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Go to a specialist for Ziv's eyes or not?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
When we adopted Ziv at the end of January, his right eye was tearing. When it didn't go away in a week, we took him to the SPCA clinic vet, who gave us some eye drops (nothing special, just lubricant) and Clavamox--he thought Ziv had a URI. The tearing didn't go away, so we brought him to our new (good) vet in Feb. She gave us more eye drops and antibiotics, but also tested him for a possible scratch on his cornea--no scratch. She said (or so I thought), that if the tearing didn't go away, it was probably just because some cats are like that.

The tearing seemed to abate and then resurge over the following few weeks. About two weeks ago, my boyfriend noticed that Ziv's eyelid was reddish and puffy, and also the tearing had changed to a brown color. Yikes! We took him to the same good hospital, but we happened to get a different doctor. I like him a lot better--he's a lot more proactive and very willing to explain things.

Anyway, he prescribed a different antibiotic (explaining that Clavamox was unlikely to help this sort of thing), plus an antibiotic ointment--Terramycin--to be administered to both eyes.

Over the last two weeks, the color in the discharge has gone away, but now both eyes are bothering Ziv, whereas the left never seemed to have a problem before. Our vet had said that if the antiobiotic didn't work, then we could move on to an antiviral. Of course, the antiviral turns out to be a human medicine that costs $100--and there's no guarantee that it would work.

We're at the end of the antibiotic pills (though not the ointment). The vet suggests that we start a different antibiotic, or he could refer us to a specialist. We have enough money to make sure our cats get regular vet visits, but we're not sitting on a gold mine. I was leaning toward the new antibiotic at first, but now I'm thinking that it might save us money--plus, it might save Ziv from more discomfort--if we take him to the specialist. Any thoughts?

Since Ziv has has this condition since we adopted him, I'm not sure if I can tell what fully "normal" behavior for him is, but I can say a few things. He's around 2 years old (though the SPCA told us that he was 10 months, 3 subsequent vets have said "no way"). He's a sweet boy, purrs like a broken tractor when we pet him. He plays quite a bit with our two other cats, dashing headlong around the house, so his eyesight doesn't seem to be affected, and he's not lethargic. He doesn't seem to show any other symptoms, either, but when he's lying or sitting around, he squints a lot.

I'd really appreciate any insight anyone can offer. Thanks in advance--this is such a great site!
post #2 of 10
Has the vet mentioned feline herpes? One of my 12 Emma has feline herpes. It first showed up at 5 months, she will be 3 in May. She had it in both eyes in the beginning and now only has one eye that bothers her. Her eye is usually weeping and full of gunk, it also has a reddish crust that forms. Some days are better than others. Emma and the others are on a high quality cat food to keep her immune system up to par because it was explained to me that if she gets sick she will be really sick. The vet also said that the medication they would presribe for this was very expensive, so he suggested changing her cat food and making sure she was taken to the vet as soon as she showed any sign of getting sick. I also clean Emma's eye every morning before I head off to work and in the evening when I get home with a warm washcloth. And if she needs it cleaned at any other time she comes and wipes her face on me!! There are others on this site that have kitties with this that have add lysnine (sp?) to help in fighting this. I haven't tried this with Emma yet but I am thinking about trying it. They might be able to explain the benefits better then me but I guess it helps break up the herpes cycle. By the way none of the other 11 cats have come down with this and that includes my 14 year old Calico and the little ones that arrived after Emma. Emma sees fines but I can't get a really good picture of her because one eye always looks bigger than the other one! Good luck with your kitty and Emma purrs like a broken tractor too! You can PM me if you would like to know anything more about how Emma deals with this.

post #3 of 10
I've been giving 500 mgs of l-lysine per day to Angel and IT WORKS!!!
post #4 of 10
My advice and some general comments: I would go to a specialist. The few times I've had a cat with an eye problem, my vet usually consults with a not too far away veterinary opthamologist, and if needed, I have taken my cat for a direct exam and consultation. I think you will spend less money overall and save time, by getting a definitive diagnosis and plan of action.

Fwiw, I currently have a kitty who got a puncture of his eye (tip of a toe nail), he is on clavamox orally, as well as Tobramycin eye gtts, and responding well.

