Third Eyelid In Cats: The eye of animals is surrounded by eyelids, which protect it and distribute tears. On the edge of the eyelids there is a line of hairs that prevent dirt from entering the eye. In addition, in many living beings there is a third eyelid in the medial area of the eye, also called nictitating membrane. This third eyelid also houses a gland, called Harder’s gland, which is the producer of tears. The eye is a very complex organ and you have to know how to understand its changes in appearance to provide your pet with optimal health.
In this oneHOWTO article we focus on explaining what is the third eyelid in cats, causes of it being seen and its treatment so keep reading as sometimes the externalization of this indicates a pathology that must be treated as soon as possible, since it is usually not visible (or only a small part is visible) and if there is a problem it can remain extended, covering a good part Of the eye.
What Is The Third Eyelid In Cats And What Is It For?
The third eyelid or nictitating membrane It is the semitransparent membrane that exists in the eye of certain animals, such as some mammals, such as cats and dogs, and that surrounds the conjunctiva, the mucous membrane and the cornea of the eye and serves as a layer protective eyeballs and for the elimination of bacteria and other microorganisms or small foreign bodies that can be introduced into the eye.
this membrane not usually seen so if you notice that it has gone outside, it is better that you go to a veterinarian, since it could indicate that something is wrong with your cat’s body.
Causes that the third eyelid of the cat is seen
As we have mentioned before, the third eyelid is not usually seen at first sight because its normal position is inside the eye, between the eyeball and the eyelids, and it starts on the lacrimal side but it does spread, when the animal blinks, goes to the other side of the eye, the outer corner or corner of the eye, and then back to the inner part or tear duct area.
In virtually all cases, the exteriorization of the third eyelid It is due to a sensation of pain, discomfort, annoyance or some disease itself. As there can be several reasons why your feline can see the third eyelid, here we indicate the third eyelid problems in cats more frequent, but remember that only a veterinarian can confirm the diagnosis.
- Dehydration: We say that a cat is dehydrated when the amount of water in its body is insufficient, which consequently produces serious health problems. You may be interested in reading this other article on Why my cat does not drink water.
- eye conditions such as conjunctivitis or uveitis: The symptoms of inflammation, tearing and swelling that appear in the face of this problem are the cause of your cat’s third eyelid appearing.
- Strange body: If a foreign body has ended up in your cat’s eye, especially dust or sand, the third eyelid is externalized with the intention that it does not enter any more and relieve the discomfort it produces.
- Wounds: Any blow to the head or face of a cat can affect its eye, and if a scratch or wound has been made directly to its eye, it is also possible to observe this eyelid.
- Genetics: Some breeds of cats have the problem that this eyelid often comes out without further ado and causes them discomfort. It is a problem that occurs as a genetic defect in some pure breeds, due to the lack of genetic variety.
- Cancer: It is possible that the cause of said eyelid is some type of cancer in the eye area.
- Gastrointestinal disorders: any intestinal problem can cause this problem too, although this symptom is most often associated with your cat having intestinal parasites.
- if your cat is sleeping and you observe this membrane, do not worry because it is totally normal and it is because your cat has left its eyes half open and is quite relaxed but with a minimum level of alertness.
Treatment for the third eyelid of cats
The treatment of this problem will depend on the cause that is producing it and the only one capable of applying a treatment to end the condition is the vet. These are some indications about the treatment of the third eyelid or nictitating membrane in cats:
- If the problem is that the cat is dehydrated, it may need treatment with fluid therapy and, in addition, make sure that it always has water at its disposal, apart from reinforcing it with wet food.
- If your cat suffers from some kind of eye problem, they probably need veterinary eye drops.
- If the culprit of the externalization of the third eyelid is a foreign object, you can look at your cat’s eye to see if you can extract it and clean the eye, for example using physiological serum, if you consider that you can cause more damage by extracting it, do not hesitate to go to a professional so that he can do it in the most appropriate way possible and with the right materials.
- If your cat has hit his head or has an eye injury, go to the vet to have him examined and rule out serious problems, since you will not be able to do anything to help him yourself.
- In the case of cancer, the veterinarian will be solely responsible for deciding what to do to preserve your friend’s quality of life. Most of the time, the treatment of choice is surgery.
- If your cat’s problem is genetic, the veterinarian will also be in charge of assessing whether it is affecting the vision of the eye and if so, it is possible that they apply surgery to reposition the membrane in its corresponding place.
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