Chorioretinitis in Cats: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Treating and Preventing Feline Chorioretinitis

Chorioretinitis in Cats: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

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Cats of all ages and breeds are susceptible to the dangerous eye ailment chorioretinitis. Here, we break down this eye disorder further.

What Is Chorioretinitis?

Chorioretinitis is a serious eye condition that can affect cats of all ages and breeds. It is a condition that involves inflammation of the retina and choroid, which are the two important layers of tissue that line the back of the cat’s eye. If the inflammation is not addressed, it may cause vision loss and other significant eye issues. However, chorioretinitis in cats is sometimes challenging to discover early on, and by the time it is, it can have done irreparable harm.

In this article, we'll examine chorioretinitis in cats in more detail, including its causes, signs, symptoms, diagnosis, and available treatments. We'll talk about the value of routine veterinarian checkups to identify any possible eye issues early and how to stop this disease from ever forming.


The following are some potential causes of feline chorioretinitis:

  • Infections: Bacterial, viral, or parasite infections can lead to chorioretinitis. Toxoplasma gondii, feline infectious peritonitis (FIP), feline leukemia virus (FeLV), and feline immunodeficiency virus are a few of the infectious agents that can cause this illness (FIV).

  • Inflammatory Disorders: Chorioretinitis in cats can be brought on by inflammatory disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis or autoimmune illnesses like uveitis.

  • Trauma: Choroid and retinal inflammation can result from eye traumas, such as blunt or penetrating trauma.

  • Environmental factors: Chorioretinitis can be brought on by exposure to chemicals, irritants, or allergens in the environment.

  • Genetics: Certain breeds of cats may be predisposed to develop chorioretinitis, such as the Siamese, Abyssinian, and Persian breeds.


Chorioretinitis Symptoms

The symptoms of feline chorioretinitis can vary depending on the extent of the condition and the original cause. Here are some of the common signs to look out for:

  • Vision Problems: Cats with chorioretinitis may experience various degrees of vision loss, such as reduced visual acuity, blurred vision, or difficulty seeing in low-light conditions.

  • Eye Discomfort: Affected cats may show signs of eye discomfort such as squinting, blinking, pawing at their eye, or excessive tearing.

  • Abnormal eye appearance: The damaged eye may have an atypical appearance that is distinct from the healthy eye, such as the eye being red, puffy, or clouded.

  • Changes in Behavior: Cats that lose their vision may display altered behavior, such as becoming more cautious or uneasy in strange situations or avoiding obstacles that they would otherwise easily cross.

  • Other Systemic Symptoms: If the chorioretinitis is caused by an underlying disease, your cat may show additional symptoms such as lethargy, loss of appetite, weight loss, or fever.


A thorough eye examination by a vet is often required to identify chorioretinitis in cats. The vet will utilize a variety of tools throughout the examination to evaluate the retina, choroid, and general eye health. In order to identify the underlying cause of the ailment, the veterinarian may also do other diagnostic procedures, such as blood tests, serology, or PCR testing for infectious infections.

For the diagnosis of chorioretinitis, other diagnostic methods may be utilized, such as:

  • Fluorescein angiography: This imaging test involves injecting a dye into the cat's bloodstream and taking pictures of the dye as it moves through the blood vessels in the cat’s eye. This can help the veterinarian to identify any abnormalities in the blood vessels, which in turn may be a sign of chorioretinitis.

  • Electroretinography: This test measures the electrical activity of the retina in response to light stimulation. A cat with chorioretinitis may have reduced or abnormal electrical responses.

  • Ultrasonography: This imaging test uses sound waves to create images of the eye's internal structures. It can be helpful in detecting changes in the thickness of the retina and choroid, which are common in cases of chorioretinitis.

Treatment and Recovery Options

Based on the underlying cause of the ailment, chorioretinitis in cats is treated differently. The following are some typical treatments that your veterinarian might advise:

  • Medications: Depending on the cause of the chorioretinitis, your veterinarian may prescribe medications such as antibiotics, antivirals, antifungals, or anti-inflammatory drugs. These medications may be administered orally or through eye drops.

  • Supportive Care: Supportive treatment may be necessary for cats with chorioretinitis to treat any pain or vision loss. This can include keeping your cat in a low-light environment, providing a safe and predictable environment to prevent accidents, and minimizing stressors in your cat's life.

  • Management of underlying conditions: If the chorioretinitis is caused by an underlying illness such as FIP or FeLV, your veterinarian will work with you to manage the underlying condition. This may involve additional medications or lifestyle changes to help your cat manage the disease.

  • Surgery: In some cases, surgery may be necessary to remove a damaged eye or treat a traumatic injury to the eye.

How to Prevent Chorioretinitis In Cats

There are several steps you can take to minimize your cat's risk of developing chorioretinitis:

  • Vaccinations: Check to see if your cat has received all recommended shots, including those for feline herpesvirus, feline leukemia virus, and feline immunodeficiency virus. Certain infectious infections that might cause chorioretinitis are preventable with the use of these immunizations.

  • Routine eye exams:  Consult your veterinarian about scheduling routine eye exams. Early diagnosis of eye conditions, such as chorioretinitis, might lessen the risk of severe consequences and vision loss.

  • Healthy Diet and Lifestyle: Provide your cat with a healthy diet and lifestyle to boost its immune system and promote overall health. Ensure they have a clean and comfortable living environment and access to fresh water at all times.

  • Protection from Trauma: Prevent traumatic injuries to your cat's eyes by keeping them indoors, providing them with safe toys, and avoiding any activities that could cause injury.

  • Genetic Testing: Consider genetic testing if you intend to breed your cat to see if it has any hereditary predispositions to diseases like chorioretinitis. This can assist you in making knowledgeable breeding selections and lower the possibility of transmitting hereditary problems to subsequent generations.

By following these preventative steps, you may lessen your cat's chance of developing chorioretinitis and improve its general health and well-being.

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