Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Eye Problem Basics

One of the more common complaints I see cats for is eye trouble. The underlying cause may be infectious (viral or bacterial) or mechanical (traumatic injury, foreign body), but to my clients they all look pretty much the same: squinting, watering, redness. And our advice when a client calls is pretty much always the same, too: play it safe and get the cat in for an exam pronto.

This is one situation where "wait and see" in not a good idea. All too often, what starts out as a minor eye irritation can rapidly lead to devastating complications and ultimately permanent vision loss or even loss of the entire eye. A minor herpesvirus infection in a Persian cat, for instance, is likely to lead to corneal ulceration if not treated aggressively.

Cats that spend time out-of-doors are susceptible to a wider variety of eye problems, including foreign body (grass awns) and fight wounds from other cats' claws or even teeth. But housecats can also develop serious eye problems.

When in doubt, always get your cat's eye problems evaluated sooner rather than later.