Feline – Cat – Herpes of the Eye – Bacterial Eye Infection or Viral Eye Infection or Granuloma of the Eye

Treating my 2 year old female cat with a viral herpes infection of her eye.

Update: May 6 2021 – Feline Granuloma of the Eyelid

After 4 years of a constant battle with Millie’s eye with perpetual courses of treatment (see below), we finally figured out that she had neither herpes of the eye or a chronic eye infection, it ended up being a Granuloma of the eye. Two weeks of Prednisone and it cleared up.

If it seems that your cat is not responding to herpes or chronic eye infection treatments, make sure that you ask about feline granuloma.


Our cat Millie is less than two years old. She was living at our vet’s office before we adopted her. When she was at the vet and after we adopted her she has suffered with a couple of minor eye infections. But the infection she has now is persistent.

This latest eye infection started at the end of the summer with the sticky goo in the corner of her eye and the famous eye infection squint. We started with Ciprofloxacin and moved on to Ofloxacin, one drop, twice a day. After 14 days the infection seemed to be gone but a few days after we finished with the drops, the goo and the squint came back. We started a second treatment lasting 21 days, after about a week or so the goo and the squint came back again. We are now on the third go round.

Obviously, we had been warned that most likely her eye has a viral (herpes) infection but we were all hoping that it would be a quick one and that the antibacterial drops would treat the symptom until the viral infection went into remission. It seems the the viral infection creates the bacterial infection – or allows an environment for a bacterial infection. The antibacterial drops after a week makes the eye appear cured.

At the start of the 3rd infection, our vet ordered Famciclovir (antiviral) pills to be administered twice a day for two weeks ($140 at Walgreen’s). Millie would not take them on her own, (through the pill pockets or by the pill being crushed in her food). I do not have the stomach to shove the pill down her throat or shoot it in with the ‘pill giver’.

It is so incredibly frustrating and saddening that you read online that a herpes viral will last about 14 days and we are about to start the fourth month of this!

I will keep you informed, and I will continue this blog as to how long this first virus lasts and how long we stay in remission before it rears it’s ugly head again and what treatment works the best . Anything you have to add to this discussion would be greatly helpful, thanks!

This is a running time-frame from November – The original infection started in August:

Update, November 14, 2018: We’ve been staggering out the antibacterial eye drops Ofloxacin. Just trying to out ‘live’ the herpes. I am hoping that it will go away on it’s own. We started with two drops a day and went to 1 drop a day for a week and now we are only putting in one drop every other day. At the end of this week we are going to try one drop every three days for a week or so. Her eye still looks pretty good.

Update, Thanksgiving day, November 22, 2018: I thought we were ahead of this herpesvirus but two treatments after downgrading to one drop every three days, the bacterial infection in her right eye came roaring back last night. So sad. I guess we are going to have to return to the idea of shoving the pill, Famciclovir, down her throat or see if the vet will be able to get some kind of antiviral drops Cidofovir. It’s been almost four months since this began, it was just about the beginning of September when we started with the Ofloxacin drops.

Update, Sunday November 25th, 2018: I talked to the vet on Saturday and she ordered Cidofovir, antiviral eye drops. She said that they are as effective as the Famciclovir pills. We should have them from Stokes Pharmacy on Wednesday.

Update, Wednesday, December 12th, 2018: We just finished a 14 day course of Cidofovir. Last night was her last drop. There was a discrepancy on the length of treatment Online. Some papers showed a 14 day course with a post treatment of 10 days. Hopefully, the 14 days will be all we need. Millie’s eye looks great this morning. I’ll keep you informed.

Update, Wednesday, December 19th, 2018: A week has passed since we finished the course of Cidofovir antiviral drops. So far, it looks fairly good, there is really very little inflammation in her eye and the shape of the eye is mostly normal. She still has been getting a minor amount of goo and ‘sleepy dust’ in her eye at times. She still has bouts of of squinting, especially after a nap. This past Saturday evening, I thought we were going to have to start the drops again but later her eye looked fine. I assume that this is what I’ve read as ‘shedding’. In a few articles they mention some kind of 10-14 day post treatment along with the first 14 days of initial treatment to take care of the shedding, I assume to allow for the whole virus to complete healing. I would definitely bring this up with your vet if you are getting either the Cidofovir or the Famciclovir.

Update, Saturday, February 23rd, 2019: It’s been over 2 months since my last update. Millie has been doing great. She has some weeks (or consecutive days) where her eye gets a bit squinty and maybe a bit of goo and crust but nothing inflamed. I’m not sure if this is part of the Herpes or some symptom or scarring or minor irritation from the disease. Knocking on wood that this is it for a while.

This is a good article (pdf) written by J. Seth Eaton, VMD, DACVO
Veterinary Ophthalmologist, Ocular Services On Demand (OSOD)
Adjunct Assistant Clinical Professor, School of Veterinary Medicine, UC Davis. He actually suggests to give the L-Lysine as a pill and not add it to food. Not sure if that would make things any better. Click Here.

Notes: Millie has a totally stress free environment here, so I assume that a herpes outbreak can occur without stress. I’ve read online where people are guilty for taking a vacation and coming home to a herpes outbreak.

