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It is very common for a veterinarian to see cats coming into her office with red eyes. Red eye may or may not be painful, but cat owners often observe that their cat has been pawing at his eye or face.
Often time there is redness and swelling in the inner eyelid known as the conjunctiva, when this condition occurs it is called chemosis. The cause of chemosis or simply conjunctiva is due to an irritation, a foreign substance that has made its way into the inner eyelid and lodged there. It could be dust or a piece of hair. Any foreign substance would make the eye irritated and inflamed. Occasionally the ulcers can penetrate into deeper areas of the cornea and then your cat is at risk for the ruptures in the eye and causing complete eyesight.
Causes for Cat Scratches
Damage to the Cornea Scratches and Ulcerations
There are many causes for corneal ulcers which are caused by wounds or scratches to the eye. The cat can brush against a sharp branch, bush, or plant stem, and scratch the surface of the eye.
Or it might fight with other cats. Cats swat each other and their claws can also scratch and damage the surface (cornea) of the eye. The wound may quickly heal on the outside giving the impression that the scratch is gone however, there may still be infection underneath that has not been attended to.
Self inflicted scratches - A cat may scratch his eye or even aim for the ear and hit the eye with its claw, scratch it, thus causing injury, redness and swelling.
Shampoo - getting chemical irritants in the eye when bathing can cause scratches on the surface of the eye.
Foreign Matter - plants or other substances can embed into the eyelid and causes scratches to the cornea.
The Herpesvirus or the common flu found in cats is responsible for scratches that cause ulceration to the conjunctiva and cornea as well. Young kittens are prone to this disease. Especially if they are not well cared for, they live in the wild, are exposed to the cold, fleas, and other external assaults. Sometimes there is so much mucous and discharge because of the infection that the kitten's eyes appear to be glued shut. It is important that the eyes are manipulated open so as not to contain the infection inside.
Bartonella spp also known as cat scratch disease is a bacterial infection that has been known to affect humans and most recently cats and dogs. Cats are a host for this disease. They harbor the disease within their system from fleas and other parasites. This disease can also produce ulcers or cat scratches on the eyes.
Treatment of eye scratch problems
(pain killer) with a bitter taste, cats will drool after an application in an attempt to get the bitter taste out of their mouth.
Elizabethan Collar - designed to keep the cat's paws away from its eyes
Dye staining to analysis the cornea for evidence of lesions, infections and other diseases
Most of these conditions are mild. Lesions and cat scratches will heal with proper care, but you must take your cherished pet to the veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment. Left unattended these conditions could turn into something more serious such as blindness. The faster you act the more certain you could be of saving your cat's eye sight.
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