‘-itis’ in medicine refers to ‘inflammation of.’ Therefore, any clinical term ending in it translates into swelling or irritation, much like what we experience in conjunctivitis. Cats also get affected by this disease. It can be disheartening to watch your little kitten’s eyes become red, swollen, and filled with tears. Fret not, as conjunctivitis is relatively common in pets and can be easily cured. We have compiled a comprehensive guide that discusses conjunctivitis in kittens and suggests a whole range of remedies that you can apply.
What Is Conjunctivitis?
Conjunctiva is a membrane located within the eyelids, in the whites of your kitten’s eyes. An inflammation of this membrane causes redness, swelling, and frequent tear production leading to conjunctivitis in kittens. Whether your kitten is affected in a single eye or both, the condition can be extremely uncomfortable for the poor creature.
What Causes Conjunctivitis in Kittens?
Eye conjunctivitis in kittens can be a result of three types of variants,
Infectious conjunctivitis can be caused by bacteria like Chlamydophila, which mainly affects the upper respiratory system. Therefore, if your kitten has sniffles then it can also result in a watery eye and redness.
As a virus infection, it is most commonly caused by Feline Herpesvirus in cats and kittens. This is also infectious and can come with a variety of respiratory symptoms.
While conjunctivitis is usually contagious, your kitten may also suffer from a non-contagious variant. This is usually a result of irritants in your pet’s environment. These can be tiny particles or specks that can trigger a reaction if they find their way inside your kitten’s eyes. Allergic conjunctivitis can be triggered by many things. For instance, substances like mold, harsh shampoos, and air fresheners can result in eye redness.
Once you find out the cause of conjunctivitis, you can decide on the best course of treatment with the help of a veterinarian.
It is fairly easy to spot conjunctivitis in kittens if you know what you are looking for. Common conjunctivitis symptoms in kittens include the following,
- Redness around the eye tissue
- Constant eye squinting
- Excessive and persistent blinking
- Fluid buildup in the eye
- Eye discharge
- Upper respiratory infection
Also, since it is an uncomfortable condition, you might find your cat pawing on its eye a little too often. So, if you spot any of these symptoms in your kitten, it could mean that your pet has contracted conjunctivitis. The first and foremost step is to consult a veterinarian who can run diagnostic tests to confirm the situation.
Diagnosis of Conjunctivitis in Kittens
Your veterinarian will begin with a physical examination to find out if any foreign bodies are causing the irritation. He will also check for an injury to the eye or a blocked tear duct obstructing the drainage of tears. The vet may look for any signs of a corneal ulcer as it can show similar symptoms. Since conjunctivitis can be painful for your pet, the veterinarian is likely to recommend medication to bring down the inflammation based on the primary diagnosis.
Most infectious forms of conjunctivitis are cured within a week to a fortnight. However, if the condition shows no improvement, then the veterinarian will conduct further tests for a more in-depth diagnosis. These tests usually include the eye and the surrounding areas and the kitten’s medical history is also taken into consideration.
Common conjunctivitis tests include the following,
- Tear production measurement
- Intraocular pressure
- Fluorescein dye stain to the cornea
- Conjunctivital scrappings and biopsy
- Flushing of nasolacrimal (tear ducts)
- Blood tests
The treatment mainly depends upon the kind of conjunctivitis that your kitten has contracted.
This condition can be treated with the help of an ointment along with an oral antibiotic. A tetracycline ophthalmic ointment and azithromycin antibiotics are the popular choices.
Herpes Virus Conjunctivitis
Mild cases may not require any treatment or medication and are usually cured within the stipulated time. However, if your kitten is responding poorly, the veterinarian may recommend antiviral drugs. Additionally, antibiotics can be used in case of the presence of a secondary bacterial infection.
Here you can soothe your kitten with topical ointments or drops. These topical medications can help you reduce or stop allergic reactions altogether.
Popular Eye Drops For Conjunctivitis in Kittens
Vetricyn Eye Wash
This is our top choice as it is an extremely effective product for your cats and dogs. The drops help in flushing out any irritants from your kitten’s eyes. The drops also have a calming and soothing effect on the infected eye and work excellently to cure goopy or crusty eyes.
The Vetrucyn eyewash drops are very safe to use. These can be liberally applied to your kitten’s infected area for relief and cure.
- Its liquidy nature allows it to flow smoothly through the eye.
- Pet-friendly ingredients
- It does not sting.
- The product may not be effective in case of severe infections.
I-Drop Vet Plus
This product soothes and lubricates the eye without stinging. They help clear out the eyes by loosening the mucus. These drops don’t require frequent application and have longer-lasting effects.
