Treating Bacterial Cat Eye Infection with Tetracycline

Cat eye infection can occur due to both bacteria and viruses. Viral infections such as feline rhinotracheitis and feline panleukopenia cause symptoms of eye disease in pets. Lesions in the eye, redness, inflammation and corneal ulcers are different types of eye conditions caused by either bacteria or viruses. Another common eye infection that accompanies several upper respiratory infections is conjunctivitis. In order to prevent severe and sometimes permanent eye damage, pet owners should notice any changes in the cat's eyes and seek medical help.

Diagnosis of Cat Eye Infection

The vet will perform a thorough ophthalmic eye examination to check the interior chambers of the eye. Fluoroscein stain testing will detect corneal ulcers or lesions present. In addition, the vet will perform a corneal scraping test to obtain a laboratory analysis, to determine the presence of bacteria. If the cat exhibits symptoms such as fever and rhinitis, the vet will perform other diagnostic tests to diagnose chlamydiosis. The treatment of a cat eye infection varies according to the type of condition diagnosed and the severity of infection present. A common drug used to treat bacterial eye infections such as chlamydiosis is tetracycline.

Tetracycline for Cats

Tetracycline is an antibiotic medication available in capsule form, used to cure susceptible strains of bacteria. It's available in two different potencies and contains the active ingredient tetracycline, prescribed according to the cat's age and weight. Pet owners should read and follow package instructions before administration of medication. Although the drug effectively treats bacterial infection, it may not be suited to all pets.


  • Pet owners should inform the vet if the cat is allergic to tetracycline or other antibiotics.
  • If the cat develops any unusual symptoms such as bloody stools, it's important to seek vet help.
  • The medicine may interact with other drugs such as penicillin-based antibiotics, antacids and other herbal remedies or supplements.
  • Pet owners should monitor pets for any serious side effects and discontinue medication promptly.
  • Overdose is dangerous and increases the risk of severe side effects.
  • It's best to check the expiration date of the medication, as expired tetracycline is harmful for the body.
  • If the cat suffers from medical conditions such as liver disorders or renal disease, tetracycline may not be beneficial to him.

Side Effects of Tetracycline Include:

  • Mild nausea
  • Occasional vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Tips for Pet Owners

Pet owners should administer tetracycline for the entire course of medication, even though cats may recover quickly. In order to prevent bacterial eye infection, healthy cats should be kept away from sick pets. Most cats become infected though direct contact with nasal and eye discharge of infected pets. It's thus necessary to disinfect the surroundings and keep food and water bowls clean. Pet bedding should also be washed thoroughly to prevent re-infection. Contagious viral diseases can be prevented, to a certain extent, with vaccines. Care takers should talk with their vet about vaccines necessary for individual pets.

Due to the various side effects caused by antibiotic medicines, a preventive approach is best. Some pets develop chronic eye infections due to previous viral exposure. Such cats may require additional supportive care and medication.