Third eyelids showing. No other symptoms.

Our two and a half year old female tuxedo cat has had her third lids up for a few days. No other discern able symptoms. Should I take her to the vet? We have three other cats, nothing wrong with any of them.


ANSWER:

There are a number of eye issues that could be causing your cat to have its third eyelids showing. Some possible reasons are minor and some are serious so I would suggest making a visit to your vet.

Conjunctivitis is an inflammation of the membrane covering the back of the eyelids and surface of the eyeball and it is one of the most common eye problems in cats. Typically it has an underlying infectious cause such as herpesvirus and looks like “pink eye”. FHV-1 conjunctivitis is a common virus in cats, and it can flare up when the animal is under stress. Since topical antibiotic therapy isn’t very successful sometimes topical antiviral medications are also used.

The second most common is Chlamydia, where the cat squints more than usual, has a redness of the third eyelids and oftentimes a watery discharge. This is contagious so your other cats would be at risk. Eyedrops containing tetracycline or chloramphenicol are the usual antibiotics but some alternative-therapy vets suggest crushing up an L-Lysine tablet and adding it to their food. However, you said that your little critter didn’t have any other symptoms except the third lids being closed so it could be something simpler.

Upper respiratory infections can cause the third eyelids to close and this is usually curable with a regimen of antibiotics. Haw’s Syndrome has the third eyelids showing and supposedly putting phenylephrine drops in the eyes (or topical ophthalmic epinephrine drops) will encourage the third eyelids to return to their normal position. Intestinal irritations such as worms or other gastrointestinal parasites can cause this same eyelid problem so deworming might resolve it. There are numerous other possibilities that might be affecting the nervous system that can also cause this phenomenon.

As you can see, there are so many variables, seeing your veterinarian is recommended. Otherwise it’s a guessing game and you don’t want to put your kitty in danger by not getting a diagnosis or put your other cats at risk if it is something contagious.

I realize that having multiple cats can get expensive running to the vet every time one of them has an issue that may or may not be critical. I have 6 cats now and sometimes I try a simple solution for a few days to see if I can resolve the issue (as long as the cat is not in pain) and then if the problem remains…we’re off to the vet. I would try the eye drops for a few days first and if there was no resolution in a short period of time it’s time for the professional.

Good luck on your little one getting better.


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Scratch on my cat's ear

by Geri
(California)

My 4 1/2 year old female spayed, indoor only, cat ran out onto our front porch yesterday afternoon and confronted another older cat who daily comes to our home to eat outside. Our cat swiped at the other cat, the other cat swiped back and scratched our cat's right ear. We noticed the scratch this morning and it is already scabbed over. What "over the counter" medication can I put on her ear?

Answer: Geri,

Since the scratch is already scabbing over, your cat probably put her saliva on her paw and rubbed the ear to utilize the antiseptic qualities of her saliva. However, to make sure it is cleansed so that it doesn't fester with an infection in a few days...you can cleanse the wound with a saline solution (salt and water) or use 3% hydrogen peroxide using gauze or a cloth. This is what I do for minor cuts on my cats. Two other optional antiseptic solutions are made by diluting concentrated products bought at the store that contain either povidone iodine (diluted to the color of weak tea) or chlorhexidine diacetate (diluted to pale blue) as the active ingredient. If fur is in the way you can use petroleum jelly to mat the fur down to allow easier access to the wound but since the injury is on the ear, there is usually less fur in that area.

Of course there are other…. more expensive options such as Clenzor, which is a herbal topical tincture that contains a blend of natural ingredients all specially chosen for their cleansing and soothing properties, as well as their beneficial effect on your pets skin. The ingredients are Witch Hazel (used for centuries by Native Americans as a styptic and soothing skin remedy), Marigold (an effective first-aid solution for all minor burns and scalds as well as every day cuts and scrapes), Lemon balm (well known for its soothing and calming properties when used topically), and Extract of Nettle (a versatile herb used internally and externally for its cleansing and tonic properties).

For minor injuries such as the one you describe, I typically take care of it at home. If there is something more serious going on………it’s off to see the vet. I hope that this information has helped you.

