Q: What is causing my Persian cat’s eye discharge and how do you treat it?

Original Question: "Hi, I have a Persian cat and I would like to know if there is any medicine that can be used for eyes secretion. I’ve heard that this is very common in Persian cats but I wonder if there is any solution to this. Thank you very much." - Indi

Vet Certified Answer | Answered: March 2, 2018

Hi Indi,

I’ve always been in support of trying to treat things at home rather than instantly running to the animal clinic. The most important thing is that anything we treat with will not cause any harm. The first type of harm is obvious and that would be a treatment that is detrimental. The second type of harm is if we start treating a condition improperly and it is successful in reducing symptoms but it’s not curing the underlying condition and it progresses in the meantime. Having said that, I always tell clients that if they try a home remedy or over-the-counter medication, if the condition does not improve quickly or it returns soon after the treatment is finished, I recommend seeking veterinary help immediately.

There is no way for me to know what is going on with your cat’s eye but I can offer some thoughts. The most common reasons why an eye would discharge is infection, a blocked duct that drains the tears, ocular trauma, or a hair or eyelid that is rubbing and irritating the eye’s surface. I think it is relatively safe to use over-the-counter Polysporin as a trial to see if it clears up. This can eliminate an infection which is often the most common problem. Any ocular medicine you find for humans will be pH balanced for the eye and this balance is the same for a cat’s eye, so none of them should cause irritation unless there is a rare sensitivity to some ingredient in the medication. If the symptoms resolve indefinitely then that’s great, if they return I would recommend visiting your veterinarian right away and having them diagnose it properly.

A word of advice. This breed can sometimes have a viral infection rather than a bacterial infection. Viral infections tend to improve while you’re using a treatment but return soon after the treatment finishes. A test that I find is commonly underperformed is a DNA ocular viral panel. This can identify a range of viruses to give a specific diagnosis and it can also find pseudobacteria, like mycoplasma, that can be treated but it takes a longer duration of a unique treatment to be successful. I have seen many cats go their lives with this type of infection and the owners keep buying eye drops repeatedly but the condition never clears up because it wasn’t confirmed and the right treatment was never performed. Consider this test if you see this condition return or become chronic.

I hope this helps! Good luck!

Dr. Clayton Greenway

Disclaimer: and its team of veterinarians does not endorse any products or services mentioned. Advice presented by our veterinarians is not meant to replace a regular physical exam and consultation with your primary veterinarian. We always encourage you to seek medical advice from your regular veterinarian.

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