Species affected: Cats, Dogs
Background: In dogs, this problem is commonly associated with allergies and with exophthalmos, although irritants, blocked tear ducts, keratitis sicca and corneal problems can also cause conjunctivitis. In cats, allergy may be a factor, though chronic viral (calicivirus, herpes virus) and chlamydial infections are very common. Infectious diseases may be more common, but the lesion is not usually primarily corneal; it's often an uveitis or a systemic disease. Common infectious diseases causing blindness in the cat include: feline infectious peritonitis, feline leukemia, and toxoplasmosis.
Symptoms: An inflammation of the eyelids and other conjunctival membranes of the eyes; often accompanied with redness of the sclera and excess tearing and discharges. Conjunctivitis often follows acute irritation by wind, snow, dust, plant material or an abrasion during a fight or play.
Diagnostics: A thorough examination should be performed to rule out corneal erosion, foreign objects or other non-self-correcting problems. Many breeds have misshapen eyelids and/or errant eyelashes causing chronic inflammation.
Special Notes: In cats, taurine and thiamine deficiencies have been historically more common due to the unique dietary requirements of the cat. Chronic conjunctivitis can be related to immune system problems.
Principles for Supplementation: Aid the immune system; add nutrients to support ocular tissue and ocular immune system.