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My cat has one eye closed: what should I do?

A closed eye in cats is a symptom that should not be overlooked: it is a sign of significant pain. The causes are varied, ranging from simple cat conjunctivitis to a gunshot wound… Treatment is often difficult due to the pain caused and requires the intervention of a veterinarian.

Suddenly, your favorite feline comes home from the garden winking? Your little kitty wakes up with glued eyelids? First, if possible, you can rinse the eyes achieved with physiological saline or dacryoserum®. However, if the symptoms persist or if the eye is particularly swollen and painful, it is advisable to make an appointment with your veterinarian. A cat with a closed eye should be seen within 24 hours.

What causes a closed eye in cats?

They are numerous and multiple:

Conjunctivitis is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, that is to say the red mucous membrane around the eye. The closing of the eye can be due to pain and also to the swelling of this conjunctiva (we speak of chemosis). This swelling is sometimes so large that it is impossible to examine the cat’s eye underneath. In many cases, serous (watery) or purulent discharge from the eye is also observed.

Feline conjunctivitis itself has various origins. They can be infectious (bacteria or viruses) or irritating (in the event of exposure to smoke, for example).

Different respiratory germs can cause conjunctivitis. These are in particular herpes viruses, caliciviruses, reoviruses and chlamydias. They are responsible for coryza Of the cat. Conjunctivitis is then often associated with other symptoms such as fever, cough and sneezing. Conjunctivitis linked to coryza is dreadful in kittens, it can lead to blindness.

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An ulcer is a more or less wide and deep erosion of the outer thickness of the eye (the cornea, a sort of transparent “skin”). It is very painful and can be associated with conjunctivitis especially during herpes virus infection.

Cat’s ulcer is diagnosed with a special dye instilled on the diseased eye. It can be of traumatic origin (scratch) or viral.

An untreated corneal ulcer can result in a cat’s closed eye puncturing.

It is a global inflammation of the eye. In felines, it can be consecutive to a shock or to many general illnesses such as BIPthe toxoplasmosis or even some cancer.

Because of their exploratory and adventurous behavior, our companions are exposed to many risks. Fights between cats, road accidents, falls, rose thorns, shotgun pellets… can lead to trauma resulting in a closed eye in the cat. Depending on the injury, other signs may be associated such as scratch marks, open wounds or skull fractures.

My cat has one eye closed: what should I do?
@Shutterstock Alexander_IV

How to treat a closed eye in a cat?

First, you can try gently opening your cat’s eyelids and rinsing the eye with saline solution. Ask a relative to hold the animal on their lap or on a table. Open the eyelids with one hand and pour the liquid over the diseased eye with the other. Wipe with a Kleenex. You can also use products specially dedicated to eye care sold by veterinarians or pharmacies. They have the advantage of being mild, unlike saline which is salty and can sting if irritated.

If the eye is very painful or impossible to open, make an appointment with your veterinarian without delay. Likewise if you notice a purulent discharge or if the eye seems dull or very red. Do not forget to inform him of the other symptoms if necessary (loss of appetite, exhaustion, sneezing, etc.).

It is not recommended to apply eye drops for humans without prior medical advice; indeed, depending on the pathology, they may prove to be contraindicated!

The professional will carefully examine your cat’s closed eye using their devices and instilling different drops. Due to the pain, these examinations can be difficult and require sedation of the feline.

The treatments are of course different depending on the cause of the cat’s closed eye. For trivial conjunctivitis, the veterinarian will prescribe:

  • A eye drops or an antibiotic ointment to instill into the cat’s diseased eye several times a day. If there is no corneal ulcer associated with the conjunctivitis, the veterinarian sometimes prescribes eye drops combining antibiotics and anti-inflammatories

  • Antiviral eye drops in case of suspected herpes virus infection

  • A healing eye drop in case of corneal ulcer

  • Painkillers in pills or syrup

  • A collar if the cat tends to scratch its eyes

Some injuries related to trauma or foreign bodies may require surgery by an ophthalmic practitioner.

Kittens with coryza must be particularly cocooned. You have to take off their eyelids and clean their eyes several times a day before instilling the treating eye drops.

Do not neglect the veterinary checks that allow you to follow the pathology responsible for your cat’s closed eye. And make sure everything is back to normal.

Isabelle Vixege

veterinary doctor

Read also : My cat is pulling out his hair, why?

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