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Dr. Steve
Dr. Steve, Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 4264
Experience:  20 years of companion animal experience
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1 Week Old Kittens with Puss in Eyes

Customer Question

Hello and thank you for taking my question,

I have 5 Savannah kittens born on March 22nd. They have been feeding well and look quite round and healthy. The mother looks very well too. I noticed the corners of most of their eyes are just starting to open a bit last night. Today I noticed there was a little gunk in the corner of one of the girls' eyes. As I was cleaning it a bunch of thick off-white puss came out. On another kitten one eye had a little in the corner too. I have a few questions I was hoping I could get some input on:


1.) This happened to the kittens in a litter from a different mother several months ago. It started in one and then all kittens had it after a few days. Should I start preemptively treating all of them with Pentamycetin or Tobramycin? Last time I used Pentamycetin (1 drop in each eye, twice daily for 7-14 days).

2.) I am wondering if this is common? I have other Savannah breeders telling me this happens all of the time since this breed of kittens open their eyes much faster then regular domestics. I've fostered dsh mothers with kittens for rescues and their eyes start opening around 14 days. I never see this happen in other breeds.

3.) If this is not common, what could be causing it? The mother was tested before mating and her blood panel came out clean. She also doesn't have any sign of infection (nor has she ever). I am a small cattery and all of my breeders are strictly indoor cats.

Thanks for the time and information,
-Christine
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Steve replied 3 years ago.

Dr. Steve :

Hi, I'm Dr Steve. To answer your questions one by one.

Customer:

Hi and thank you

Dr. Steve :

The symptoms you are describing is possible an eye infection caused by bacteria. This is what causes the pus. I would start with iether of those two antibiotics and treat twice a day for 7-10 days. The second answer is that I have never heard of this being common in Savannah cats because they open thier eyes earlier. The reason these kittens are getting this infection os that they are becoming exposed to bacteria in the air or from the mother.

Customer:

Should I treat all of them or just the ones I noticed? I am figuring that since the mother cleans all of them, that it will probably spread

Customer:

As for the bacteria... Can it be anything? Or a specific type of bacteria?

Dr. Steve :

The mother being tested was likely for viruses like Feline leukemia and FIV. These can suppress the immune ayatem and make a cat more susceptible to eye infection , but since she was negative, her kittens should be negative as well.

Customer:

We also tested for Corona Virus along with the ones you mentioned

Customer:

My last kittens had bacterial mycoplasma spp. but that was all cleared last year and no one has been showing symptoms since

Customer:

Note: different mother and father

Customer:

I also had domestics fostered here that had no problem a few months back

Dr. Steve :

I would start treating the ones with symptoms only for now, but be ready to treat any new ones at the first signs of problems. It could spread. The type of bacteria is hard to know without taking a sample to a lab and having it cultured. This is usuall y not necessary, because antibiotic drops are typically effective on many diferent bacteria.

Customer:

Their eyes are barely open (some are not even open yet). Where should I put the drops? Will it work if their eyes are mostly closed? Should I wipe them first?

Customer:

Sorry for all of the questions... I will add a tip after cause I'm bothering you so much

Dr. Steve :

It may be possible that savannah cats may not have as developed of an immune system than DSH cats and the kittens are more susceptible to infections at an earlier age. This is just a theory and since eyes typpically clear easily with treatment it isn't a topic that much research has ben done on.

Dr. Steve :

No problem. Wipe the eys with a moist soft cloth, then put one drop in the corner where the eyes have started to open (if they have) , otherwise put it in the inside corner and hold the kitten up so the drop sits there for 1-2 minutes and it should soak in .

Customer:

They squirm like heck but I will try to swaddle them

Customer:

Do you prefer one of the drops to the other? I think I have more Pentamycetin

Customer:

Is there anything else you recommend to keep infection from spreading? (other than standard hand washing)

Dr. Steve :

POentamycetin shold be fine, especially if you have had good results with it in the past. There isn't much you can do to stop the spread because the mother could be the carrier. You could try and put drops inthe mother just in case she has a small amount of bacteria in her eyes that aren't causing problems, but are being sppread to the kittens that way. I hope this has helped Thank you and good luck. If you havemore questions, please continue.

Customer:

Thanks this is all very helpful. What should I look out for in terms of if it gets worse?

Customer:

Just basic not eating and lethargy?

Dr. Steve :

Yes lethargy, poor appetite and increased amounts of pus in the eyes.

Customer:

Ok the one kitten had an alarming amount, but it was pretty similar last time. Is there a gently way to squeeze it out when their eyes aren't fully open? Or do I just keep wiping the corner until it all comes out?

Dr. Steve :

It is best to just keep wiping until the eye begins to open, then you can gently push from the closed side to the open side to squeeze the pus out.

Customer:

Ok. They scream at me so I worry since the eyes are fragile

Dr. Steve :

If they seem painful you may just let it be . It probably is painful. You could ask your vet about using anoral antibiotic like clavamox or cephalexin inthe kittens that don't have their eyes open yet, it may help slow the development iof the infection. Again just in the oens who seem to behaving trouble.

Customer:

Ok I will see what he says. Thanks again for all of the help. Have a nice day!

Dr. Steve, Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 4264
Experience: 20 years of companion animal experience
Dr. Steve and 5 other Cat Veterinary Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Hi Steve,

I just went to clean the kittens' eyes. One of the ones I initially saw gunk in one eye has the other eye very puffy. I can't seem to massage it open a little to see if it's puss that needs to be drained out. Will the Pentamycetin help or should I rush him to the vet so they can force his eye open to drain it? Or is the puffiness something else?

Thanks,
-Christine
Expert:  Dr. Steve replied 3 years ago.
I am sorry I was away for so long. How is the kitten's eye now?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Hi,

No worries, you can't be online 24/7.

It is still puffy and not open. After the initial dose of Pentamycetin the kittens got a little lethargic for a few hours but I do not see puss in anyone's eyes.

My vet is away but told me to leave it until tomorrow and see how it looks but I'm bad at the waiting game. I've cleaned everyone's eyes a couple of times today just to be sure but I'm wondering if there's anything I can do for the one with the one puffy eye? Is it possible it's trapped puss or is it puffy from something else?

Thanks,
-Christine
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Update: after massaging his eye with a warm compress (I've done this a few times since last night) I finally managed to get it to open a little from the corner. TONS of thick white puss came out of the screaming kitten and the swelling is now gone. He also seems to be more comfortable now.

Should I change anything that I'm doing? Or continue cleaning his eye and putting drops in it twice a day? How often should I be cleaning it to make sure it doesn't get pussy again? Any recommendations on best cleaning methods? I've been using warm water on paper towels to gently wipe from the corners.

Thanks again,
-Christine

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