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Eye Infections in Kittens

Eye infections in kittens are typically seen when they are between 8 and 14 days old when their eyes begin to open and this can be due to several reasons. In this post, our Redmond veterinarians discuss eye infections in kittens, including what causes them and how they are treated.

Causes of Kitten Eye Infections

It's common for newborn kittens to develop infections in the mucous membrane that lines their eyes. This can occur when they come into contact with infectious vaginal discharge during birth, or from living in unclean environments that contain excess viruses and bacteria.

Kittens who end up at animal shelters may frequently have eye infections that need attention. Various viruses and bacteria that can cause a kitten eye infection include:

  • Staphylococcus spp. (bacteria)
  • Streptococcus spp. (bacteria)
  • Herpesvirus (Feline viral rhinotracheitis or FVR)

Common Kitten Eye Infection Symptoms

The symptoms your kitten experiences differ based on the underlying cause of the infection. However, commonly seen symptoms include:

  • Red inflamed eyes and eyelids
  • Discharge (clear or pus-like)
  • Eyelids sticking to the front of the eyes
  • Swollen eyelids that bulge outward
  • Sores on the surface of the eye
  • Collapsed eyeball

Diagnosing Kitten Eye Infections

During your kitten's veterinary examination, your vet will perform a thorough assessment and any necessary diagnostic tests to determine their overall health and to check for any signs of a viral or bacterial infection. Your vet may also inquire about the mother's health and the kitten's living conditions for information that may be relevant to the cause of the infection

If it's thought that the kitten's eye infection could have been contracted during birth, your vet may perform a culture of the eye discharge and the mother's vaginal discharge (if possible), to accurately identify the type of infection. 

To examine your kitten's eye for signs of trauma, your vet may use eye drops that contain a yellow dye to make any scratches or foreign objects more apparent. 

If your vet suspects that your kitten may have a systemic disease, blood tests, and a urinalysis may be necessary to identify any underlying health conditions that may be present.

Kitten Eye Infection Treatment

During your kitten's appointment with the vet, warm water will be used to help moisten the eyes and carefully separate the top and bottom eyelids. Once the eyes are opened, the vet will gently clean the eye and eyelids to eliminate any discharge, pus, or crust. To prevent the eyelids from sticking together again, a warm compress may be applied, followed by the application of an antibiotic ointment to start treating the infection.

After you visit the vet, you will be given detailed instructions for the at-home care your kitty will require. Generally, you will be advised to wash your kitten's eyes gently a few times a day to prevent discharge buildup. You may also be directed to frequently use a warm compress and apply eye ointment or drops as directed.

Follow your veterinarian's instructions carefully. It's important to complete the full course of antibiotics as advised to prevent the infection from returning. Additionally, be sure to keep the bedding where the mother and kittens eat and rest extra clean.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Is your kitten showing signs of an eye infection or other condition? in Redmond. Contact our Redmond vets to have your kitty cared for right away.

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Cinder Rock Veterinary Clinic is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Redmond companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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