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Ask Dr. Kara Your Own Question
Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 17893
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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My cat has got a runny eye, she has not been near another cat,

Customer Question

My cat has got a runny eye, she has not been near another cat, what can I do?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 3 years ago.
Hello, my name is Dr. Kara and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian. I understand that you are concerned because Jenny's eye is tearing more then normal or looks infected.

Possibilities for why she has more then normal tear production in one eye include a blocked tear duct, an abnormality of her eyelids (entropian or a rolled in eyelid, or ectropian which is a rolled out eyelid), distichiasis (abnormal eyelashes that point toward the eye rather then outward), an upper respiratory infection, a scratch to her cornea (clear outer part of the eye) or allergic irritants. Glaucoma, or an increased intraocular pressure, or mass in the eye are other possibilities.

As you can see there are fairly innocent reasons for this that can be helped with using artificial tears or flushing out her tear ducts but some of these problems need surgical repair or are more serious, like glaucoma.
I would expect her to be squinting or more uncomfortable if the more serious problems were behind her increased tearing.
Is she squinting or pawing at her eye?
Is her eye very red?

If she is feeling fine otherwise there are a couple things that you can try at home.

You can start with flushing that eye copiously with sterile saline, then applying artificial tears every few hours and see if that helps.

If the discharge is yellow or green you can apply Polysporin ointment to her 3 to 4 times daily for at least a week.

In case this is related to an upper respiratory infection you can give her an amino acid supplement called L-lysine at 250mg to 500mg orally twice daily. If this infection is due to Herpes this amino acid interferes with virus replication and will shorten the infection's duration and severity. Good supplements to try are made by the Viralys brand which comes in a powder to add to the food or a tasty gel. I understand that she hasn't been around other cats but some cats carry the Herpes virus all their lives and as the age and their immune system weakens we may symptoms here and there such as sneezing or a runny eye.

If she isn't much better in a couple days, or her eye becomes swollen or red or she is pawing at it, she should be looked at by her veterinarian to try and diagnose her particular problem.

Best of luck with your girl, please let me know if you have any further questions.