- Instantly calms and soothes the eyes.
- It stays on the eye surface longer than other products.
- Safe and effective.
- These are lubrication drops primarily and are not very effective in removing irritants.
Nutri-Vet Eye Rinse
As a non-irritating ophthalmic solution, Nutri-Vet eye rinse drops gently surround the eye tissue and helps remove irritants. These drops contain a boric acid solution, which is brilliant in cleansing and flushing out the eye very gently. It is capable of removing irritants like pollen, dust, or even grip from the eyes of your kitten. Additionally, it is also a comforting aid that soothes your pet’s eyes and provides some much-needed comfort.
- Reduces kitten’s eye irritation
- Removes and flushes out irritating debris
- Safe for cats and kittens
- May require frequent application in case of severe cases.
This product from Natural Rapport is a tear stain remover, but can also prove to be calming in case of watery and runny eyes. As the name suggests, this product is made using natural ingredients. It does not contain any harsh chemicals.
Although this Natural Rapport product is primarily marketed for dogs, it is just as safe and effective for cats and kittens.
- Contains mild substances
- Easy to apply
- Safe to use frequently
- It provides very temporary relief in comparison to others on our list.
Last but not least, these Dr. Goodpet drops are made using a vitamin-enriched formula that helps keep your kitten’s eyes healthy and free of infections. These drops are highly effective and contain Zinc and vitamin C for relief and soothing effects from eye irritations and minor conjunctivitis in kittens. According to research, these 2 components are prerequisites for healthy eyes. Also, they are completely safe for your kittens and can be very helpful for fighting eye irritants.
- It contains high-quality substances.
- It provides relief from irritation and watery eyes.
- Suitable for cats and dogs.
- There aren’t any negatives to this product
How To Use Eye Medications?
Always remember to consult your veterinarian before administering any medication of your kitten. Make sure that it is suitable for their condition and is clinically verified.
- A drop or two per eye of the liquid medication is enough for your pet. Normally, ophthalmic drops require 3 to 6 applications a day. However, this dosage may reduce as your kitten starts feeling better.
- Ointments, on the other hand, don’t require such frequent applications. However, you may not be able to do this alone. You will require another person to hold on to the kitten while you administer the ointment.
- Whichever mode of treatment you adopt, you should be able to see some positive results within the first few days.
- Consult your vet and continue the treatment for some time after your kitten has recovered. This may help in eradicating the issue completely.
Eye infection is a serious matter. It should not be taken lightly. If left unattended or not taken care of properly, this ailment can lead to vision loss or permanent damage. These are some of the popular DIY remedies; however, DO NOT use them before consulting your veterinarian.
- Use a piece of soft cotton ball to clean the eye and the discharge. Be careful not to clear over the eye, but around it.
- Inspect for any foreign bodies and get rid of them gently. You can use fresh and clean water to flush out the eye of any particles. You may also use a clean q-tip to clean out any identified debris.
- Another home quick-fix is a simple sterile saline solution. Make sure that it is free of any disinfectants before you use it. It is a helpful temporary.
- Applying a warm moist plain tea bag to your kitten’s eye can also help with watery discharge. The tannin contents present in the tea soothe the eye and provide relief. Just hold it for a few minutes against the affected eye.
- Rubbing apple cider vinegar is for healing cat eye problems is another solution. However, this will sting your cat and may not be very helpful. Take a professional opinion before you embark on this, though.
If your kitten’s condition does not improve within 24 hours, then stop the home remedy and take your pet to a veterinarian.
Is Kitten Conjunctivitis Contagious?
Conjunctivitis in kittens is an extremely contagious disease. So, prevention is the best policy here. Also, make sure that your kitty has no contact with other affected feline animals. Simply speaking, keep an infected kitten away from others.
Fortunately, the bacteria and viruses that cause your kitten conjunctivitis can’t affect you. However, these can be transferred from one pet to another through you. This can happen while petting or feeding. Therefore, try and isolate your pet from others.
Also, wearing gloves while applying medication to your kitten can help control the spread of these germs. Use disposable gloves and wash your hands thoroughly afterward.
If your kitten is suffering from the non-contagious form of conjunctivitis, then it is very important to find out the irritant. A correct diagnosis can confirm this. Once you know what has caused that discomfort, you can take appropriate measures to prevent it.
Eye infections are common in kittens and there are enough and more treatments at your disposal. However, if you feel that your kitten is suffering too frequently, then your vet might suggest a more aggressive form of treatment. Whatever approach you take, make sure that you consult your veterinarian as soon as a suspect a possible eye problem.