Notes: I heard administering a pill could cause stress that could in fact prolong the virus. Luckily, giving the drops here has been easy, we’ve made a game of it, by playing before administering the drops and give a great treat after, either snacks or broth.

Improve Your Relationship to Your New Kitten or Cat

I just read an anecdote online today about a couple who got a new cat. In this scenario, I am the wife: The wife wanted a cat so badly and she finally convinced her husband to adopt. After all of that, to the wife’s dismay, the cat ended up bonding with the husband and was reticent towards her.

What we learned here is that cats see an overly affectionate human as being aggressive.

If you find your new cat is a bit reticent with you, still spend a lot if time with them, but go about your day as if the cat isn’t there. When you hear them meow or coo, throw out a few snacks with a few near your feet. Let them come to you and only reach out to pet when invited. Avoid direct eye contact or lower your eyes. And be sure to switch off with your partner feeding and litter cleaning duties.

A kitten will especially bond with one person in a household anyway, so be patient, all kittens grow up.

Good luck, and I love you for taking care of these wonderful creatures!


Coping With a Sick and Old Pet Blog

I would like this to be an on-going blog.

Anyone, raise your hand if you experience severe anxiety/depression while taking care of your old or sick pet. I’m hoping to provide some coping mechanisms here while I am still trying to discover them.

The first cat and pet I ever owned I put to sleep. I made all of this cat’s health decisions under extreme anxiety. No one ever makes good decisions while experiencing anxiety, and all decisions ever made while experiencing anxiety only lead to more anxiety. You get the picture.

I’ve been trying out a meditation, ‘All good decisions come from health and strength’. I know it’s kind of Tony Robbins but it works.

Keep exercising and socializing. Socializing is a key for distraction. Think of anxiety like hiccups, distract until it goes away.

Xanax is better than nothing, but I’ve discovered that a good Indica with a lot of THC provides healthier relief. And Carlson’s liquid fish oil.

Professional help is extremely important too, if you can afford it.

This is all that I have to share for now, May 23rd 2017.

May 24th 2017 – Any decision that has to be made about my sick cat brings on a lot of stress. Especially the anxiety in waiting for that day of a test and thinking about how I’m going to have to stuff her in her box, etc.

An exercise that I’ve been practicing is to allow myself to have these feelings. Give myself permission to feel these feelings. I think it’s the fighting back that can bring on an anxiety attack. So I just allow myself to have these feelings and try to cry.

May 26th 2017 – I’m trying to accept any outcome that will be in the future. The pain of seeing a sick pet is unbearable, I’m not sure how long that I can live in this state… The big Ultrasound is 6 days away.

June 3rd 2017 – It’s been about a week, since my last post. We still have our kitty. She is not well. She spent the day last Thursday being tested at the vet. It was an excruciating day. After the tests results, I was talked out of putting her down. She is still eating but very uncomfortable. This week we are talking to a surgeon to see if there is anything we can do.

I think in some ways, having a pet at the end of life is worse than a sick human family member. With a human, you are obligated to do everything to keep them alive as long as possible, and they have the choice of the care they are getting. With a pet, you have to weigh what is humane and what is excessive. If anything causes anxiety, this will.

But as I said earlier, I feel that I had euthanized my first cat too early because I was suffering from anxiety and hence allowing anxiety make my decision, instead of a cool, healthy, strong mind. And of course what happened later, my second guessing that decision sent me into a near nervous breakdown. It seems, this time I’ve allowed myself to live through the thought process, live through the pain, I think, that I’ve reached into the beginning of the acceptance stage and I feel a much cooler head. We have a way to go.

Some comfort treatments: Remember to keep exercising, if the weather permits, go out and walk or run. Get some sun on your face and eyes; Keep socializing, it’s the only way to get your mind off of things for a few hours; Plus, I made some cannabutter, a sativa with a lot of CBD in coconut oil. Figure out how much to eat so that it is barely noticeable, this way you can go about your day. It is very calming…

June 18th 2017 – Well, our cat is still around with a bladder tumor. We took her to a specialist thinking that there was a small chance of an operation, of course that was impossible. They convinced us to give her chemo. We are not going to schlep her for chemo treatments. She is on Piroxicam (an anti-inflammatory) that has at least diminished a bit some of her symptoms for now. I have no idea what her life expectancy is with the treatment we chose for her. I’ll stay in touch.

It’s amazing how the most absurd changes in life can always somehow normalize over time…

July 14th 2017 – Chiyo is still around, peeing everywhere but it’s just micro-pee, it doesn’t seem to smell. She has lost a lot of weight and eating very little.

Even though it’s sad and painful watching a loved pet ‘degrade’ (for lack of a better word), I don’t regret keeping her around. It’s become a job. I feel like a nursing home worker, cleaning up and trying to get my grandma to eat.

The only advice at this point that I can give is that as the saying goes, ‘what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger’, most things in life don’t ‘kill’ you per se, I think it’s kind of an endurance game, like hands on a hard body. You get pushed through the worm-hole and shoved through the other side. I guess my new expression is, ‘life is like hands-on-a-hard body’.

I had about 4 cats in my life. Two, I’ve put to sleep, one died unexpectedly and now I have one, she’s 17.