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Cat Has Runny Eyes or Is Closing One Eye

Cat flu, bacteria or chlamydia can cause the inflammation of the membranes lining the eyelids resulting in a runny greenish-yellow discharge.  More rarely, it can be a misformed tear duct (eg. Persians). If there is excessive tearing or pawing of the eye, see your vet. Most cat flu is caused by a herpes or calici virus, red runny eyes, sneezing, and then depending on which virus, ulcers on the tongue or loss of voice. Check with your vet to make sure the diagnosis is correct.  It is infectious.While there is no cure for viral infections, your vet can recommend a helpful diet, vitamins, fluids, and a warm place are helpful as well as treatments for secondary conditions.  If your cat refuses to eat or drink or has a fever, see your vet immediately.  Neither of these viruses are thought to be spread to dogs or humans.

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Tear Stains in Cats

 

Helen Roberts, DVM

Tear Stains – Cat  

First, make sure that your cat does not have runny eyes from a medical condition such as an upper respiratory infection—generally caused by feline herpes virus-1 (FHV-1) or feline calicivirus (FCV), bacteria, chlamydia or congential defect of the tear ducts. Consult your veterinarian.

Persian cats, due to a genetic eye conformation that can impede tear drainage, appear to be more prone to developing tear stains. Cat tear stains are caused by an overflow of the tears (epiphora) onto the cheeks. Reddish-brown tear stains, which are thought to be due to porphyrin (iron/magnesium combo) pigments in the stains and not an infection, are clear tears that may eventually lead to a bacterial infection causing redness and an odor. Chronic accumulation of tears without routine cleaning can lead to secondary infections. As there can be many causes of epiphora, consult your veterinarian before trying any home remedies as these may make the condition worse.

You might want to explore food without artificial coloring, distilled or filtered water (some minerals are thought to cause staining), and changing from plastic to stainless steel bowls. You can also explore products with tylosin—the active ingredient in ANGELS' EYES™ and Tylan™ powder-- that is gradually added to food. Tylosin is an antibiotic that is made from a bacterium and through an unknown mechanism appears to help eliminate tear staining. You should pay particular attention to the dosage if you choose to use this type of product although the minute dosage recommended is generally safe. It can elevate certain blood liver tests and digoxin blood levels in pets with heart conditions, so consult with your veterinarian. Beet pulp does not cause tear stains.

As for home remedies—consult your veterinarian to determine the source of the tears stains:

  •  Daily washing with warm water – Wash hands, use damp cloth, avoid getting the cloth in the pet’s eyes (increases chances of injury to the cornea and re-infection), use a cotton pad to pat the area dry.
  •  TUMS – antacid to change pH, ½ fruit flavor tablet twice a day – may or may not work and is not recommended due to the potential harm. Some cats may be prone to bladder stone formation with increased oral calcium intake.
  •   White Vinegar in the water bowl– 1 teaspoon—this can be added to your pet’s water that can change the pH but even with gradual introduction your pet might not like the taste and not its drink water   risking dehydration
  •  Diluted Hydrogen peroxide—can get in your pet’s eye and harm your pet, and, if ingested, will cause  them to vomit. It is not recommended.
 Home remedies have risks as they may get in your pet’s eye and cause harm or prove to be ineffective.
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