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Cat with a runny eye

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  • Cat with a runny eye

    Yeah, I can see my vet, but will y'all help me trouble-shoot this?

    Catness has one eye that is runny-- non-goopy, just looks like tears with a tinge of dried blood in there. An attractive dusky rose color, if you will.... except not attractive.

    This showed up the day *after* a recent vet appointment. Sigh. Then backed off for a day and is now back.

    If I get paranoid, I think she's holding the eye a tad more closed than the other. She can even wink, I discovered. Otherwise, she doesn't seem to be in pain or unhappy-- no trying to scratch it or rub it on anything, no third eye lid involvement, no red in the sclera.

    So... any go-to remedies I can try before opening up the wallet at the DVM's office?

    How long do you do "wait and see" with something like this. Is it like horse eyes where anything involving them counts as an emergency?

    Thanks for your help.
    The armchair saddler
    Politically Pro-Cat

  • #2
    Low grade upper respiratories, conjunctavitis and herpes can cause the eyes to be runny (and the red tinge is normal, its usualy not blood). Stress can cause cause the herpes virus/URI's to emerge, like a routine visit to a vet clinic. Unless she is scratching at the eye, or majorly squinting or seeming irritated by it, its likely nothing to rush her into the vets for. I would monitor her for any signs of change, and get her to the vets if there is...but they generally have major squinting if there is an ulcer, and arent prone to glaucoma like some dogs are. Id also keep an eye on nasal discharge and sneezing.


    • Original Poster

      Thank you very much, Squishy.

      That was really helpful and it fits with our recent visit to the vet where Catness was poked, prodded and among other animals. Maybe it was too much stress and a cat with a lazy immune system.

      I do think it is rude of a cat to not bundle problems for one big vet visit.

      I had a (female) truck who just couldn't get enough of the older male mechanic who was her doctor. This happened only with the older mechanics and were nice guys. I swear to God, if you took that truck in to have the known stuff fixed, she'd find something else that required a return visit two days later. She likes his sympathy and knowing Man Hands on her parts.

      I don't want a cat to do the same, making a double-header out of any single vet visit. Heck, when I was a kid, cats went to the vet once a life-- for spaying/neutering and a "lick and a promise" kind of vaccination.
      The armchair saddler
      Politically Pro-Cat


      • #4
        I do have a little experience with this topic, so hope you don't mind if I come out of my usual interested-lurker mode! Maybe my story will help. I acquired Eponymous Kitteh from a bad situation at 3 weeks, with a severe eye infection that actually retarded the development of her eyes (she was blind until age of 3 months.) Vet said this was probably attributable to unspecified herpes virus.

        It cleared up nicely with antibiotics... she sees well enough now, at 3, to get into more than her share of trouble. But vet told me that the virus remains dormant in system, usually for life, and intermittent flare-ups could be expected. Kitteh does have flare-ups now and then in her left eye (always just the one eye). They look a lot like what you described. Someone already observed that these can be stress related, but hers seem to be more seasonal. For whatever reason she has more trouble with her eye being weepy, runny, itchy, dischargey, etc. in warm weather. When the eye does get to looking rough, tobramycin eye drops have helped. You can get those as a renewable prescription.

        IME many cat eye problems are not cause for emergency- level concern - they can often be situations to be carefully managed, more so than cured.


        • Original Poster

          Thank you for weighing in, Sooty Tats.

          I will lecture Kitteh on the benefits of not contracting the herpes virus. This cat has, like, 7 geriatric things wrong with her already. Gotta draw the line somewhere.
          The armchair saddler
          Politically Pro-Cat


          • #6
            It sounds like it could be herpes virus symptoms brought on by stress. Antibiotics are not indicated for a viral infection. Anitviral drugs are given in some herpes infections but most cases will resolve on their own without any treatment. In a small number of cases herpes can cause corneal ulcers which should be treated agressively. If the symptoms persist please get her checked as an ulcer can be serious and not all cats will squint. I saw one tonight, stained positive for an ulcer with minimal discomfort (no squinting). I-drop vet (hylauronic derived eyedrops) help to reduce the symptoms and make the eye more comfortable. Lysine is also used to help lessen the symptoms of herpes in cats and people, it is a nutritional supplement and very safe and easy to give.


            • #7
              This sort of problem in cats can be caused by food allergies.

