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Preventing and Treating Uveitis in Cats: A Comprehensive Guide

Uveitis is a condition that affects the uveal tract of a cat’s eye, including the iris, ciliary body, and choroid. This condition is characterized by inflammation within the uvea, which can be caused by various factors, including injury, infection, autoimmune diseases, and cancer.

Uveitis is a serious condition that can lead to vision impairment or even blindness if left untreated. In this article, we will discuss the symptoms of uveitis in cats and what you can do to treat this condition promptly.

Symptoms of Uveitis in Cats

Cats are notorious for hiding their ailments, which can make it difficult to spot symptoms of uveitis. However, some of the most common signs of uveitis in cats include:

– Red eye The eye may appear reddish or bloodshot, indicating inflammation in the uveal tract.

– Squinting Cats may close their eyes partially or fully to reduce the discomfort associated with the inflammation. – Sensitivity to light Cats with uveitis may avoid bright lights or areas with too much sunlight.

– Watery eyes Excessive tearing may be a sign of inflammation of the uvea. – Altered iris The iris may look cloudy or discolored, and a cat’s pupils may be different sizes or shape.

– Vision problems Cats may experience blurred vision or loss of vision in one or both eyes. It is essential to detect these symptoms as early as possible to avoid complications that can lead to permanent vision loss.

Diagnosing Uveitis in Cats

If you suspect your cat has uveitis, it’s essential to seek veterinary attention immediately. Your veterinarian will perform a comprehensive eye exam to diagnose the condition accurately.

They may also evaluate your cat’s medical history and perform additional tests, such as bloodwork and imaging, to determine the underlying cause of the inflammation.

Treating Uveitis in Cats

The treatment options for uveitis in cats depend on the severity of the condition and the underlying cause. The primary goal of treatment is to reduce inflammation in the eye and prevent further damage to the eye.

Your veterinarian may prescribe topical or oral medications, including anti-inflammatory or corticosteroid medications, to reduce inflammation. Additionally, your cat may require management for any underlying condition causing uveitis, such as bacterial infections or auto-immune disorders.

In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to remove an affected eye to prevent the spread of infection or cancer.

Preventing Uveitis in Cats

Although some causes of uveitis in cats are unavoidable, there are some steps you can take to prevent the onset of uveitis. Routine veterinary eye exams can detect early signs of uveitis, giving you the opportunity to treat it promptly.

You should also keep your cat’s vaccination status up-to-date to reduce their risk of contracting infectious diseases, which can lead to uveitis. Environmental changes are also key in preventing the onset of uveitis in cats.

For instance, you can minimize exposure to bright lights, harsh chemicals, or irritants that can damage the eyes. Regular cleaning of your cat’s eyes, especially if they have hair around the eyes, can also prevent infection.


Uveitis is a severe condition that can lead to vision loss in cats if not detected and treated early. It is essential to remain vigilant and look out for symptoms such as red eye, squinting, sensitivity to light, watery eyes, altered iris, and vision problems.

If you suspect that your cat has uveitis, seek veterinary care immediately. With prompt diagnosis and treatment, you can help your cat live a happy and comfortable life free from uveitis.

Causes of Cat Uveitis

Uveitis in cats can be caused by several different factors, including ocular and systemic causes. Most commonly, uveitis is caused by an underlying inflammation within the uveal tract in response to various types of insults.

Ocular Causes of Uveitis in Cats

Tears, trauma, cataracts, and tumors are common ocular causes of uveitis in cats. When tears flood the eye, it can cause inflammation in the uvea and result in uveitis.

Cataracts can also lead to uveitis due to the presence of a dead lens material that can leak proteins and irritants into the eye. Trauma, such as a scratch from another animal or foreign object, can lead to uveitis as the body tries to repair the injured tissue.

Finally, tumors that form in or around the eye may trigger an inflammatory response that results in uveitis.

Systemic Causes of Uveitis in Cats

Systemic causes of uveitis in cats are divided into infectious and noninfectious diseases. Noninfectious causes include immune-mediated diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), which is a rare autoimmune disease that affects various parts of the body, including the eyes.

Cats with SLE may develop uveitis as one of the many symptoms of the disease. Other autoimmune diseases that may result in uveitis include rheumatoid arthritis and sarcoidosis.

Infectious causes of uveitis can include viral, bacterial, and fungal infections. Viral infections that can lead to uveitis include feline herpesvirus and feline immunodeficiency virus.

Bacterial infections that can cause uveitis are usually secondary to untreated respiratory infections or conjunctivitis. Fungal infections, such as Aspergillus, can also lead to uveitis in cats.

