Cat Eye Infection Treatment with Oxytetracycline: Terramycin Ophthalmic Ointment

Cat eye infections develop due to various factors such as viruses, bacteria, fungal infections and allergens. Some pets can also develop chronic eye problems due to exposure to certain viruses. Feline herpes virus in particular is known to cause viral eye infections that develop even after the virus is completely cured. Since eye infections can rupture the cornea or cause corneal ulcers and vision problems, it's necessary to treat them in time. Pet owners should watch for any unusual symptoms of eye infection and avoid the use of over the counter drugs before determining the cause of eye disease.

Symptoms of Cat Eye Infection Include:

  • Redness in the eye
  • Cat frequently paws the face
  • Cat appears to rub face against surfaces
  • Eye discharge
  • Eye ulcers
  • Conjunctivitis

Diagnosis and Treatment of Cat Eye Infection

In order to diagnose the type of eye infection that the cat is suffering from, the vet will perform an internal examination of the eye using an ophthalmoscope. The vet will also conduct a fluorscein staining of the eye. Specific tests, such as the Schirmer tear test and a cytology test, will enable the vet to obtain a definite diagnosis. Feline eye infections that are a symptom of an underlying eye disease will be completely cured after the primary cause is treated, as in the case of viruses. Bacterial infection that leads to eye infection will be treated with antibiotic medication or antiviral therapy. A commonly used medication to treat cat eye infection is terramycin ophthalmic ointment.

Terramycin Ophthalmic Ointment

This medication is often available in combination with other drugs such as Polymyxin B Sulfate. Terramycin is a suspension of oxytetracycline hydrochloride and belongs to the class of tetracycline antibiotics. It effectively treats eye conditions such as conjunctivitis, corneal ulcers, keratitis and certain fungal infections. Most pets suffering from ocular infections caused by susceptible bacteria, respond favorably to the ointment. Each gram of ointment contains 5 mg of oxytetracycline and 10,000 units of Polymyxin B.


The general dosage for administration is a small quantity applied to the upper eyelid 2 to 4 times a day. Although terramycin is available without a prescription, pet owners should obtain prior vet approval before using the medication on pets.

Effectiveness of Terramycin Ophthalmic Ointment

Terramycin is a broad spectrum antibiotic medication, and hence works effectively to inhibit the progress of both gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria. Although the ointment is safe for use in cats, some can develop an overgrowth of drug resistant organisms such as staphylococci. Pet owners should monitor the eye infection during the course of treatment and detect any changes or new infections in time. New eye infections may require further testing and treatment.


Although various eye infections can be treated with proper medication, it's important to take precautionary measures to avoid re-infection and permanent eye damage. Pet owners should vaccinate pets on time and keep sick cats away from healthy pets. It's also advisable to avoid the use of household chemicals that aren't pet friendly. Smoke and other allergens can cause eye irritation, and it's best to determine the source of an eye infection to prevent bacterial and viral contaminants.

Since prompt treatment reduces the risk of eye damage and blindness, pet owners should seek medical help as soon as any symptoms of eye infection are present.