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All About Neosporin in Treating Eye Infection in Cats

Many cat owners wonder whether they can use Neosporin to treat their cat's eye infection. Our South Florida vets answer the question of, "Can you put Neosporin on a cat?" and provide reasons this medication shouldn't be used to treat cats.

What is Neosporin?

Neosporin and Neosporin Ophthalmic are common treatments frequently used by families across the United States. 

  • Neosporin topical ointment is often used for cuts and scrapes and is found in many people's first aid kits. Neosporin topical ointment and similar antibiotic treatments are designed to help fight infection in humans. They contain three active ingredients: bacitracin, neomycin, and polymyxin B.
  • Neosporin Ophthalmic eye drops are specially formulated to treat bacterial eye infections in humans. A combination of gramicidin, neomycin, and polymyxin B ophthalmic is in this medication. 

While both of these treatments are very effective for people, they are not approved for use on cats, and we would never recommend them for cats. 

Can I use Neosporin on my cat's eye infection?

If you've ever suspected your cat has an eye infection and wondered, "Can I put Neosporin on my cat?", you're certainly not alone. 

Our reply to this question is always the truth: Cats and humans are biologically different in several ways. Many medications that people keep on hand can be extremely toxic to our kitties. In addition, house cats are compact in size, which means even small amounts of toxic substances can cause them to experience severe reactions. 

Polymyxin B is one of the active ingredients in Neosporin (and other triple antibiotic treatments), and has been linked to anaphylaxis and death in cats. While such reactions are rare, most of these cases have been linked to ophthalmic products like Neosporin used for cats' eye infections. 

Caring for Your Cat's Eyes

If your cat is showing signs of an eye infection, call your vet or our veterinary ophthalmologists to book an examination. Our veterinary ophthalmologists can examine your cat's eyes and assess their overall health condition to determine the best treatment. If an eye infection is the primary concern, we may prescribe a topical treatment such as Terramycin or Veteropolycin. 

Conversely, if your cat's eye infection is attributed to an underlying condition such as FeLV (feline leukemia virus) or calicivirus, treatment will be focused on the underlying condition. The most appropriate treatment for your cat will depend on the nature of the underlying disease, but may include oral antibiotics or immune boosters. Getting the right treatment for your feline friend can help prevent further complications, and may help to preserve your pet's eyesight. 

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Is your cat experiencing an eye problem? Contact our South Florida veterinary ophthalmologists to have your cat diagnosed and treated.

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