              The nice thing about cats is that they can develop allergies at the drop of a hat.

              Have you changed foods lately or has your food's formula changed without you noticing? Try experimenting with another type of food, if possible. It may take several weeks to a month on a food to see if it's going to work.

              I've had good luck with Wysong and Precise. But I had to kiss several frogs before I found the food that stopped the weepy eye.


              • #8
                Jingles & AO ~
                Zu Zu Bailey " IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE ! "


                • Original Poster

                  Food allergies and viruses and corneal ulcers, oh my!

                  Thanks to Zu Zu's jingles and AO (in the form of me yelling at my cat in my mind about the problems she is not allowed to have), she is better.

                  Kitteh did sneeze and cough a little last night. I asked her (sarcastically) is she wouldn't like to rev up her own immune system and get it in gear to deal with an upper respiratory thing caught at the vet's office. After all, she got some catnip-laced treats while she was there, so yanno, it wasn't all bad.

                  Kitteh is better today. Brighter, no coughs and the eye looks good.

                  Thank you all for your help, concern and good wishes.
                  The armchair saddler
                  Politically Pro-Cat


                  • #10
                    Glad she is looking better!

                    Just went through this with one of mine. She had a drippy eye for about a week, but no squinting or rubbing or any sort of "I'm in pain" sort of actions. Finally took her to the vet who confirmed no scratches or anything funky wrong with the eyeball and diagnosed a blocked tear duct. Juliet got steroid/antibiotic drops thrice a day (which she surprisingly tolerated very well) and it cleared up quickly.

                    It's always something, eh?


                    • Original Poster

                      Originally posted by Simkie View Post
                      Juliet got steroid/antibiotic drops thrice a day (which she surprisingly tolerated very well) and it cleared up quickly.
                      She didn't mind having her eye pried open and stuff put in it? I know Old Lady Cat would have dealt with it, but I had bad fantasies about this.
                      The armchair saddler
                      Politically Pro-Cat


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by mvp View Post
                        She didn't mind having her eye pried open and stuff put in it? I know Old Lady Cat would have dealt with it, but I had bad fantasies about this.
                        She did not. I was quite surprised. I was able to catch her up three times a day and put drops in. They were liquid, rather than a goo, so perhaps that helped? I really expected it would be more of a hassle, but it was surprisingly easy. Far easier than pilling her. Easier, even, then catching her to use a transdermal med on her ear flap. She just did not find it offensive at all. And she is the type of kitty to take offense!


                        • #13
                          The above is also true in my experience - my little cat tolerates eye drops surprisingly well, considering how highly opinionated she is about personal space-issues in general. (I find that doing a little face massage to go along with the eye drops will sweeten up the patient considerably.) Now she's learned the drill, I would swear that she actually likes it a bit. She will make a tiny siren noise as token protest, but sits still and lets me do it without being otherwise restrained, which I appreciate. That counts as pretty good grace for a cat.

                          So mvp, the Old Lady Cat in question will probably be fine.


                          • Original Poster

                            Who knew that cats would put up with Eye Messing Around With?

                            To be honest, I was most concerned about how Old Lady Would look on Caturday, the day for the Cat-Lapse Photography Project. I didn't want her to be fugly. Also, I'm cleaning my house for the occasion. That's out of vanity, too. Catness appreciated the fresh sheets put on my bed last night. A cat doesn't want to sleep in cat hair, so the new bed was altruistic.
                            The armchair saddler
                            Politically Pro-Cat


                            • #15
                              FWIW if you have a cat with the herpes flare-ups, and you feed kibble, you may have trouble getting said cat to consume lysine. I feed lysine to the horses and by extrapolation figured that the tiniest sprinkling over the kitty dishes would get a proper amount into their systems. No, nyet, nein, not havin' it. Can't imagine what heinous substance lysine tastes like (the horses have no problems with it) but it turned the cats off mightily. I don't know if I could have disguised the flavor by mixing it into squishy food -- I only give squishy food as a rare (2-4X per month) treat to the barn cats and I wasn't going to risk ruining an entire much-desired meal!

                              I found some yummy lysine treats! I think they were recommended by Zu Zu? I think these are they. Only one of the barn kitties had the flare-ups, also in one eye, and I lost him -- Fog -- last month, so now it is a moot point...
                              Shall I tell you what I find beautiful about you? You are at your very best when things are worst.