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.