The third eyelid in a cat: causes and treatment

The third eyelid (blinking membrane) is a thin light film in the corner of the cat's eye, which protects the mucous membrane of the eyes from damage and dust. It secretes a certain amount of tear fluid, which, when blinking, moistens the surface of the eyeball and thus collects foreign particles and traps bacteria. Normally, this membrane can be seen in a cat only during blinking or tilting the head, so when the third century appears in other situations, you should show the pet to the veterinarian, even if there are no other symptoms. This phenomenon not only causes discomfort to the pet and blocks vision, but can also be a manifestation of health problems and even threaten blindness.

Causes of occurrence

The loss of the third century in a cat is not an independent disease, but a signal for the owner about possible problems with the health of the pet. Among them:

  • mechanical damage to the organs of vision;
  • the presence of a foreign body that is not removed by the tear fluid and provokes the development of inflammation;
  • infection of the body with parasites (internal or external);
  • allergic conjunctivitis (reaction to household chemicals, food, pollen, etc.);
  • bacterial, viral or fungal infections (mycoplasmosis, chlamydia, calcivirosis, viral rhinotracheitis);
  • disturbances in the work of internal organs (chronic renal failure, intestinal upset after diarrhea or dehydration of the body, etc.);
  • genetic pedigree features (characteristic of the Persians and the British).

Important: the loss of the third century in one eye indicates possible injuries or a foreign body, while its appearance in both eyes is a symptom of one of the diseases.


The appearance of the third century in a cat is most often accompanied by the following phenomena:

  • increased lacrimation;
  • conjunctival redness;
  • the appearance of edema;
  • blepharospasm (involuntary contraction of the eye muscle);
  • secretions of mucus or pus;
  • volumetric neoplasms in the inner corner of the eyes;
  • itching, fever are possible.

Owners do not always immediately notice enlarged formations in the eyes of the pet. But it is important to periodically examine the organs of vision, especially if the cat:

  • often blinks or squints too much;
  • seeks to constantly hide from any light sources;
  • washing too often for no apparent reason.

Having noticed that the third eyelid is clearly visible even during wakefulness, you should contact your veterinarian as soon as possible. The longer this problem remains unexplored, the greater the likelihood of developing secondary infections, which complicate the diagnosis and further treatment.


Since the loss of the blinking membrane is only a symptom of the disease, the treatment depends on the cause of this phenomenon. Sometimes the loss of the blinking membrane passes without outside interference, and it returns to its original place within a day. But in any case, it is worth consulting with a specialist to identify the cause and prevent possible relapses.

Before consultation with the veterinarian, the use of any medications is contraindicated: they can relieve local irritation, but at the same time distort the overall picture, which will complicate the diagnosis, and can also cause complications and even loss of vision.

Depending on the identified cause, appropriate treatment methods are selected:

  • When the body is infected with parasites, antiparasitic drugs are prescribed (in the form of drops, tablets) and additional protective equipment (collars against fleas and ticks) that are selected depending on the type and degree of damage.

  • In case of allergic reactions - funds are selected to eliminate external manifestations and additional symptoms (itching, swelling, redness of the skin, hair problems, etc.), antihistamines and even hormonal therapy are prescribed in case of severe illness, the exclusion of possible allergens is mandatory.
  • In case of bacterial, viral or fungal etiology, complex treatment is carried out, which may include antibiotics, antiviral and antifungal drugs of general and local action, as well as supplemented with symptomatic therapy (antipyretic drugs, immunostimulants, droppers to eliminate dehydration, etc.).
  • In diseases of the internal organs - various methods and preparations of complex action are selected, as well as specialized feed with a therapeutic bias;
  • If a foreign body is detected, an examination and anesthesia are performed, after which eye rinses are prescribed, but in severe cases, it can come to surgical intervention.
  • In case of mechanical damage, attention is paid primarily to eye anesthesia (by instillation of drops), after which the damaged eye is examined to determine the severity of the injury and measures to alleviate the condition of the animal.

The main thing that is required from the owner is to provide the cat with a balanced healthy diet, peace and timely administration of medications prescribed by the veterinarian. Therapy should be carried out until all symptoms disappear. In no case should you stop treatment when the first noticeable improvements appear, since there is a very high risk of a return of the disease and the development of complications. After the course is completed, it is important to show the animal to the veterinarian once again, who will confirm the final recovery.

When treatment is not required

If the eyes of a pet are covered by a third eyelid, this does not always mean the appointment of medications. So, treatment is usually not required with:

  • weakened immunity;
  • recovery period after illness;
  • significant weight loss or dehydration;
  • mild flu.

In these cases, observing the cat is enough: if his health and behavior does not change, you should only strengthen the diet with vitamins, nutrients and enough fluid, and follow the recommendations of the veterinarian for caring for the animal (for example, regularly remove secretions from the eyes and nose in case of flu).

Third century diseases

Separately, it is worth highlighting diseases that are directly related to the blinking membrane:

  • Adenoma (tumor) of the third century - a benign formation in the form of a pink color "beans", which occurs due to injuries, hormonal problems or other disorders in the body. It does not allow the cat to close its eyes normally, resulting in an increased risk of injury and infection. Over time, the size of the tumor increases, it turns red, an increase in temperature and the appearance of purulent secretions can be observed, the general condition worsens, the animal loses its appetite, aggression and irritability appear. If the neoplasm does not grow and does not bother the pet, only maintenance therapy is prescribed as a treatment, otherwise surgery is recommended. In this case, the tumor itself must be removed directly, since removal of the blinking membrane threatens the development of chronic conjunctivitis, tear fluid deficiency (dry eye syndrome), purulent discharge for life, and blindness.

  • Prolapse is a specific phenomenon in which the blinking membrane is constantly in a straightened state. It is often mistaken for prolapse of the third century, but the main difference is that there is no inflammation and redness during prolapse: the surface of the eye is covered with a film of grayish or bluish color, so the cat covers his eyes with paws and washes them, trying to eliminate the interference that appeared. Prolapse, as well as prolapse, can be a symptom of various diseases, therefore, to eliminate it, it is important to identify the cause of the pathology. As soon as it is eliminated, the blinking membrane will return to its original place.


Prevention measures that prevent the inflammation of the third century, do not require special efforts and are aimed at maintaining the general state of health and normal development. This requires:

  • balanced nutrition with additional recommendations in case of chronic diseases;
  • proper care for the pet, its place of sleep and personal items;
  • examination of a cat after walking;
  • regular deworming (every 3 months) and treatment from ectoparasites;
  • annual routine vaccinations.

These simple measures will strengthen the body of the pet, so it will be more resistant to all kinds of viruses and bacteria.

You can also ask a question to the staff veterinarian of our site who will answer them as soon as possible in the comment box below.

Watch the video: Third eyelid showing in cats - causes, and treatment (April 2020).