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Does Your FIV Cat Have Pink Eye?

Generally, with proper nutrition and regular vet visits, FIV cats can live normal, healthy lives for several years without showing signs of illness. However, they do tend to be more vulnerable to infections. That’s why most FIV cat parents keep their feline companions under close supervision in case a suspicious symptom rears its head.

When it comes to cats with FIV, early detection of a possible health concern is very important since these cats already have a compromised immune state. One of the most common issues that develop in FIV cats is skin infections, such as our topic for today: the infamous pink eye.


What’s Pink Eye?

Pink eye, medically known as conjunctivitis, is a common eye infection in cats, especially ones with viral diseases, like FIV. It causes the tissues surrounding the inner part of the eyelids and thin outer covering of the eyeballs to become red and inflamed. It may affect one or both eyes, and depending on the severity of the infection, cause the skin under the eyelids to slightly or completely protruding out into the eyeball.


How Do I Know If My FIV Cat Has Pink Eye?

If you suspect that your FIV cat is developing pink eye, look out for excessive blinking, squinting, inflammation of the eyelids, constant pawing at the eye area, tearing, reddening or swelling around the eyes or eyelids, and presence of discharges that may either be transparent, thick, or dark-colored. Although cats of all breeds, ages, and sizes can contract pink eye, it’s found to be more common in younger felines.


How Can My FIV Cat Get Pink Eye?

The main reason why it’s common for FIV cats to get pink eye is that they have a compromised immune system. However, pink eye can also develop as a result of airborne irritants (dust, perfumes, cigarette smoke, pollen, mold spores, etc.), the herpes virus, the calicivirus, or bacteria, such as chlamydophila or mycoplasma. The good news is, after recovering from the infection, most cats normally develop permanent immunity and never experience recurrences in the future.


How Is Pink Eye Diagnosed?

Pink eye is generally diagnosed based on the results of a physical examination. If your FIV cat is showing signs of an infection, like squinting or tearing, your veterinarian may begin the assessment by placing a few drops of local anesthetic into their eye/s. This will numb your cat’s eye/s and prepare them for the next steps.

Once the anesthetic kicks in, your veterinarian will start examining your cat’s eye/s for wounds or foreign material to narrow down the possible causes of the reddening and inflammation. A process called fluorescein staining may also be done to locate possible wounds on the surface of the eye/s and determine the severity of the infection. Fluorescein is a liquid that sticks to open wounds and glows under the UV light, so after your veterinarian instills a few drops into your FIV cat’s infected eye/s, any cuts will be seen right away.


How Is Pink Eye Treated?

Typically, pink eye resolves on its own, without the help of medications. However, if there’ is obvious pain and discomfort, your veterinarian may prescribe an antibiotic eye drop or ointment to make your FIV cat more comfortable and help the infection subside faster. Your veterinarian will then give you instructions on how to properly administer the medication at home. Usually, these medications will need to be given three to four times a day for two to three weeks.

While your FIV cat is recovering, make sure to keep track of their progress and keep your veterinarian up to speed. If you notice that the infection isn’t getting any better or is actually getting worse, take your cat to the vet clinic right away.


How Can I Prevent My FIV Cat from Getting Pink Eye?

The best way to prevent your FIV cat from getting pink eye is to keep them indoors if they aren’t already. This will help limit their exposure to airborne irritants, viruses, molds, and bacteria, which are the main culprits of pink eye. If your FIV cat is already an indoor-only feline, then regular cleaning and disinfection will do wonders in preventing not only pink eye but also other diseases and infections.


Has your FIV cat ever gotten pink eye?