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How to Treat Eye Infections in Dogs and Cats

Medications and Treatments for Your Pet's Eye Infection

By Kat Sherbo. October 25, 2012 | See Comments

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    PetCareRx Staff Veterinarian

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How to Treat Eye Infections in Dogs and Cats

Eye infections in pets may need to be treated with eye drops, medications, or surgery, depending on the cause of the infection. See what the options are for treating eye infections in pets.

Take your pet to the veterinarian if any of the symptoms of eye infections persist for 48 hours. This means the problem is something more than a small foreign object, like dust, or a small scratch on the surface of the eye. If the symptoms don’t go away, it means your pet can’t get rid of the problem or heal on their own.

Testing

Your veterinarian may perform some tests to determine what’s causing the eye infection. A tonometry test will measure the pressure within your pet’s eye, and could confirm or rule out glaucoma as the type of infection. Your vet may perform blood tests to look for immune diseases or bacterial or viral infections. A Schirmer tear test will test the production of tears in your pet's tear glands, and may reveal that artificial tear drops are needed.

Medications and Treatment

Once the cause is found, treatment with medicines may be possible. You may have to clean around your pet’s eye and remove discharge, and administer eye drops or other medicines, like Baytril otic. The eye drops may be a simple tear-like solution or a prescription cyclosporine, which will rehydrate your pet’s eye, or it could be an antibiotic such as tobramycin, or other prescription medication.

You may need to put a cone collar on your pet to keep them from scratching at their eyes while treatment heals the infection.

In some cases, the cause of the eye infection is a physical malformation on or around the eye. A malformed tear duct may cause what’s known as cherry eye—a protruding tear duct that looks like a red growth. Surgery may be required to reposition the tear duct and avoid any further irritation of the eye.

Prevention

Congenital or genetic predispositions to eye infections can’t be prevented, but bacterial, viral, and fungal infections can be.

You can help to prevent some eye infections in your pets by helping them to maintain a strong immune system. Zinc is a mineral found in healthy retinal tissue and may protect the eye from inflammation. Vitamins A, C, and E boost the immune system and help pets ward off infections from taking hold.

You can also be sure to clean your pet’s face after they’ve been outside, especially if they’ve been digging. By removing dust and grit, you’ll reduce the chance of something getting into your pet’s eyes and causing a problem.

This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or diagnosis or treatment by, your veterinarian with respect to your pet. It has, however, been verified by a licensed veterinarian for accuracy.

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