Bacterial Eye Infection in Cats

A bacterial eye infection will typically manifest through a redness of the eyes, and is frequently caused by chlamydia. The bacterial eye infection can be treated with topical solutions or if need be, with oral antibiotics.

Causes of Bacterial Eye Infections

Most commonly, the bacterial infections in felines are caused by chlamydia, leading to an infection known as chlamidiosis. This the second most frequent type of eye infection, following the eye infections caused by the herpes virus. There are also other viruses that can cause infection, but these are less common.

The bacteria can get in the cat's eyes from the environment. Other cats that carry the bacteria can transmit it to your cat. Bacterial eye infections are often a secondary condition to an underlying problem, such as allergies or viral eye infections.

Symptoms of Bacterial Eye Infections

A bacteria eye infection will manifest through a number of symptoms including:

  • Eye redness
  • Creamy colored discharges from the eyes (both eyes may be affected, but there may be cases when only one eye is affected)
  • Irritation of the nose (rhinitis) and nasal discharges
  • Sneezing
  • Eye ulcers
  • Frequent squinting
  • Excessive tearing of eyes
  • Sensitivity to light
  • The eyes may be partially or completely shut, especially if the infection is in an advanced stage
  • Excessive meowing
  • The cat will not allow you to touch the area of the eyes, due to pain

The cat may also present other symptoms if the eye infection is caused by an underlying disease. The symptoms may help isolate the root of the problem.

Diagnosing Eye Infections

A bacterial eye infection may be diagnosed through testing a sample of the ocular discharge. This will contain the bacteria that cause the infection. However, the vet may also investigate whether the infection is caused by an underlying condition.

Treatment for Bacterial Eye Infections

Bacterial eye infections in felines are most commonly treated with Tetracycline, which is available in the form of eye drops or topical ointments. Tetracycline is effective even if the bacterial infection is secondary to a viral eye infection, because it will fight the virus also.

The vet may recommend saline eye drops to clean the eyes prior to administering the antibiotic treatment. If the infection is advanced and severe, the vet will recommend oral antibiotics as well. Additional treatment may be needed if the cat has an underlying condition that leads to a secondary eye infection.

Preventing Infections of the Eyes in Felines

Eye infections in felines may be preventable, but not in all cases. It is important to keep your cat's eyes clean and apply eye drops at least once per week. When cleaning your pet's eyes, use saline drops and a clean piece of cloth to remove all the possible irritants and debris that may be present.

Secondary bacterial infections may also be prevented in some cases. The administration of vaccines to protect against the most common feline viruses is highly recommended.