How Vets Treat Eye Infections In Cats

30 September 2016
 Categories: , Blog


If your cat's eyes are weeping, red, inflamed, or look swollen, chances are they have an eye infection. It's important for you to take them to the vet as soon as you can, as many eye infections can worsen and can even cause blindness. Thankfully, treating an eye infection is usually a pretty easy task for a vet, so read on to learn what you can expect from your veterinarian visit.

Physical Exam

When you go in to see the vet, the first thing they'll want to do is to examine your cat's eyes. Cats can get eye infections via transmitted viruses and bacteria, but infections can also happen due to physical damage. Your vet will take a careful look at your cat's eyes to make sure that nothing is embedded in them or causing irritation. One common culprit is the foxtail weed, which can get lodged in or near your cat's eye, creating an infection if it isn't cared for.

Fluorescein Eye Stain

If your veterinarian doesn't detect a foreign body in your cat's eyes, they'll most likely move on to a fluorescein eye stain test. This is a simple test to help the veterinarian to determine if there's damage to the eye. For example, your cat's eye might have been scratched, and the scratch has now become infected.

Your veterinarian will put a type of eyedrop into your cat's eyes to run an eye stain test. In essence, this eyedrop illuminates when exposed to a blue light, allowing your vet to easily see any discrepancies in the eye, like scratches or uneven surfaces.

Culture Test

If your cat passes both of those tests, your veterinarian will most likely decide that the infection is of either a bacterial or viral nature. At this point, your vet may determine that they need to take a sample of the fluid coming out of your cat's eyes for further testing. This is an easy step that usually just requires getting a little of the fluid on a clean test strip, which is then placed in a sanitary tube and sent to a lab. The lab will examine the liquid and determine whether the infection is of a bacterial or viral nature, and they may also provide information on what medication is best for killing the infection.


Whether or not your vet sends a sample out, chances are that they'll prescribe a basic antibiotic on the spot for your cat. Antibiotics can help to kill bacterial infections, which may squash your cat's eye infection right away. However, even if the infection is viral, antibiotics can help to prevent your cat from developing a secondary bacterial infection while the immune system is vulnerable from fighting the virus.

With any luck, your cat will start to show signs of improvement within a few days of treatment. If your vet receives information from the lab that your cat needs additional care or a stronger medication, you'll be given a call so you can come in and pick up a new medication.

For more information, contact Northwest Animal Hospital or a similar location.