Cat with runny eye even after antibiotics

by Kay Philip
(Delta, BC, Canada)

I recently adopted 2 cats from the animal shelter. Both cats are males with long hair; one is 2 years old, black & white, and the other is 6 months old, an orange tabby. The 2 year old, Oreo, was sneezing two or three times a day when we adopted him and then, a few days later, his one eye started to discharge a clear liquid and he was sneezing all of the time. He also had diarrhea a few times. Our 6 month old, Charlie, had no symptoms.

I took both cats to the vet and Oreo was put on Clavamox 62.5 mg 2x per day for 10 days and Charlie was given a clean bill of health. Within a few days Oreo stopped sneezing and his eye cleared up, but Charlie started sneezing and had no eye discharge. I went back to the vet a week later and Charlie was put on the same Rx. He stopped sneezing within a few days as well and he has three more days left of his Rx.

The thing is Oreo's same eye has started to discharge again (so far no sneezing) and today it looked like it had a little green color to it. One of the cats (or maybe both?) has started to vomit. It has happened four times in the last week and it always has food and mucus in it. I'm not sure which cat is doing it or if it is both.

Both of my cats eat regularly, drink lots of water and use the litter box which I clean 2x per day and have not seen any more diarrhea. Oreo took all his Rx as directed and otherwise is a fun, happy, loving cat.

Should I take him back again to the vet? Should I take both cats? Financially I don't really have the extra money, but am worried that something is seriously wrong with Oreo and might be contagious for Charlie.

One last thing, I also brush both cats everyday and Oreo always has tons and tons of hair loss and I find it ALL over the house. Could this be part of his illness?

Please help, I've only had the cats for 1 month and love them both so much. Thank you.

Dear Kay,

Congratulations on your new cats! I’m sorry that we have been so overrun with emails that it has taken so long for me to respond, but I am happy that you wrote in to express your concerns for your cats.

Sometimes, one round of feline antibiotics isn’t enough to completely resolve feline upper respiratory infections, and it sounds as though Oreo may need further treatment.

Clavamox can cause vomiting and diarrhea, and since Charlie is still actively being treated with Clavamox, this could very well be the cause of this new symptom. Unfortunately, the only way to know for sure which cat is vomiting would be to keep them separated to observe them both. The hair loss and shedding is not likely related to Oreo’s illness, but cat hairballs can cause vomiting as well, so it could just as easily be Oreo who has been vomiting.

Oreo, since he seems to be showing cat eye illness symptoms, should be examined by a veterinarian again. And, unless he is the one who has been vomiting, Charlie could likely be watched closely at home for signs of his upper respiratory symptoms recurring.

All the best to you and your new cats,
Dr. Neely

Return to Cat Upper Respiratory Infection.