Dogs are more known for their eye infections than are cats, but that doesn't mean that your feline friend is necessarily off the hook. The majority of eye problems in cats are caused by eye infections, and this is known as 'feline uveitis'. This can be very distressing for your cat, and in turn for the owner, so here we will look at how to identify, diagnose and treat the unfortunate condition.
What Is Feline Uveitis?
Uveitis is an inflammation of the eye and specifically the inner pigmented structures of the eye. This can be caused by a range of other infections and diseases such as feline leukemia, immunodeficiency virus, toxoplasmosis, systemic fungal infections and more. In other cases the infection can be caused by injury to the eye.
The main symptom of uveitis is pain and you will be able to tell your cat is hurting by its squinting and producing tears. You should also notice that there is surface redness on the eye, and that the pupil is smaller than usual. If you push (gently) against the eyelid the eye will be tender and will feel softer. In some cases there will be clouding or edema and there may be blood vessels across the cornea. Blood or pus may also leak into the front of the eye. It is highly important that you seek treatment for your cat, as untreated it can lead to intraocular cancer.
Treatment for uveitis involves treating any underlying diseases which might involve the use of steroids, antibiotics or other medication. Corticosteroids can also be used to reduce intraocular inflammation, though it is important to proceed with caution as they may in some cases exacerbate existing illness.
Eye drops such as atropine might also be used to relieve pain and to dilate the pupil, while antibiotics may also directly battle the eye infection. You should administer medication only under the supervision of a vet.