Chlamydia Psittaci is a microscopic bacteria like organism that lives in the white tissues of the eye called the conjunctiva. Chlamydial infection causes a syndrome called Pneumonitis and usually affects the respiratory system and/or the eyes. The most common sign is runny eyes due to conjunctivitis. However, unlike the conjunctivitis caused by Feline Herpes Virus, which involves eye problems, Chlamydial infections usually begin in just one eye then spread to involve both eyes. Chlamydia accounts for approximately 10 percent of upper respiratory infections in cats. Herpes and Calici Virus, together, account for 90 percent. Most Chlamydial infections gradually resolve. Eye infections begin to heal, sneezing and nasal discharges improve over a one to two week course.
Chlamydia can also cause mild to severe respiratory disease with signs ranging from sneezing and a runny nose to pneumonia and diarrhea.
NOTE: The 3rd eyelid also called the Nictitans or the Haws and may be visible in sick cats. The 3rd eyelid may or may not be infected with Chlamydia
WHAT YOU AND YOUR VET CAN DO
1. For Chlamydia, Doxycycline, a type of Tetracycline, is an effective antibiotic and may be used as needed. Tetracycline can permanently stain the teeth of young animals; therefore other medications may be used in these young kittens.
2. When Chlamydia occurs in addition to Herpes Virus, additional therapy often includes low doses of Interferon-alpha which stimulate the cats immune system, and oral Lysine supplementation. Lysine interferes with Herpes Virus reproduction.
3. Chlamydia is contagious to other cats and an injectable vaccine is available for prevention that may be included with the Cat Flu vaccine. The vaccine will not provide complete protection but will decrease the severity of infection.
Infection of one eye that spreads to involve both eyes is the hallmark sign. The eye infection is called conjunctivitis and involves infection of the white tissues lining the upper and lower eyelids. This tissue becomes red and swollen and protrudes out from under the eyelid, over the edges of the eye itself. The eye discharge is usually thick mucus or pus-like and may be clear or yellowish in color.
CHLAMYDIA / PREVENTION
Conjunctivitis – The goal is to decrease irritation and control infection of the eyes.
* Cold black or green tea topically. Apply as a compress over the eyes a couple minutes three times daily.
* Euphrasia tea topically. Apply as a compress over the eyes a couple minutes three times daily.
* Euphrasia and/or goldenseal eye drops – both are available commercially. Euphrasia is also called “Eyebright”. It has astringent properties which account for its ability to reduce inflammation. Sterilizing is important when used in the eyes. Apply 2-3 drops into the eyes three times daily until conjunctivitis is healed. Goldenseal is an endangered plant; it has antibacterial action. The main ingredient, Berberine, in Goldenseal is also found in Oregon Grape Coptis and Berberis plants. Currently herbalists often use these in place of Goldenseal.