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Please help! Very young kitten's eye is completely swollen shut.

June 11th, 2010, 08:30 PM
My wife and I are fostering a litter of 4 kittens. They all had minor respiratory infections, except for one who is really sick. They are about 5-6 weeks old.

The left eye on the sick one is completely 100% swollen shut. When I try to clean it with a cloth, I can't even get it to open.

I took him to the vet last Wednesday and he perscribed amoxicillin and an eye drop called tobramycin. Ive been giving him the medication and eye drops twice per day (starting wednesday morning) and have yet to see much improvement at all. In fact, his eye is swollen shut so much at the moment that I dont even know if the eye drops are actually getting in anymore or doing anything useful.

What should I do? The vet said there wasn't any surefire methods, just TLC and dilligence with the meds, but I was hoping for some change by now. I know its only been 2.5 days, but still, I didnt expect things to get worse really.

Should I try to take him back to the vet? What more could they really do?
Should I forcibly open his eye to put the drops in?
Should I contineu to wait?

If things get better will he ever have a normal eye?

Im looking for some advice!! :(

June 11th, 2010, 08:38 PM
I would take him back to the vet asap. Although maybe the meds would have taken more time to make it better , if shouldn't have gone worse.

Is your vet still open ?

June 11th, 2010, 09:32 PM
Definitely see the vet again, and ask for a referral to a specialist if possible. Here is some more info for you:

Mycoplasmal infections usually respond well to topical antibiotics, and Chlamydial infections often also respond, but can recur. However, FHV-1 infections do not respond at all to topical antibiotic therapy, and are very frustrating to treat. Sometimes topical antiviral medications are also used.

Sometimes your doctor may recommend referral to a veterinary ophthalmologist (which is often the case if FHV-1 is suspected to be present) if your cat's eyes are not improving with medication or are worsening.


Herpes infection is extremely common in young kittens especially those facing other stresses (fleas, poor nutrition, environmental cold etc.). Feral kittens, waifs of the streets, outdoor kittens, shelter kittens etc. are all high risk for herpes infection. Young kittens can produce so much ocular discharge that their eyes gum closed sealing the infected secretions around the eye. It is important that the eyelids be opened manually to allow drainage of secretions as well as application of medicine. The swelling of the conjunctivae can be so severe that the eye itself is not visible.

If you can put a warm wet washcloth on the kittens eye it might help to unglue some of the gunk, but I'd be very cautious about trying to pry it open without veterinary help. It could be quite painful to the little guy.
Wash the eyes with warm eye compresses and wipe away any discharges by soaking gauze or a small washcloth in warm water. Colloidal Silver (CS) can be used undiluted in the eyes and nose. Look for concentrations under 50 parts per million (ppm) from a reputable manufacturer e.g. those listed here:

Good luck! I hope he's better soon.

June 11th, 2010, 09:33 PM
Vet is closed, unfortunately. I will call them tomorrow and ask I guess.

His eye hasn't really gotten worse, just closed up a little more. It has stopped oozing, which I guess is good. The meds have started to help with his uri though. His breathing is improving.

Unfortunately, we are also limited by what the shelter is willing to provide. We have 4 pets of our own which all have insurance, but these foster kittens from the shelter only have vet care supplied by the shleter. And unfortunately, we have a pretty poor (monetary wise) shelter. Im not entirely sure they will approve another visit, especially when we were just there. :(

June 12th, 2010, 03:40 PM

We took the kitten to the vet first thing this morning (had to pay for it ourselves unfortunately...), and the vet wasn't too optimistic. She thinks the eye may have ruptured and be sealed shut. We are scheduled for a recheck Monday.

She gave me some terramycin finally, and has told me to try that twice per day until Monday.

The kittens energy level is very high today and his URI seems to be much improved, so at least thats good. Unfortunately, the other kittens are starting to develop the conjunctiva as well :(

Its so difficult to know what to do. We are still paying off our dogs ACL surgery ($3,000+!!) and were only listed as emergency fosters for our shelter. If the bill gets too high, we simply can't afford pay out of pocket for a foster pet when our own pets still have unpaid veterinary costs, and neither can the shelter afford it. We currently have 39 kittens at the shelter that are up for adoption or need foster homes and there simply isn't enough room for them or enough volunteers to foster them. Each of them needs a full complement of shots/vet checkups as well, so spending hundreds on one simply isn't possible. So he may end up losing an eye :(

Please wish me luck. I wish there was some way this would end happily

Anyone who doesn't have their cat spayed or neutered, please read this post and realize what this can result in. Our tiny shelter in a rural area simply cannot handle an influx of stray kittens this size, and the ones we are getting are not going to be getting the type of care they need because we simply don't have the vlunteer power/monetary budget for it.

Please have your pets fixed.