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Ask the Doctor January 2018 Issue

Dear Doctor: A Cat with a Weepy Eye


Q I have a cat that has a problem with a weeping eye (at the nose), a condition she has had for several years.

Now, the iris is gradually turning orange, starting at the nose, and the eye is starting to squint slightly. This seems to be getting worse. When the cat was adopted at about nine months old, she already had this condition.

Our vet has tried several different medications to no avail. Do you have any advice?

Sean Mahoney

A Dear Sean: There are many reasons for a runny eye, but the long duration suggests to me that it’s a benign cause. My first suspicion is a plugged tear duct. Tears are the normal lubricant that prevents friction when blinking, and are constantly produced by glands adjacent to the eye.

Tear fluid drains from the eye through a small duct located on the inner aspect of the eyelid. The signs of a plugged tear duct include clear discharge, most noticeable from the inner aspect of the eye, adjacent to the nose. Because a plugged duct cannot be detected by inspection alone, its presence must be considered and specifically tested.

The simplest test to detect the patency of the tear duct is to place a drop of ophthalmic fluorescent dye (sterile and non-harmful) into each eye. In the normal cat, dye will be detected in the nostrils (tears drain into the nose; that’s why you get a runny nose when you cry). If dye is detected only in one nostril, and not the side with the tearing, this suggests a blocked tear duct. And plugged tear ducts can be re-opened with a minor surgical procedure (best performed by a board-certified veterinary ophthalmologist).

So you may ultimately need to request referral to an ophthalmologist for evaluation. They will likely be able to resolve the problem.

Michael Stone DVM, ACVIM

Clinical Assistant Professor

Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University

Comments (1)

I went through EXACTLY what you are describing with my then 11mo.old Rocket. After
Trying many drugs, going to an Opthamologist and trying more meds and Rocket enduring tests my Internist and I took a different approach. After taking baseline blood work we placed him on a powerful antiviral which he held up to with No side effects. He is tough, but this was a brutal every 8 hours on the dot, shoving a pill down his throat.
21 days later, all weeping, winking, discharge was COMPLETELY GONE. No symptoms whatsoever.
Recently (I am a first responder) Rocket and I evacuated hundreds of sleeping people in the hills and streets for miles around us. I had a portable oxygen machine and used it to remain
In the BURN as my house and 5,000 others in the No. CA firestorm's path burned to ash in just One Night.
KMart, Gas Stations, Boarding Facilities, Fancy Hotels and many Restaurants GONE.
In the aftermath, Rocket, who is used to being with me nearly 18 to 24 hours a day was living in a foreign place with me. I had his blankie, and his carrier covered with a damp towel. I didn't have time to get anything. Not my purse, checkbook or grandmother's jewelry. I lost Everything, even 47 trees both decorative and producing.
But, I have been rescuing the injured, keeping 153 watering and feeding stations going and tracking, trapping and reuniting cats for 80 days since. Mostly living out of my car at night to watch/listen.
I tell you this ONLY because although I knew Rocket was stressed. Both of our eating habits changed dramatically.
I've lost 31 pounds, he lost 2.5 then gained it back, but the Stress allowed the Virus to come out again EXACTLY as it had when I first rescued him
Through a Vet. (A sphynx with mild cardiomyopathy).
AGAIN, we have started the same anti viral med. Without stressing him further with other tests. I insisted on a blood baseline.
We are 5 days in, every 8 hours and are "on it" just as we would be with a Human child. Already there is a small improvement and soon we will be in our rental home while deciding if I will rebuild.
Will send an update or name of the anti viral pill t.i.d. and how we got it for $38.00 with $15.00 fedx
Compared to our local compounding pharmacy @
$468.09 for 21 days.
And it is commercially available! We just had to search!
Happy New Year!

Posted by: KAT Geneste | January 2, 2018 2:41 AM    Report this comment

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