A kitten can get eye infections when they're around 8 and 14 days old, and their eyes start to open. There are multiple causes of eye infections, but homeless kittens and barn cats seem to get these infections more often, as our Clovis vets noted.
Causes of Kitten Eye Infections
Newborn kittens can develop eye infections if they're exposed to germs during birth or live in unclean environments where they can be viruses and bacteria.
Kittens at animal shelters often have eye infections that need attention. Various viruses and bacteria can cause eye infections in kittens.
- Staphylococcus spp. (bacteria)
- Streptococcus spp. (bacteria)
- Herpesvirus (Feline viral rhinotracheitis or FVR)
Symptoms of Eye Infections in Kittens
The symptoms your kitten experiences will vary based on the infection's cause, but the most typical ones 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
When you take your kitten to the vet, they will carefully examine your kitten's overall health and look for any signs of eye infections caused by viruses or bacteria. They might ask about the mother cat's health and the kitten's living conditions to gather important information.
If the eye infection could have been contracted during birth, your vet may perform a culture of the kitten's eye discharge and the mother's vaginal discharge (if possible) to accurately identify the infection type.
To check for any eye injuries, the vet might use special drops that make scratches or foreign objects more visible. These drops contain a yellow dye.
If your vet suspects that your kitten may have a systemic disease, they may recommend blood tests and urinalysis to identify any serious health conditions that your kitten may be experiencing.
Treatment For Eye Infections in Kittens
At the vet's office, they will use warm water to moisten the eyes and carefully separate the top and bottom eyelids. After opening the eyes, the vet will gently clean the eye and eyelids to eliminate any discharge, pus, or crust. To help the eyelids stay apart and heal the infection, a warm compress might be used along with antibiotic ointment to start healing the infection.
After you visit the vet, you'll get precise instructions on how to take care of your kitten at home. Usually, you will be advised to wash your kitten's eyes gently a few times a day to prevent discharge buildup, use a warm compress, and apply eye ointment or drops as directed.
It's very important to follow the vet's instructions exactly. Finish all antibiotics as advised, as stopping treatment before the infection has fully cleared could result in the infection coming back or other issues. 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.