Ophthalmia Neonatorum in Kittens

Ophthalmia Neonatorum in Kittens

Ophthalmia neonatorum is an infection of the conjunctiva (the thin layer of tissue that lines the eyelids) or cornea (the transparent structure that makes up the front part of the eye). It occurs before or just after the eyelids open in kittens, usually during the first 10 to 14 days of life.

This infection is often associated with Staphylococcus bacteria in dogs and cats. In kittens, it is may also be associated with feline herpesvirus. Vaginal infection of the mother at the time of birth and an unclean environment predispose the baby to this infection.

What to Watch For

Diagnosis of Ophthalmia Neonatorum in Kittens

A full physical examination of the dam and neonate are important. Tests may include:

Treatment of Ophthalmia Neonatorum in Kittens

Home Care and Prevention

Your veterinarian may order warm compresses to help prevent the eyelids from closing again and to keep the face clean. Apply all medication as directed by your veterinarian. If your pet appears to show signs of systemic illness, like lethargy, decreased appetite or reluctance to nurse, vomiting or diarrhea, contact your veterinarian at once.

Keep the newborn’s environment clean and examine each kitten every day for signs of illness.