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C2003-31

Dear Christopher Cat

My cat was diagnosed with anterior uveitis. Can you tell me about this eye disease?

Christopher Responds

Anterior uveitis is inflammation (“itis”) of the eye’s iris and ciliary body, the front-most (“anterior”) parts of the uvea.
The iris, the colored part of the eye, controls the pupil’s size. The ciliary body, a continuation of the iris inside the eye, supports the lens and produces the fluid inside the eye.

In a cat with anterior uveitis, the eye may be red, and the normally clear parts in front of the iris are sometimes cloudy. Spasm of the iris constricts the pupil and causes eye pain.

One or both eyes may be affected.

The cause is often difficult to determine.
Sometimes uveitis is due to a viral, bacterial, fungal, protozoal or parasitic infection of the eye or another part of the body. Common viral culprits are the feline leukemia virus, feline infectious peritonitis virus and feline immunodeficiency virus.

Uveitis may be related to an eye injury or cataract, or it may result from the immune system attacking the eye.
Treatment is directed at the underlying cause, if one can be found, and to relieving the pain, inflammation and iris spasms.

Inadequately treated uveitis can lead to glaucoma and blindness, so it’s important to follow your veterinarian’s recommendations precisely.

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