Wednesday, August 19, 2009 3:31 PM

Herbal Solutions for Eye Irritation

Mild eye irritation can often be treated at home. If your cat has a watery eye or slight mucus discharge, take a look to be sure that there is not some foreign object or injury causing the problem. If it looks okay, try wiping the eye with saline. You can but this product ready-made, or make your own. Dissolve 1/4 tsp. of salt in 1 cup of water. Using a guaze pad or something else that won't shred or leave lint behind, wipe the discharge from the eye. Take another pad, moisten, and wipe the eye again. You don't have to flood the eye; this will work even if kitty closes his eye (guaranteed). Do this 3 times a day for a couple of days; this should clear things up. If not, you should probably check with your vet to make sure there isn't something else going on.

Recurrent eye problems call for stronger "medicine": Herbal eye solutions. When our cats were kittens, Goldie suddenly developed a winky eye. It would come on suddenly; I've found that this is often the case with eye troubles. We took him to the vet, who thought that a tussle with the others probably resulted in a scratch to the cornea. She gave us eye ointment, which I used religiously for the full week. Boy, did he hate that! It abated for a few days, but came back. Next visit, the vet thought it might be a viral infection that some kittens get, but outgrow. We tried the ointment again, with the same result. I then decided to make an herbal tea to treat the problem. I used goldenseal, echinacea and green tea. After one week, they eye looked normal, but I kept it up for a full month, considering what had happened with the eye ointment. He didn't mind this treatment nearly as much as the other, and it never recurred.

Last winter, Little Girl suddenly(!) presented with a problem: one eye's upper and lower lid was red and swollen. I took a look and thought I saw a tiny scratch above her eyelid. It was definitely bothering her, as she would paw it occasionally (which didn't help). I immediately made up a batch of the Magic Eye Wash and began treatment. She wasn't wild about it, but I would time the wiping to coincide with mealtimes. This kept her from hiding as well as from immediately washing the solution off. After 10 days, all looked well, but a week later it recurred. I changed the formula to goldenseal, marjoram and burdock root and went at it again, this time for two full weeks. Problem solved!

Again, if your cat seems to be in pain or ill, check with your vet. Blindness is irreversible, so it's best to be sure. For the occasional irritation, though, herbal teas work very well. The cats seem to get used to the treatment, too. It got to the point that Little would wait at her bowl before digging in so that I could wipe her eye! Always finish with a compliment and a smooch on top of the head, and you won't go wrong.

Just So You Know: This treatment will also work with dogs--and people!
Chat later!

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Amanda has worked with animals for many years and has always had cats in her life. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband and two excellent cats.
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