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Swollen, runny eyes

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Q.    My cat’s eye looks a bit swollen and runny.  She has been rubbing it with her paw.  What could this be?

A.    She will need to be examined by a vet.  There are many possible causes of which the more common are:

  • Conjunctivitis – inflammation of the membranes around the eye which are usually due to infection, irritation or allergy.
  • Cat ‘flu’ although this more commonly causes a discharge from both eyes.
  • Trauma – a scratch on the eye from another cat.  In this case, a course of antibiotics may be required to prevent any infection setting in.
  • A foreign body – such as a grass seed, stuck under the 3rd eyelid.

Less common causes include a dislocated lens, increased pressure within the globe or an eye tumour.  A runny eye can also be caused by a blockage of the duct that normally drains tears from the corner of the eye.  Your vet will examine the eye and treat as appropriate.

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