Difficulties in Diagnosing Immune-Mediated Uveitis

Determining the underlying immune-mediated cause of a cat’s uveitis can be challenging for veterinarians. The symptoms and physical exam findings of uveitis are relatively similar, despite the underlying cause.

Therefore, diagnostic tests are often used to rule out other causes before considering immune-mediated disorders.

How Vets Diagnose Cat Uveitis

If your veterinarian suspects that your cat has uveitis, they will perform a comprehensive ophthalmic exam. The exam includes testing for cornea clarity, eye pressure, and tear production.

To perform these tests, your veterinarian may use a slit-lamp biomicroscope or tonometer to measure the eye’s intraocular pressure. Your veterinarian will also examine the color and clarity of the eye’s aqueous humor, which is a clear fluid that fills the space between the cornea and the lens.

If the aqueous humor is cloudy or has a higher than normal protein concentration, it can indicate uveitis. In addition to the ophthalmic exam, your veterinarian may perform basic blood work and laboratory tests to rule out systemic infections and other underlying conditions, such as liver disease or kidney failure.

Other tests may include a complete blood count (CBC), serum chemistry panel, and urinalysis. Questions about physical symptoms and home environment are also common parts of the diagnostic process.

For example, your veterinarian may ask about changes in your cat’s diet, exposure to irritants or toxins and other factors that could contribute to the onset of uveitis. In some cases, your veterinarian may order more specialized testing, such as an ultrasound examination of the eye to visualize the uveal tract and identify any masses or tumors that may be present.


Uveitis is a serious condition that can lead to vision loss and other complications if left untreated. It is crucial to work with a veterinarian who has experience diagnosing and treating uveitis in cats.

By staying informed about the potential causes of uveitis and the diagnostic and treatment options available, you can work with your veterinarian to ensure that your cat receives prompt and effective care for this condition.

Treatment for Uveitis in Cats

The treatment for uveitis in cats depends on the underlying cause, but the primary goal is to alleviate pain and inflammation. Specific therapy may be required for identified causes of uveitis, such as antibiotics for bacterial infections or immunosuppressive drugs for immune-mediated diseases.

In addition to specific therapy, topical and systemic medications may be used to treat uveitis in cats. Topical medications include eye drops which contain anti-inflammatory drugs like corticosteroids, while systemic medications are taken orally and include aspirin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), or other pain medications.

Surgery may also be needed in some cases, especially if the uveitis is secondary to a tumor. The surgical procedure may involve complete removal of the tumor to prevent the development of chronic uveitis.

Recovery and Management of Cat Uveitis

The length of recovery for cats with uveitis can vary based on the underlying cause and the severity of the inflammation. Some cases may resolve quickly with treatment, while others may require more extensive care and management.

To promote healing, follow-up visits are essential to assess treatment effectiveness and to make adjustments when necessary. Cats with chronic or recurrent uveitis may require ongoing treatment and monitoring to prevent blindness and other complications.

Regular check-ups with a veterinarian are essential to assess response to treatment and catch any complications or additional underlying issues that may arise. Additional testing may be required to assess long-term damage to the eye and to help guide treatment and monitoring recommendations.

At home, pet owners can help manage their cat’s uveitis by keeping their eyes clean and monitoring for signs of infection, such as discharge or redness. Any eye discharge or visual problems should be reported to a veterinarian immediately.

Environmental changes, such as reducing exposure to irritants or toxins that can cause uveitis, can also be helpful in preventing recurrence. In cases where a cat has already lost their vision from uveitis, owners should take extra precautions to ensure their cat’s safety and prevent accidents.

This includes keeping the home environment stable and free of hazards that could cause injury. Encouraging cats to use their other senses to navigate their surroundings can also be helpful in helping them adapt to their new lifestyle.


Uveitis in cats is a serious condition that requires prompt diagnosis and treatment to prevent complications, including blindness. While treatment options can vary based on the underlying cause and severity of the inflammation, having a veterinarian with experience in treating uveitis in cats is essential.

Regular check-ups and follow-up visits with a veterinarian can help ensure your cat receives appropriate and effective care and prevent recurrence, blindness, or other secondary complications. In conclusion, uveitis in cats is a serious condition that can lead to vision loss and other complications if left untreated.

Causes of uveitis can include ocular issues such as tears, trauma, cataracts, and tumors, as well as systemic infections and immune-mediated diseases. Diagnosing and treating uveitis requires a comprehensive ophthalmic exam, testing for underlying causes, and specialized care from a veterinarian.

Treatment options include specific therapies, medications, and surgery. Recovery from uveitis in cats can vary, but ongoing management, regular check-ups, and environmental changes can help prevent recurrence and secondary complications, such as blindness.

Awareness of the signs and symptoms of uveitis in cats and prompt veterinary care can help ensure successful outcomes and protect your cat’s vision.

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