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BANFIELD Pet Health By The Numbers

Feline Ocular Conditions

Feline Ocular Conditions


The following table outlines the prevalence of feline ocular diagnoses in cats presented to Banfield Pet Hospitals in 2014. Feline herpesvirus infections, and their ocular manifestations, are discussed in Runny Eyes: Feline Herpesvirus Infection.

In each issue of Today’s Veterinary Practice, Pet Health by the Numbers correlates an article topic with statistics provided by Banfield Pet Hospital (banfield.com). These statistics are extracted from data collected from the medical records of nearly 2.4 million dogs and more than 480,000 cats presented to more than 890 Banfield Pet Hospitals in 2014.


Path to Pet Wellness: With the exception of herpesvirus infections and conjunctivitis, the prevalence of specific ocular conditions in cats has not been reported. This is likely due to the overlap of clinical signs shared among diseases and the numerous causes of these diseases. The prevalence of feline herpesvirus in normal cats has been reported between 7% and 63%, although 98% of cats are exposed and 80% of these cats become persistently infected.1-3

In this dataset, less than 1% of cats were clinically diagnosed with herpesvirus infection. As feline herpesvirus frequently manifests as conjunctivitis (which likely includes the categories of conjunctivitis, chemosis, and scleritis in this dataset), corneal ulceration, and/or blepharitis, this dataset likely underestimates actual herpesvirus infection in cats.

The prevalence of conjunctivitis in cats reported in this dataset is similar to that reported in the literature (2.8%).4 A higher proportion of juvenile and intact cats were affected, confirming the report that more mature and neutered cats may be able to mount an immune response and are seropositive for feline herpesvirus with fewer clinical signs.5

Feline anterior uveitis is common in a referral setting, but true prevalence has not been reported. The literature lists infectious disease (15%–31%), neoplasia (5%–13%), systemic hypertension (2%), and unknown etiology (40%–70%) as endogenous causes.6 Feline infectious peritonitis is the most common infectious cause of uveitis at 16% of cases,6 which may explain the higher prevalence of uveitis in juvenile cats in the dataset.

—Bradford J. Holmberg, DVM, MS, PhD, Diplomate ACVO


  1. Low HC, Powell CC, Veir JK, et al. Prevalence of feline herpesvirus 1, Chlamydophila felis, and Mycoplasma species DNA in conjunctival cells collected from cats with and without conjunctivitis. Am J Vet Res 2007; 68(6):643-648.
  2. Kang BT, Park HM. Prevalence of feline herpesvirus 1, feline calicivirus and Chlamydophila felis in clinically normal cats at a Korean animal shelter. J Vet Sci 2008; 9(2):207-209.
  3. Gould D. Feline herpesvirus-1: Ocular manifestations, diagnosis, and treatment options. J Fel Med Surg 2011; 13(5):333-346.
  4. Lund EM, Armstrong PJ, Kirk CA, et al. Health status and population characteristics of dogs and cats examined at private veterinary practices in the United States. JAVMA 1999; 214(9):1336-1341.
  5. DiGangi BA, Levy JK, Griffin B, et al. Prevalence of serum antibody titers against feline panleukopenia virus, feline herpesvirus 1, and feline calicivirus in cats entering a Florida animal shelter. JAVMA 2012; 241(10):1320-1325.
  6. Jinks MR, English RV, Gilger BC. Causes of endogenous uveitis in cats presented to referral clinics in North Carolina. Vet Ophthalmol 2015 [epub ahead of print]:1-8.