Friday, April 11, 2008
why does my cat have an eye problem and what can I do about it?
You need to discuss this with the vet who is looking after your cat, as they are aware of all the factors and physical symptoms that affect the choice of treatment.
Often with any therapy, the client and vet have to weigh up the pros and cons of any therapy and come out with the best option for all concerned.
However, there are several things that can cause chronic eye infections and the commonest one seen in older cats is called chronic herpetic conjunctival disease.
This usually stems from a cat flu infection when the cat was younger. Cat flu (Feline Upper Respiratory Disease) is a very infectious disease caused by two viruses, feline calicivirus or feline herpesvirus, and usually chronic eye disease in older cats is the re-activation of this latent herpes virus.
This can happen to about 80 per cent of cats that were infected when younger. In the chronic phases, there may be no respiratory signs, although often the cat would have had these in the past.
The treatment involves nursing care, such as bathing the eyes, and making sure the cat has a good nutrition status, as well as any antibiotic therapy if indicated.
Minimising stress may also help. Decreasing the amount of dust in the atmosphere, through vacuuming and making sure the atmosphere doesn't get too dry may help.
If you or anyone else smokes, this can irritate a cat, as can some dusty cat litters. If you or anyone else smokes, then make sure this is one of the motivators to quit, or at least don't smoke near your cat!
You can try delicately bathing any excess tears away from the skin around your cat's eyes with a piece of cotton wool soaked in tepid, previously boiled, water. Throw the cotton wool away after using it once. Obviously, stop this bathing if your cat is too upset.
It might be worthwhile thinking about a referral of your cat to a specialist in ophthalmology. Your vet can arrange a referral to a specialist and these vets are usually based at one of the six Universities that teach veterinary medicine, although there are some that work at larger veterinary practices. You may have to travel a distance, and it is worthwhile checking out the cost of the consultation first before you commit yourself.
Discuss this with your vet, and they can advise you on whether this would be the best option for your cat. If you both feel it would be of benefit, then the vet can make the appointment for you.
Remember Elaine cannot replace the vet who normally looks after your pet and they should always be the first point of contact. If you are concerned your pet may be ill, don't delay contacting your own vet.
Posted by nancy at 11:13 AM