Eye infection in newborn cats

Two of the most common eye infections newborn kittens can get are:

  • Conjunctivitis. An infection in the mucous membrane that is responsible for the lining of the inner surface of the eyeball and eyelids.
  • An infection of the corneawhich is the clear lining of the front surface of the eyeball.

These infections  tend to occur after the upper and lower eyelids separate and open, which usually occurs around two weeks.

The most common source of infection is infectious discharge from the vagina at the time of birth. An unsanitary environment can also be the cause. Strep or staph bacteria are the most common culprits of an eye infection in a kitten. The herpes virus is also a common cause of eye infection in kittens.

If you leave the problem untreated, it can cause permanent blindness.

In addition to this article, you may also be interested in reading the vision of cats.

Symptoms of Eye Infections in Baby Cats

  • The eye can develop conjunctivitis, with inflammation, redness, and discharge from the conjunctiva.
  • The upper and lower eyelids are glued together due to dry discharge and scabs.
  • The eyelids are attached to the front of the eye.
  • Pus-like  or mucus- like discharge from the eye  (clear fluid) with some pus.
  • The upper and lower eyelids bulge out due to swelling and / or fluid build-up within the hole or orb.
  • Ulcerated cornea (sores on the surface of the eyeball where bacteria have made holes through the lining).
  • Collapsed eyeball.

Causes of eye infection in small cats

Eye infections in newborn cats are frequently seen in cats rescued or kept in dirty environments, although it is not uncommon in cats that are properly housed and cared for.

Two common causes of infections are:

  • A dirty breeding area.
  • A vaginal infection in the mother cat, near the time of birth.

Diagnosis of eye infection in kittens

If visual observation of the newborn cat shows the usual signs of an eye infection, redness, swelling, discharge, and an inability to fully open the eye, you should have a vet see your cat. Don’t forget that there is a possibility of permanent eye damage if the infection is not treated properly.

The vet will begin with a complete physical examination of the newborn cat and may need a medical history of the newborn cat’s pregnancy, delivery, and mother.

The vet may want to test a sample of the mother’s vaginal discharge to determine if the eye infection was transmitted from the mother to the kitten during delivery. To rule out other causes of the eye infection, he might order a blood test that includes a complete blood count and a chemical blood profile, and he may also take a urine sample for analysis.

The vet, to rule out actual eye damage, may stain the newborn cat’s eye with a chemical dye called fluorescein. This chemical will make any scratches or foreign substances easily visible when examined under a blue light.

Treatment of infection

In most cases, eye drops specially formulated for use in kittens are recommended by veterinarians.

You should use a saline solution to remove scabbing around the kitten’s eye before applying the eye drops. Applying warm compresses and constantly removing scab remains help prevent kitty’s eyelids from sticking while treating the infection.

Eye infections can be highly contagious. Keep the mother and litter sleeping area clean and ask your vet if the newborn cat should be kept away from the mother or the rest of the litter. The infection will usually clear up in a week or two with proper care.



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