Chronic Eye Inflammation

Uveitis, an inflammation of the eye, must be managed long-term with medication.

By J. Veronika Kiklevich, DVM

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Q. My cat is a farm cat. Her left eye has uveitis. The vet gave me a steroid cream to administer, and she gave my cat an injection. The problem is that I can't get near the cat to put the cream on, and the injection only worked for a while. Does uveitis return? Is there anything else I can do?

A. Uveitis is inflammation in the eye, and although primary inflammation can occur, its generally associated with some underlying disease process. It can be limited to the area in front of the lens (anterior uveitis), the area in back of the lens (posterior uveitis) or affect the entire eye (panuveitis). Depending on the area affected, different underlying causes may be more likely. Five of the most common underlying causes of uveitis in cats are feline leukemia (FeLV), feline immunosuppressive virus (FIV), feline infectious peritonitis (FIP), toxoplasmosis or neoplasia. In most cases both eyes are affected. Unless the underlying cause of the inflammation is determined and dealt with, the uveitis is likely to be recurrent. Primary uveitis is a chronic disorder that must be managed by long-term administration of medication.

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Reader Comments

richard    yonkers, NY

4/13/2009 7:03:32 PM

I have a outdide cat that I let into the house when its cold and one day she came in and had 4 babies. 2 had died about a week later. I noticed that their eyes weren't open. The two that are left had one eye open now they both are closed.It looks to me like some kind of eye infection. Can I take them to a vet without their mom or is there something I can do at home? They are 3 weeks old now.

Suzanne    Napa, CA

2/5/2009 6:48:21 PM

Very informative. We have a wonderful pet, named Chester. He was adopted over a year ago (he's about a year and a half. His eyes run all the time, and while he does a pretty good job of cleaning, his face is washed every morning by me, with warm water. he loves it. After going to a second veterinarian, he diagnosed Chester with FIP. Apparently, as a kitten, he contacted an upper repiratoral virus and it clogged his tear ducts. They tried to flush them out, but at five months, they seemed permanently shut. Is there anything we can do? Is it too late?? He's about 12 lbs now, "healthy" looking and acting, and a joy.

Jean    Bethlehem, TN

1/12/2009 6:32:49 AM

I have a question about my kitten. He is 7 months old and does not purr. He very rarely meows and that is fine but I can't understand why he doesn't purr. He loves to sit in my lap and follows me wherever I go. he licks me all the time and I know that is a sign of affection. He also bites a lot. If anyone knows how to get him to purr please tell me. Thank You, Jean

Tara    Madisonville, LA

7/9/2008 6:35:00 AM

My 9 month old kitty had uveitis (eye inflammation) in only ONE eye & weeks later it turned out to be FIP (feline infectious peritonitis) & he died within 5 days. It was horrible!

My vet doesn't vaccinate for FIP because it's so rare & the vaccination is very controversial itself. Anyway, my kitty had irriration in one eye (red, bloodshot, discoloration of the iris, and pupil didn't dilate exactly the same as the other). My vet gave him an anitbiotic & steroid drops for the eye & said he thought it was just trama to the eye from one of my other animals BUT he was running a fever, which didn't match up with trama to the eye.

It wasn't until 3 weeks later, when I thought my kitty just had a respiratory infection (he had bad breath, was wheezy when breathing, felt under the weather, napping a lot, losing a little bit of weight, etc.) that I took him back to the vet to discover he had FIP. He had lost weight yet his little belly was swollen, a symptom of FIP because protein gathers in the abdomen (which looks painful but usually isn't). I couldn't put him to sleep that day because I was in shock, wanted/needed to spend time with him to say goodbye, and he was still purring & seemed happy, still eating & drink (but less) and going to the bathroom, but 5 days later he died! It took ahold of him really fast & I could tell on the afternoon/night of the 4th day, so I made the dreaded appt. to have him put to sleep on the 5th day because he had stopped purring & cuddling with me, wasn't eating or drinking or going to the bathroom that much & then he lost control of his bladder & he started hiding (wanting to be left alone & no longer wanted anything to do with me & he was always attached at the hip to me day and night)...anyway, by the time I got him to the vet, his mouth had become jaundiced & he started gagging & barely breathing & he was so sad...he was just a baby & he started dying before my very eyes right before they put him to sleep. It was horrible but thank god he didn't suffer until that 4th or 5th day...I know it. I was very attached to him and very heartbroken.

You can research FIP by looking on

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