Optic neuritis in cats: symptoms, causes, treatment

Optic neuritis in cats: an inflammation of the optic nerve that should not be underestimated. Here are the symptoms and causes of this disorder.

Optic neuritis is a disorder that can affect either one or both of the feline’s optic nerves, making them swollen. This condition compromises the visual function of our four-legged friend for this reason it is advisable to know how to recognize the symptoms.

In this article we will see specifically what are the symptoms and causes of optic neuritis in cats and what needs to be done to help our furry friend.

Optic neuritis in cats: symptoms and causes

The optic nerve is that nerve that picks up and transmits visual signals from the retina to the cat’s brain.

When optic neuritis affects the feline, there is a loss of nerve conduction and as a result the cat may have both partial and total vision loss.

This condition can be primary, even if rare and secondary, that is, be a consequence of other pathologies. This last case is very common in our four-legged friends.

The main diseases that can cause optic neuritis in cats are:

  • Inflammatory disease of the tissues of the eye
  • Inflammatory brain disease
  • Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP) 
  • Bacterial infection
  • Fungal infection
  • Toxoplasmosis in cats 
  • Lead poisoning in the cat 
  • Hypertension in cats 
  • Trauma
  • Eye cancer
  • Vitamin A deficiency

The main symptoms to observe to understand if our little hairball can suffer from optic neuritis are:

  • Dilated pupils in cats 
  • Partial view
  • Headache
  • Disorientation
  • Pain when the cat moves the eye
  • Anguish

In the event that our furry friend exhibits such symptoms, it is advisable to take him to the vet.

Optic neuritis in cats: diagnosis and treatment

The specialist will begin to carry out a complete physical examination of the feline, paying particular attention to the eyes to identify any inflammation.

If there is the presence of the latter, the veterinarian will carry out further tests: complete blood analysis, urinalysis and will measure blood pressure.

If these tests detect the presence of optic neuritis , the specialist will recommend an animal neurologist for further tests.

The latter in fact will be able to perform an electroretinogram , an MRI or a CT scan. In addition, the specialist may also take a sample of cerebrospinal fluid.

The treatment depends only on the condition that caused the optic neuritis in feline. However, the vet may prescribe:

  • Topical and systemic corticosteroids: to reduce swelling near the affected optic nerve
  • Antibiotics and pain relievers : in the presence of an infection
  • Medicines to control blood pressure : in case the cat is hypertensive

To ensure that the cat does not lose sight, it is advisable to carefully observe the symptoms present in the feline and take the latter to the vet in time.

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