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Why is My Diabetic Cat’s Third Eyelid Showing & Oozing: Should I Be Concerned?


Dear VetBabble: Why is My Diabetic Cat’s Third Eyelid Showing and Oozing and Should I Be Worried?

My cat is 12 years old and has diabetes. Yesterday we noticed that her third eyelid was covering about a quarter of her eye and it is oozing. She is lethargic, and I suspect she may have an upper respiratory infection, an eye infection, or something more systemic. I am very worried about her since she is diabetic. Should I take her to the vet to rule out something serious? Is there anything I should watch for in her behavior or condition?

As a warmhearted and informative veterinarian, I understand your concern for your cat’s wellbeing, especially considering her diabetes. In this article, I will discuss the possible causes of your cat’s symptoms and the importance of seeking veterinary care. I will also provide some general advice for pet owners facing similar issues with their pets.

Understanding the Third Eyelid and Oozing

A cat’s third eyelid, also known as the “nictitating membrane,” plays a protective role for the eye. When the third eyelid appears more visible than usual or is accompanied by discharge, it can indicate various underlying health issues, ranging from mild eye infections to more severe systemic illnesses. Lethargy in your cat can also be a sign that she is not feeling well.

Since your cat is diabetic, it is essential to consider how this condition may affect her overall health. Diabetes in cats can lead to several complications, and proper monitoring and care are crucial to managing this disease. To learn more about diabetic cats, read our article “My Cat Has Diabetes: What Should I Know?“.

Potential Issues and Seeking Veterinary Care

Given the symptoms your cat is displaying, there are multiple potential causes that should be considered:

  1. Eye Infection: The oozing from your cat’s eye could signify that she has an eye infection, which may require antibiotic eye drops or ointment to treat effectively. Check our article on “Common Eye Conditions in Dogs” for more related information, as some eye conditions can occur in both dogs and cats.
  2. Upper Respiratory Infection: This can cause visible third eyelids and may be accompanied by other symptoms such as nasal discharge, coughing, and sneezing. Treatment usually involves supportive care, hydration, and sometimes antibiotics if a bacterial infection is present.
  3. Systemic Illness: As a diabetic cat, her immune system may be compromised, making her more susceptible to systemic infections or other issues. Kidney disease, for example, is a common condition in older cats and can cause similar symptoms. You may want to read our article on “Kidney Disease in Cats” to learn more about this condition.

Considering your cat’s age, diabetes, and the severity of her symptoms, I highly recommend taking her to your veterinarian for a thorough examination and further diagnostics. Your vet can perform a physical exam, blood tests, and other diagnostics to determine the root cause of her symptoms and recommend an appropriate treatment plan. By doing so, we can rule out something serious and ensure your cat receives the necessary care to recover and continue living a healthy life.

Overall Health Monitoring and Keeping Your Cat Hydrated

Monitoring your cat’s overall health is crucial, especially for diabetic cats. Keep a close eye on her appetite, energy levels, and water intake to identify any abnormal changes in her behavior or condition. If your cat starts drinking more water than usual, read our article on “Why Does My Cat Drink More Water?” to understand the potential reasons and when to seek veterinary advice.

Maintaining proper hydration is essential for all pets, particularly in cases where they might be experiencing infections or health issues. Offer your cat fresh water daily and monitor her drinking habits. If she seems reluctant to drink, you can encourage her by providing a water fountain, moistening her food, or offering ice cubes for her to lick.

In summary, your cat’s symptoms are concerning, and it is essential to seek veterinary care to rule out serious health issues. By working closely with your veterinarian and monitoring your cat’s health, you can ensure she receives the necessary care and attention to maintain her wellbeing.

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