Conjunctivitis in Cats

Overview of Feline Conjunctivitis

Conjunctivitis is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, which is the tissue coating the eye and lining the eyelids. Normally, the conjunctiva is moist and glistening with tiny blood vessels coursing through the semilucent tissue. It serves as a protective barrier for the eye by trapping debris and helping to prevent invasion of viruses and bacteria.

Conjunctivitis is a common eye problem in cats. It may be the only eye disease present, or it may be associated with other diseases or eye problems.

Below is an overview of conjunctivitis in cats followed by in-depth detailed information about the diagnosis and treatment options for this disease.


What to Watch For

Diagnosis of Conjunctivitis in Cats

Conjunctivitis is usually diagnosed based on physical exam findings. Your veterinarian will probably perform the following tests:

In some situations, additional tests may be recommended, such as:

Treatment of Conjunctivitis in Cats

Treatment involves symptomatic therapy for the conjunctivitis and instituting treatment for any underlying causes.

Home Care and Prevention

Once diagnosed and started on medications, the eyes should be checked frequently for improvement. Most cases of conjunctivitis improve within 24 to 48 hours after medication is begun. If you notice that your cat is not improving, consult your veterinarian.

Unfortunately, many causes of conjunctivitis are not preventable but veterinary examination and treatment usually resolves the disease rapidly and maintains your cat’s eyes and vision.

In-depth Information on Conjunctivitis in Cats

Feline conjunctivitis is a common eye ailment, but unfortunately the exact cause of the conjunctivitis is often not defined. In cats, there are a variety of diseases that can result in conjunctivitis.

In-depth Information on Diagnosis of Conjunctivitis in Cats

Diagnosing conjunctivitis is based on the physical exam finding of a red, inflamed conjunctiva, usually with associated tearing or other eye discharge. Diagnosing the underlying cause in order to provide precise treatment is difficult. Your veterinarian will probably perform the following tests:

In addition to these tests, your veterinarian may recommend additional tests.

In-depth Information on Treatment of Conjunctivitis in Cats

Since many cases of conjunctivitis are mild and respond to topical anti-inflammatory medications, your veterinarian may chose to prescribe such a drug before proceeding with additional diagnostics. If the conjunctivitis does not resolve in five to seven days, or if it recurs immediately after the medication is stopped, further tests may be needed.

If an exact cause can be determined, the specific treatment is instituted for that cause.