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Feline Chlamydia - "Cat Pink Eye"

Chlamydia is a disease caused by an unusual bacteria, which like most viruses, does not survive outside of the cat. This disease is less common in house cats than other respiratory infections (about 5% of feline respiratory disease), but it is more common in show cats and rescues. Chlamydophila bacteria are easily transferred by petting or grooming the carrier cat and then your cat. In a rescue, mutual grooming commonly transfers the disease.


Chlamydia can infect cats of all ages, but it is more often seen in kittens between 5 and 12 weeks of age. Feline Chlamydophila primarily causes eye infection with discharge or conjunctivitis, infection and inflammation of the membranes lining the eyelids. Conjunctivitis is sometimes referred to as "pink eye." Symptoms of this disease include sneezing, coughing, a low grade fever, pink eye, runny nose and lethargy. Although less common, this disease can also infect the upper respiratory tract.


As with most bacteria, this organism will respond to antibiotic treatment. Feline Chlamydophila can be treated with an antibiotic eye ointment, such as Terramycin® Ophthalmic Ointment or Vetericyn® Animal Ophthalmic Gel. You may gently clean discharge from eyes and nostrils. Oral Doxycycline or Chloramphenicol are also used effectively with eye treatment.

This disease is highly contagious, so try to isolate an infected cat from other cats to avoid spreading the disease. Vaccines are available to help protect cats who are at risk of exposure, and they can also help reduce the carrier state if cats become exposed to the disease. Although rare, this bacterial infection can be contagious to humans, so be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after handling your infected cat.

If you need help, call us at 1-800-786-4751.

-Dr. B
Don Bramlage, DVM, Director of Veterinary Services at Revival Animal Health

The materials, information and answers provided through this website are not intended to replace the medical advice or services of your personal veterinarian or other pet health care professional. Consult your own veterinarian for answers to specific medical questions, including diagnosis, treatment, therapy or medical attention.

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