Epiphora in Cats: Symptoms, Cause, Treatment and Prevention

symptoms, cause, treatment and prevention

When the cat presents a tearing, we speak of epiphora. The causes are very diverse and therefore, the cat can present different symptoms. Sometimes banalepiphora can also unfortunately be severe, depending on its origin but also the lack of speed of its treatment. This is why it is strongly recommended to turn to a veterinarian without delay if you notice epiphora in your little protege because in no case should you opt for self-medication. A cat’s eyes are organs that must be protected at all costs. Let’s take stock of the epiphora, a eye discharge in the cat which should never be neglected.

Epiphora In Cats: Symptoms That Should Alert

The term epiphora designates a lacrimation which flows the inner corner of one eye or both eyes, and these secretions are, depending on the case, purulent, thick or clear and liquid like water. This lacrimation is very often accompanied by other quite variable symptoms since they depend on the cause. Epiphora alone requires a consultation, knowing that the cat can also present other signs such as:

  • swelling of the eyelids,
  • red eyes,
  • glued eyes,
  • Nictation, i.e. very frequent blinking of the eyelids,
  • Fever,
  • eye pain,
  • A state of dejection,
  • A runny nose (runny nose),
  • sneezing,
  • cough,
  • Ulcers in the mouth…

We can frequently observe that the cat is constantly trying to rub one or both eyes, either because he is in pain, or because he feels localized discomfort. To relieve himself, he rubs his eyes with a paw or even against a corner of the wall, a piece of furniture, a door, a tree trunk… In addition, by dint of being wet, the hairs which are in the path of the flows become darker and the skin also suffers. I’permanent humidity of the area can lead to eye inflammation and/or skin infection.

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Epiphora: Causes In Cats

Different causes can be at the origin of a discharge from the eye called epiphora. None should be trivialized because in some cases, the little feline may suffer from complications.

A Trauma

Claws in the eye during fights between tomcats, spikelets or other foreign body, shock are all traumas that can cause tearing of the eye in cats. Traumatic epiphora can generate corneal inflammation and ulceration.

The Anatomy Of The Cat

At the brachycephalic cats epiphora is more frequent than in other cats, because of the anatomy of their face, in particular because of their short nose (crushed) or the shape of their eyelids. The tear duct is not blocked, however the tears have difficulty accessing the drainage system which normally allows them to flow towards the nasal and oral cavities of the little feline.

Epiphora can also be caused by bad position of an eyelash (if it grows inwards for example) or an entropion. These abnormalities expose the cornea to friction and, consequently, this leads to its inflammation. A corneal ulcer may result.

Inflammation Of The Conjunctiva

The inside of the eyelids is lined with a mucous membrane called the conjunctiva. In case of inflammation, an epiphora may manifest. Numerous allergic cats or too often exposed to toxic products in aerosols exhibit this type of inflammation.

A Bacterial Or Viral Infection

Many diseases are the cause of an epiphora in cats. The reason is:

  • Either bacterial : among the incriminated bacteria we find for example Chlamydophila, Bordetella, Mycoplasma,
  • Either viral : the pathogenic agents can be among others Calicivirus, Herpesvirus, Reovirus…

For example, a cat that presents with coryza (due to Calcivirus), the tearing of the eyes becomes important, but the symptoms are numerous and it is essential that the master takes his little animal to the veterinarian as soon as possible because coryza can be fatal in the absence of support.

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Epiphora In Cats: Treatment

The master may be tempted to relieve his cat quickly by instilling drops of eye drops into the watery eye, but this is completely prohibited. Giving eye drops to your cat without a prescription from the veterinarian can make the problem worse. At most he can clean his little companion’s eyes with a very specific lotion bought in pharmacies and only for these purposes. Its use must be of very short duration, that is to say while waiting for the veterinarian to examine the cat.

It seems fundamental to us to emphasize here that it is not desirable to opt for self-medication, whatever the reason. On the contrary, it is necessary consult the veterinarian as soon as possible so that the cause of epiphora is clearly identified and so is whatever problem a cat is suffering from. Thus, the necessary treatment will be prescribed according to the diagnosis and the results of the various examinations deemed necessary by the animal health specialist.

To avoid exposing your cat to risk of eye damage the animal must therefore be subject to strict veterinary control which is based, in this specific case, on a thorough eye examination. If he deems it necessary, the practitioner can decide to carry out additional examinations in order to confirm his diagnosis.

Following this, he prescribed a case-by-case treatment For example :

  • eye drops,
  • A specific lotion to be administered directly in the eye or in both eyes, knowing that it is advisable to wipe the drops which flow along the muzzle of the cat with a sterile compress. We do not recommend the use of absorbent cotton because fine filaments may remain in the eye of the animal
  • An antibiotic if the epiphora is of bacterial origin only,
  • A temporary suture of the third eyelid so that the eye concerned is kept closed if the cat suffers from a serious corneal ulcer, which must absolutely heal,
  • A surgical operation, generally decided for complex cases.
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When it proves to be essential, the cat must be equipped with a collar so he couldn’t scratch his eyes. After a few days or weeks, depending on the recommendations of the veterinarian, a new consultation is necessary so that the practitioner can check the state of health of his little patient.

Lacrimation Or Epiphora In Cats: Prevention

Regarding the prevention of epiphora in cats it is possible in many cases and it is often common sense.

It’s necessary vaccinate your kitten as soon as possible and ensure that the vaccine reminders so that the vaccination record is perfectly up to date, including in adult cats. The master must also regularly check the eyes of his cat, especially when the kitty returns from a wandering in nature because the risks of foreign bodies are numerous in these conditions. Similarly, avoid letting your cat roam in order to limit the occasions that it fights with its congeners. And of course, you do not use allergenic products with your cat and you have entropion treated as quickly as possible.

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