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Canberra Cat Vet Blog

Sore eyes?

Thursday, February 14, 2019
                                                                                                                                                                       Poor Mali has cat flu, very common in young kittens when they face a new home, new people, and travel. Stress later in life may bring on another bout - or it may not.

Herpesvirus, one of the causes of cat flu, hides in the nerve root behind the eye and comes out when kittens and some older cats are stressed. In mild cases, and particularly when the cat has been vaccinated, they only suffer a few days of a watery eye and sadness.

In severe cases the virus causes ulcers on the eye and occasionally loss of the eye. The eye is squeezed closed and the discharge thickens. The cat may go off her food and hide.

Whether the bout of flu is mild or severe the kitten or cat needs treatment. The eye is painful and the virus makes them feel unwell.

Fight wounds, Chlamydia and Mycoplasma infections, and trauma also cause sore eyes in cats. Any eye disease must be treated promptly to avoid loss of sight or the eye.

We prescribed lubrication drops for Mali's eyes, pain relief and an antibiotic because we suspected a Chlamydial as well as herpesvirus infection. If he has another bout we will consider an antiviral drug as well.

Sore eyes

Thursday, November 22, 2018
                        Poor Mali's eye started running within days of arriving in his new home. His carers noticed that he was squinting and sad so they brought him in for a check.
It is very common for kittens and even adult cats to get one or two sore eyes when they are stressed. Mali had left his mum and brothers and sisters as well as his first home. Despite lots of love and care his new home was strange to him and he was understandably a bit stressed. Cats don't like change!
The feline herpesvirus behaves a bit like the human herpesvirus except that it hides out in the nerve to the eye. When the cat is stressed the virus is activated and moves to the window of the eye, the cornea. Human herpesvirus usually moves to the lips causing cold sores. Both human and feline herpesvirus lesions cause a lot of pain.
The feline herpesvirus produces ulcers on the surface of the cornea. The eye becomes red and watery, and the cat squints in pain. With veterinary care the ulcers usually resolve but occasionally they may rupture the eyeball or produce brown scabs on the cornea disrupting vision.
Mali's eye responded to treatment and he settled into his new home very well. Occasionally if something new comes into his environment his eye runs again but his carers know what to do and the virus rarely gets out of hand.


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