About six months ago, I adopted two cats from a local shelter who are the light of my life. Unfortunately, one of my cats, "Dr. Lavender", has chronic conjunctivitis. The vet verified that there were no problems with the cornea, then said she probably had feline herpes virus (FHV) and that we'd never be able to get rid of the conjunctivitis completely. Indeed, after treating the cat for several weeks, the symptoms were maybe a little bit better. The vet recommended that I stop the medication (doxycycline, if I recall) for now, but repeat it for 10 days whenever the symptoms were particularly bad. She also said that topical ointments were unlikely to help with this condition.

I'm also giving the cat lysine supplements to help with the FHV. (I'm aware of the meta-analysis that found that lysine isn't helpful for FHV, but after discussing it with my vet we decided to continue the lysine in the hope that it might help, since it doesn't do any harm.)

The only symptoms are an occasional teardrop (about once every two months), and an occasional (about once every 3-4 weeks) tendency to not open the affected eye quite as wide as the other. But I want to do everything I can to make my cats healthy. I've done some research into this on my own, but haven't found anything hopeful. Are there any other treatments that I could discuss with my vet?

3 Answers 3


FHV is pretty common and is usually mild and not particularly dangerous to the cat. FHV is a virus and the doxycycline will do nothing to treat it. The doxycycline may prevent secondary infection if there are substantial lesions / ulceration (open sores).

If you are just seeing drainage from one or both eyes or the nose, forming a black crusty material, you can gently wipe this this off with a tissue slightly moistened with water. I had a vet who used the tip of her finger to carefully pick it out. You just have to be careful not to touch or scratch the cat's eye.

If the black material builds up, it could be a breeding ground for bacterial which could hurt your cat, so just keep it clean. Wash your hands before and after cleaning around your cat's eyes. FHV is not contagious to dogs or humans.


Agree with consulting a feline ophthalmic specialist. Be certain to bring a complete history of treatments, tests, meds, duration of symptoms, etc. Medical history is crucial to correct diagnosis and treatment.


Did you look for allergies?

By conjunctivitis, did you mean red eyes or tears? Tears can occur when the lachrymal canal is blocked. An operation can solve it.

Maybe consulting an ophthalmologist vet would be a good idea?

  • It's just in one eye, so I doubt that it's allergies. The main symptom is that the conjunctiva is red. The eyeball itself is fine. There's also an occasional tear. Consulting an veterinary ophthalmologist is a good idea; I'll look into it.
    – mhwombat
    Commented Jan 26, 2017 at 22:15
  • With the herpes virus, it would be the two eyes too I think... An ophtalmologist could help, I had a cat who had an uvea problem, same symptom, but a different treatment. Did the vet make a fundus examination ?
    – Phnix
    Commented Jan 27, 2017 at 10:00

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