My past experience with using Terramycin eye ointment is that it is irritating,and sometimes would cause redness and visible irritation. I still keep a tube of it on hand at all times, but it's not my fav (and per a discussion with my vet when I first took Dee in, she agrees )

My vet's instructions for doseage with lysine has been less - 250 mg per day, it was helpful for my pretty Miss Mervat (RB).
post #5 of 10
I think it's a good idea to take him to the specialist. I think antibiotic might only
work on bacterial infection-what if he doesn't have that? Anyhow, hopefully the specialist would do better in diagnosing him
post #6 of 10
Is the human medicine that you are referring to Zithromax? Richie has herpes and/or chlamydia. He's been on clavamox for the bacterial infections he's gotten as a result of the contant tearing and I give him 500mg l-lysine daily. It is his left eye that is mostly effected constantly runny and swollen. The terramycin seemed to make his eye run even more...I don't think he took well to it. The Zithromycin seemed to help quite a bit and now he is getting Idox drops that I'm supposed to apply 6x per day to both eyes. It does seem to have taken much of the swelling away so it seems to be working so far. The vet also said his eye duct is blocked and is hoping these drops help otherwise the vet will unblock it herself. He may also be going to see the opthamologist as recommended by my vet if we can't get this under control. I think its a good idea to see the specialist if you can.
This is what Richie's eyes looked like at the worst black/brown discharge and all. This would happen (though not as severe) about a week to two weeks after he'd finish the Clavamox:
post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 
I was very suspicious about the Terramycin--it really did seem to irritate Ziv's eyes, and it was only after the vet said to put it in both eyes that Ziv's left eye seemed irritated (whereas the right had been tearing for almost 3 months). The last time I gave him the Terramycin was yesterday morning (along with the last pill). This morning, I looked at him, and he looked SO much better. His eyes were wide open and didn't look like they had been tearing much at all. I didn't get to take a really close look--I was rushing to get ready for work!--but I'm going to give him a thorough exam tonight. I made an appointment with the opthalmologist for Saturday, and I still think I'll take Ziv in, just to be on the safe side.

I don't think that it's herpes. The vet didn't mention it, but he did ask if Ziv had symptoms that I now realize are also associated with herpes. (He doesn't have any of the sneezing/runny nose type symptoms.) But, I will ask the opthalmologist to rule it out (or not) on Saturday.

Nern, I don't think it was Zithromax. It was an ointment or eye drop, not a pill, and having taken Zithromax myself, I only know of it in pill form (though I could be wrong).
Elizwithcat, you're right. Since we're not sure what's going on, the vet wanted to try antibiotics first, since antivirals are kinda iffy. But if it is caused by a virus, then the antibiotic would not do anything besides cut down on secondary infections.
Pat&Alix (sorry, I don't know which name you go by on the board), what's Tobramycin? (I like to know about all this stuff so that I can be prepared to ask lots of questions.)

Once again, I'm thinking to myself--what would I do without this forum? Thanks, everyone! I'll keep you updated.
post #8 of 10
Tobramycin 0.3% - an antibiotic opthalmic solution. Per the insert - "It is a water-soluble aminoglycoside antibiotic active against a wide variety of gram-negative and gram-positive opthalmic pathogens."

You can call me Pat (alix p. curl is my plumb brown tabby, & my cohort in business)
post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 
I took Ziv to the specialist today. The trip there was a nightmare! Ziv doesn't mind being in a carrier, but he HATES the car. On the way there, he gave himself a big scratch on the nose, lost part of a nail, ripped a tiny hole in the new soft carrier, and generally meowed and wailed. For the drive home (30 minutes one way), I asked for a sedative, which they gave him. He meowed, but didn't cause himself any injury.

I wasn't thrilled with the vet, but he certainly seemed to know what he was talking about. I prefer a vet who explains everything, even to excess. Ziv was good while we were there, though he did try to keep exploring. The vet's diagnosis was most likely chlamydia. That was the good thing--he was careful about explaining the costs of various lab tests--that's why the diagnosis is "most likely." Ziv is to take a three-week course of Zithromax, plus I'm to give him Lysine in the meantime--the vet had a huge sample bottle, so at least I won't have to pay for that. I'm really hoping that the Zithromax will clear this up!

Thank again for all your input.
post #10 of 10
Poor Ziv...I wish we could explain to them in these situations, that it really is going to be okay

I'm glad you got a probable answer, and hope that Ziv is forgives you for this trip soon
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