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cats eyes

by clare
(dorset)

my cat Willow isnt quite one yet,but in the last couple of days her eyes havent been opening properly,the second lid isnt retracting (if that makes sense)properly.They are not weeping.
Thanks for any advice

ANSWER:

It sounds like Willow has conjunctivitis. Conjunctivitis is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, the membrane that lines the eyelids and covers the exposed part of the eyeball. You may notice redness or swelling of your cat's eyes, or if your cat's third eyelid is showing, conjunctivitis might be the culprit. A common cause of this is feline herpes-virus. Choosing the right treatment for conjuctivitis can be tricky because many cases are caused by reasons other than herpes.

There is also Feline Keratitis which is a condition known as the feline eye disease dry eye syndrome. If your cat is not producing enough tears it can lead to chronic conjunctivitis and keratitis.

However, in many cases the conjunctivitis could be a result of some type of foreign object lodged in the eye. In order to clean the eye area you will want to use about a quart of warm water and very gently pour it over the affected eye. Using a piece of soft, cotton wool soaked in the water, carefully wipe around the eye, but do not wipe over the actual eye. Once you have cleared the area you will be able to see if there is still an object inside the eye that shouldn't be there. If there is, do not attempt to treat the problem yourself but take Willow to the vet.

Alternatively, there are a number of homeopathic herb treatments that can be successful in clearing up the problem of conjunctivitis due to allergies and other possible infections. These herbs can be purchased at your local health or homeopathic store or through numerous online sources. On my Pet Products page (you will see the navigation button near the top of each page on the left hand side)if you scroll down to Only Natural Pet and click on the banner, it will take you to their store. Or, you can click here Pet Alive Eye Heal. This will take you to an herbal item that might work for you. You can also browse other items that might help.

Remember that I am not a veterinarian and any suggestions are just possible home remedies before consulting a professional vet. Click here for more details on Cat Eye Problems cat eye problems

Good luck with Willow. Hopefully her problem will be resolved.

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pink eye

by alexya davis
(Lawrence,Kansas )

Can my 7week old kitten get pink eye?

ANSWER: First, let me apologize for the late reply to your question. I am currently traveling in Italy until the 18th of Oct. and have had limited access to computers. I am giving you the link to my page covering problems with cats eyes in the hope that it will give you some information that might be of value to you. I may have my Internet connection disappear at any time so doing further research for you before I return is almost impossible. I hope that this previously written page will help.

Cat Eye Problems

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third eye lid up? both

by donna
(fairchance)

what does it mean when the third eye lid stays up in cats? i took him to the vet and he got a shot and eye med. i just went back for a recheck, its been 3 weeks now.. his eyes are still like that. not as bad but still tend to stay up. the vet wants blood work done if it still continues in 2wks. i have concerns on this. my cat is an indoor cat and only goes out on a kitty proof porch.. there are some strays around as well.. he is about 4yrs old and was adopted from the spca..please help?



ANSWER: The anatomy of the third eyelid is quite complex. The fold of tissue is covered by a mucous membrane called the conjunctiva . The conjunctiva faces the inner surface of the eyelids on one side and the cornea on the other side. There is a dense network of lymphoid follicles that are in contact with the surface of the eye and the tear film, a thin layer of liquid which functions as the lymph nodes of the eye. This network has the job of trapping dirt particles and other debris. Cartilage stiffening the free edge of the third eyelid, along with an accessory lacrimal gland that produces most of the tear film is curved to conform to the corneal surface. Hence the third eyelid is a major part of keeping the cat’s eyes well lubricated and constantly rinsing away the debris just like your car windshield wipers do. However, as with any complex system, problems can happen disrupting the original purpose of the third eyelid.

The third eyelid is called the haw or nictating membrane. When the cat is ill, undernourished, or catching a disease, this haw prominence is alerting you that your cat’s health isn’t up to par. Behind the eyeballs are pads of fat, which act as shock absorbers, and these start to shrink when the cat is in poor health. This makes the haw more visible. You said that your Vet gave your cat a shot and eye medication. This indicates there were signs of inflammation or infection in the eye. Your Vet should have told you what he was giving the shot for and what medication the shot was. It probably was an antibiotic if he suspected an infection and the accompanying eye medication would probably be to help alleviate any eye discomfort your cat was experiencing from the inflammation. Your receipt from the vet should give an indication of what your cat was treated for.

