spot if your cat has conjunctivitis

There are several common symptoms of conjunctivitis including:

  • Persistent squinting
  • Regular and excessive blinking
  • Redness of the eye tissue
  • Eye discharge
  • Fluid build-up in the eye
  • Upper respiratory infection

What causes conjunctivitis in cats?

There are several viruses that cause conjunctivitis, one of the most common is the herpes virus. Cats who are regularly exposed to other cats with viral infections are more prone to develop the disease.

Bacteria can also cause conjunctivitis, as can allergies or even a stone or dust particle lodging in the eye. Purebred cats are more likely to develop the disease than other cats. If your cat has dry eye then they may be more likely to get conjunctivitis.

How is conjunctivitis in cats treated?

If there is a suspected allergy causing the infection, the issue should clear up when the cause is removed from your cat’s environment. If the infection is due to a virus or bacteria, there are some commonly prescribed medications to manage the inflammation – including oral and external antibiotics.

It’s a good idea to discuss costs with your vet before you start treatment.

How do I avoid conjunctivitis reoccurring in my cat?

Limiting your cat’s exposure to possibly-affected animals can prevent recurrence of conjunctivitis

If you’re thinking of adopting a cat with conjunctivitis

Make sure you review the clinical history of your new cat and ask for more details on how the conjunctivitis has been treated. You’ll need to sign a disclaimer to confirm you’ve been made aware of the condition. Any cat who’s had treatment is likely to have pet insurance exclusions, so it’s worth discussing potential on-going costs with your vet.

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