Why does my cat have red eyes?
In this article we will review the most common causes that can explain why a cat has red eyes. It is a condition easily detectable by caregivers and, although it is not usually serious and is resolved quickly, a visit to our veterinary center is mandatory, as we will see that in some cases the ocular disorder will have its origin in systemic problems that should be detected and treated by our veterinarian.
My cat has red eyes and with legumes – Conjunctivitis
Conjunctivitis in cats consists of inflammation of the eye conjunctiva and is the most likely cause that can explain why our cat has red eyes. It can have different causes. We will identify it because our cat his eyes will be red and with crinkles. Also, if our kitten has red eyes due to conjunctivitis, it is very likely due to a viral infection caused by herpesvirus that can be complicated by the presence of opportunistic bacteria. It can affect only one eye but, since it is very contagious among cats, it is normal for both to show symptoms.
In case of suffering conjunctivitis due to a viral infection, our cat will have red and swollen eyes, closed and with abundant purulent and sticky secretion that dries forming crusts that stick the eyelashes together. This type of infection is the same that can affect kittens that have not yet opened their eyes, that is, under 8-10 days. In them we will see the swollen eyes and, if they have begun to open, secretion will emerge through that opening. Other times the cat has very red eyes from conjunctivitis caused by an allergy, as we will see. This disease requires cleaning and antibiotic treatment that should always be prescribed by the veterinarian. If untreated it can cause ulcers, especially in kittens, which can result in the loss of the eye. We will see the ulcers in the following section.
My cat has a red and closed eye – Corneal ulcer
La corneal ulcer It is a wound that occurs in the cornea, sometimes as an evolution of untreated conjunctivitis. Herpesvirus causes typical dendritic ulcers. Ulcers are classified according to their depth, size, origin, etc., so it is necessary to go to the specialist to determine the type. It is important to note that in the most serious cases a perforation occurs, a fact that emphasizes still more that they should always be treated by a veterinarian and that the treatment will depend on the factors that we have indicated.
An ulcer can explain why our cat has red eyes and, moreover, presents pain, tearing, purulent discharge and keeps the eye closed. You can also see changes in the cornea such as roughness or pigmentation. To confirm the diagnosis, the veterinarian will apply a few drops of fluorescein to the eye. If there is an ulcer this will be dyed green.
In addition to untreated conjunctivitis, ulcers are usually occur due to trauma, as it may be caused by a scratch, or a foreign body, of which we will speak in another section. It can also be formed when the eye is exposed as in cases of masses or abscesses that occupy the space in the eye socket. Chemical or thermal burns can also cause ulcers. The most superficial ones usually respond well to a antibiotic treatment. In this sense, if the cat tries to touch the eye we will have to put an Elizabethan collar to prevent further damage. And if the ulcer is not solved with drugs it will be necessary to resort to surgery. Finally, it should be noted that a perforated ulcer is a surgical emergency.
Red eyes in cats due to allergy
Why your cat can see red eyes can be explained as a result of a conjunctivitis of allergic origin. It is known that cats can react to different allergens and present symptoms such as alopecia, erosions, miliary dermatitis, eosinophilic complex, itching, coughing that persists over time, sneezing, respiratory sounds and, as we have said, conjunctivitis. Before any of these symptoms we must move our cat to the veterinary clinic so that it can be diagnosed and treated. They are usually cats under 3 years. The ideal would be to avoid exposure to the allergen, but this is not always possible so you will have to treat the symptoms.
For more information, see our article on “Allergy in cats, symptoms and treatment.”
Red and watery eyes in cats by strange bodies
As we have said, conjunctivitis is usually the cause that explains why a cat has red eyes and this can be caused by the introduction of strange bodies into the eye. We will see that the cat has red and watery eyes and rubs to try to remove the object or, we can even notice that the cat has something in the eye. This object can be a splinter, plant fragments, dust, etc.
If we get the cat to be calm and the foreign body is well visible we can try to extract it ourselves same. First we can try to throw in serum, soaking a gauze and squeezing it over the eye or directly from the single dose of serum if we have this format. If we do not have serum, we can use cold water. If it does not come out and we see it, we can move it outwards with the tip of a gauze or a cotton swab moistened in serum or water.
If, on the contrary, we are not able to see the foreign body or this seems to be stuck in the eye we should go immediately to the vet. An object inside the eye can cause significant damage like the ulcers we have seen and infections.
My cat closes an eye – Uveitis
The main characteristic of this ocular alteration, which consists in the inflammation of the uvea, is that it is usually caused by serious systemic diseases, although it can also occur after some trauma such as the one that causes a fight or outrage. There are different types of uveitis in cats depending on the area that is affected. It is an inflammation that causes pain, edema, decreased intraocular pressure, contraction of the pupil, red and closed eye, lacrimation, retraction of the eyeball, protrusion of the third eyelid, etc. Of course, it must be diagnosed and treated by the veterinarian.
Among the diseases that can cause uveitis there is toxoplasmosis, feline leukemia, feline immunodeficiency, infectious peritonitis, some mycoses, bartonellosis or herpesviruses. An untreated uveitis can cause cataracts, glaucoma, retinal detachment or blindness.
This article is merely informative, in .com we do not have the faculty to prescribe veterinary treatments or make any kind of diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian in case of any type of condition or discomfort.
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