Diseases, Pet Care Basics, Shelter and Rescue Resources

Feline Chlamydia – “Cat Pink Eye”

Does my cat have pink eye? Chlamydia in cats 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 five percent 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 cat rescue, mutual grooming commonly transfers the disease.

Cat Pink Eye Symptoms

Feline Chlamydia can infect cats of all ages, but it is more often seen in kittens between five 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 in cats 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.

Cat Pink Eye Treatment

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 with how to treat conjunctivitis in cats, call us at 800.786.4751.

Written by: Donald Bramlage, DVM

Donald Bramlage, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, practiced veterinary medicine for 30+ years and is known for his work in managing parvovirus. He received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Kansas State University in 1985. He served as Revival’s Director of Veterinary Services from 2011 until his retirement in 2019.

If you need help, call us at 800.786.4751.