For the purrfect feline eyes…

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Your kitty is prone to conjunctivitis. If you spot signs of conjunctivitis, rush to her vet immediately to avoid discomfort and save her eyesight. Here’s more on this red eye disease.
What is conjunctivitis?
Conjunctivitis (pink eye) is a common eye problem in cats. It is the inflammation of conjunctiva, a membrane
Sudhersena
lining the inner eyelids and the eyeball. It covers the third eyelid also. A healthy conjunctiva is pink in colour but when it is infected, it becomes red and swollen.
Harmful effects of conjuctivitis
If conjunctivitis is left untreated, it may lead to a lot of discomfort to your feline friend and may seriously affect the eyesight. Conjuctivitis may affect one eye or both.
Symptoms of conjuctivitis
The common symptoms of conjuctivitis are:

  • Reddened and swollen conjunctiva, particularly in the corner of the eye.
  • Discharge from the eye, either clear or pus-like
  • Third eyelid protrusion.
  • Squinting eye.
  • Cat eye infections may be accompanied by frequent sneezing and possibly an upper respiratory tract infection.

Causes of conjuctivitis
The underlying causes for conjunctivitis can be broadly classified as non-infectious or infectious. Trauma to the eyes, allergies, foreign objects, and chemicals are some of the non-infectious causes. Common infectious causes can be due to feline chlamydia (a type of bacteria), feline mycoplasma (a group of organisms somewhat like bacteria) and Feline Herpesvirus Type-1 (FHV-1). FHV-1 is an upper respiratory virus, also known as rhinotracheitis and is not transferable to humans. FHV-1 is the most common cause and most cats are exposed to the virus when they are kittens. This virus will lie dormant during the life of the cat and will flare up anytime.
Treatment of conjuctivitis
It depends on the underlying cause. Eyedrops or ointments are commonly used. All cases of conjunctivitis should be treated at once. So, rush your kitty to your vet on the first signs of the disease.
(Sudhersena is volunteer at the Blue Cross since 1998 and an avid animal lover, owns nine cats and three dogs. She is associated with a number of animal welfare campaigns and programmes. For further information, contact: Blue Cross of India, 72 Velachery Road, Chennai –32 or e-mail at bci@bluecross.org.in )

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