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How Do Cats Get Conjunctivitis?

Updated: August 11, 2022 by Kristen Chapple

There are many cats out there, feral and domestic alike, who suffer from the inflammation of the eye tissues known as conjunctivitis. The problem comes and goes and it causes uncomfortable symptoms for cats, most of the time including the fluid discharge you can often see in a lot of feral cats. While this condition is treatable, let’s find out how do cats get conjunctivitis in the first place.

The causes are diverse and they also depend on each cat in particular and the status of his or her immune system, but here we’ll discuss the most common.

How Cats Get Conjunctivitis

First, it’s important to know that conjunctivitis is a very contagious condition, so it’s highly probable to be passed on from a feral cat on the street to your lovely little domestic furry friend who happened to be exposed to the infected cat roaming free out there.

The Symptoms

The symptoms which help you recognize conjunctivitis in your cat include excessive blinking and squinting, redness in the tissue around the eye of the cat, fluid accumulated in the eye and eye discharge. While it’s always advisable to consult a vet to establish the exact condition your cat suffers from, these are the signs which most often that show this particular condition.

The Causes

There are several causes for conjunctivitis, including bacterial infections like chlamydia, scars or injuries from accidents, fights with other cats or even other previous infections, congenital defects and sometimes even allergies to food or to various environmental factors such as grass, pollen or pollutants in the atmosphere.

The most common causes though are viral infections, and among them, the feline herpes virus is the culprit found guilty in most cases.

It’s also known that purebred cats are more prone to getting conjunctivitis than other cats.

Some of the factors you can control that cause your cat to get conjunctivitis are diet and exposure to infected cats.

While the latter is obvious since the condition is contagious, diet is something harder to tie to the condition. The trouble is that lately, dry cat food has more corn gluten and low-quality ingredients than meat, which causes herpes virus to flourish in the cat’s system. That activates under the right conditions and can further lead to conjunctivitis.

Treatment and Prevention Measures

Usually the treatment for conjunctivitis or the viral infection that serves as the underlying cause will be unique and established by the veterinarian, with medication or even surgery needed in extreme cases to remove sever obstructions in the eye.

Prevention measures often include limiting the exposure of your little feline friend to animals that are infected and vaccination for various infections that may lead to conjunctivitis. When done properly and at the right time, vaccination has proven to be an effective measure.

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