Sometimes a mild virus infection will cause a problem with the third eyelid or a nerve problem will cause issues. You state that your cat is an indoor cat and only goes out on a kitty proof porch but you mention that there are strays around. Can these strays get access to your cat? Some diseases are airborne and some require direct contact. The fact that your cat is four years old is good because older cats have more difficulty fighting off infections. You are to be commended for getting your cat from the SPCA because it would have been given its vaccinations, depending upon what age your cat was when you got it. If there is no underlying illness, haws inflammations are cleared up in three to eight weeks.

Hopefully, your cat’s third eye problem will progressively improve before you have to have the blood tests. I will list a few of the most common third eyelid problems, some that will be found with blood tests, and some that are evident without blood work.

  • Haws Syndrome in cats may be caused due to an infection in the upper respiratory track and gastroenteritis. It may also be due to the presence of parasites inside the cat’s body. Parasites like the tapeworm can be responsible for the condition and a fecal exam for worms and Guardia will verify this. It is more often seen in healthy cats under two years old. Haws Syndrome can last as long as six months and some vets suggest putting phenylephrine drops in the eyes that are supposed to help the third eyelids to return to normal positioning. Another option is a 1% ophthalmic epinephrine drops topical that will help the third eyelid retract after a few minutes and stay positioned for a while. Drops have to be put in frequently is needed. Cat Internal Parasites


  • Conjunctivitis is the inflammation of the moist tissues in a cat’s eye. It can cause the cat’s eye to discharge fluid, causing irritation. There are several viruses that can cause conjunctivitis, one of the most common being the herpes virus. Cats that are regularly exposed to other cats with viral infections are more prone to develop the disease. There are also bacterial causes, one of which is commonly referred to as “dry eye”. In addition, allergies can cause the eyes to react or it might be as simple as a dirt particle lodged in the eye. There may be seasonal allergies to things like pollen or environmental pollutants in the air. This condition is treated by removing the food or environmental allergen if it is allergy related. If it is due to a virus there are some commonly prescribed medications to manage inflammation. They can be both oral and/or topical antibiotics. Vaccination is also a common treatment option to prevent other viral outbreaks in the future. In serious cases, surgery may be required to remove any blockages in the eyes.


  • Upper Respiratory Infection is usually discovered with a thorough physical exam. If your cat has been refusing to eat and sneezing…….this is a good possibility. Objects like grass awns can cause symptoms similar to a cold. Fungal infections can also. Blood tests might be taken to see if there are complications developing. Treating the bacterial component of the cold-like symptoms, your cat will require antibiotics. A viral infection will usually be dealt with by the cat’s own immune system. If your cat is not eating or dehydrated, it may have to be hospitalized and put on intravenous fluids until he is eating on his own. You cat will probably remain on antibiotics for a period of time determined by your veterinarian.


  • Herpes-Virus is best known for causing the respiratory disease rhinotracheitis, but the virus can also attack the cornea and the conjunctiva, leading to conjunctivitis. Chlamydia, a bacterium, can also cause conjunctivitis. Both of these conditions can cause third eyelid problems. For more information on this please read my page on Cat Eye Problems


  • It appears that your Vet gave your cat an antibiotic shot to fight an infection and a topical eye medicine to help reduce inflammation but you would have to verify this with your Vet. Also, you should be informed what these medications were for. Were they to combat something he knew was an infection or did he just suspect it was an infection and took this precaution to help halt whatever was going on? An upper respiratory infection that is bacterial would require antibiotics and it is not unusual for third eyelid problems to take close to a couple of months to resolve. The fact that he is saying to return in 2 weeks, after 3 weeks have already passed, totaling 5 weeks indicates that he doesn’t think this is a critical situation.

    Many third eyelid problems work themselves out in the 6-8 week time frame and if not, then he would be digging deeper and want to do the blood work to zero in on a more serious condition. Also, because your cat is an indoor cat with little or no access to strays, it is less likely it's something really serious. It sounds like the odds are in your cat’s favor that this is just a bothersome infection but if you don’t feel confident with your current Vet, you may want to take your cat to another veterinarian.

    Best of luck to you and your cat....and again, congratulations for saving a feline from the SPCA.

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