Prolapsed nictitating skin in cats – causes and treatment options

What is the nictitating membrane of the cat? While it was degenerated in humans and other primates in the course of development and is only rudimentarily present, in cats and many other vertebrates it is part of the anatomy of the eye: the nictitating membrane, also known as palpebra tertia or third eyelid.Cats don’t need to blink like humans to lubricate their eyeballs. The upper eyelid is mobile, the lower eyelid is not. In contrast to humans, velvet paws not only have two eyelids, but also a third with the nictitating membrane.

The nictitating membrane sits as a thin membrane in the inner corner of the eye and on the one hand ensures sufficient moisture by producing tear fluid and on the other hand it also protects the cat’s eye from foreign bodies and injuries.Anatomically, the nictitating membrane of the cat consists of a conjunctival fold, in which an elastic bone orpel, the nictitating cartilage, is embedded. Numerous tiny lymph follicles and additional tear glands are embedded in the mucous membrane, and the cat can contract or expand this third eyelid via muscle fibers.For example, foreign bodies and dirt are wiped away from the cornea by briefly closing the nictitating membrane. The cat’s haze is usually hard to see, sits in the inner corner of the eye What does a prolapse of the cat’s haze look like? Is the velvet paw very relaxed or tired and snoozing with her eyes open , the nictitating membrane can slide further over the eyeball than in the waking state. This is completely normal and nothing to worry about.One speaks of a nictitating skin prolapse in cats only when the third eyelid clearly slides over the cat’s eye and does not go back on its own. Then the eyeball is partly covered by a light gray to white shimmering skin that stretches out from the corner of the nose like a blind. The phenomenon can occur on one or both sides, depending on the cause.The nictitating membrane prolapse is easy to recognize even for laypeople, you can see immediately that something is wrong with the cat’s eye.The biggest problem is: the further the conjunctival fold slides over the cat’s eye, the more its sight is impaired. The poor visibility also increases the risk of accidents.Of course, a nictitating skin prolapse should not be taken lightly: For diagnosis, clarification and treatment, the animal should be presented to a veterinarian as soon as possible. Prolapsed hawthorn in cats: Several diseases can be the cause, a vet should clarify the symptoms Possible causes of a prolapsed hawthorn in cats Local irritation of the cat’s eye can be the cause of third eyelid prolapse as well as systemic disease. The following triggers are possible triggers for haemorrhagic prolapse in the cat: Corneal injury Foreign body in eye Local infections (bacteria, viruses) Conjunctivitis Prolapse of the nictitating gland Cat flu Allergic reactions Metabolic disorders Poisoning Infestation by parasites Severe emaciation Dehydration due to lack of water (also in case of gastrointestinal diseases with severe diarrhea and vomiting) Tumor disease Stress, psychological stress Congenital defects such as undersized eyeball Degeneration of the eyeball (phthisis bulbi) due to a pre-existing condition Diseases of the nervous system s Several different nerve disorders occur in cats, which can lead, among other things, to a prolapse of the nictitating membrane: Haw Syndrome Such a bilateral prolapse of the nictitating membranes without further eye changes may possibly caused by a heavy worm infestation, but also gastrointestinal diseases with a high endotoxin load are discussed as a cause. Horner’s syndrome Damage to the nerves that control the muscles of the face and eyes leads to various symptoms, including those of the cat’s eyes: droopy eyelids, constriction of the pupils, head tilt and nictitating membrane prolapse. Depending on the cause, the symptoms occur on one or both sides. Reasons can be, for example, inflammation, hormone disorders, injuries, tumor diseases or the so-called idiopathic Horner syndrome with an unknown cause. Feline dysautonomia This disease is also known as Key Gaskell Syndrome . The cause of the disorder of the autonomic nervous system is still unknown, but there seems to be a genetic predisposition. Affected animals show reduced behavior overall, have problems passing urine and faeces, eye changes such as a prolapsed nictitating membrane, dilated pupils and too little tear fluid. The prognosis for a complete recovery of the four-legged friend is poor, a therapy is only possible symptomatically. Also interesting: How do cats actually see? },”classic_row_gap_tablet”:{“unit”:”px”,”size”:””,”sizes”:},”classic_row_gap_mobile”:{“unit”:”px”,”size”:””,”sizes”: }}” data-widget_type=”posts.classic”> A prolapsed nictitating membrane in cats is usually a symptom and no independent disease. While the incident itself is recognizable with the naked eye, a detailed veterinary examination with special diagnostic methods must be used to investigate the actual cause.In addition to a targeted examination of both eyes of the cat, neurological tests, allergy tests and ultrasound or X-ray examinations can provide information about the reason for the nictitating membrane incident.Also mental problems are possible causes for the abnormality in the cat’s eye. Often only the cat owner himself can lead you on the right track with his detailed preliminary report.

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)Species-appropriate cat food from ANIfit – 080% meat in Swedish food quality, without harmful additives. Try the feed change package now! Exclusive 01% discount voucher for new customers: katzenkram Code copied! Treatment of nictitating membrane prolapse in cat Depending on the cause of the cat’s prolapsed nictitating membrane and possible other symptoms, a targeted treatment can be initiated. This can range from changes in the cat’s immediate environment to avoid stress to local eye medication (ointment, drops) or antiparasitics to surgical interventions (e.g. in the case of tumor diseases).

The chances of recovery in the case of a prolapsed nictitating membrane also depend on the underlying disease identified. While many causes of a nictitating prolapse are treatable and will heal completely, others require long-term therapy or, in the worst case, cannot be cured at all. Conclusion A nictitating prolapse is a serious anomaly of the cat’s eye and can have many different causes. Also, because the choking membrane is only a symptom of a disease, it is extremely important that a veterinarian performs a thorough examination. },”classic_row_gap_tablet”:{“unit”:”px”,”size”:””,”sizes”:},”classic_row_gap_mobile”:{“unit”:”px”,”size”:””,”sizes”: }}” data-widget_type=”posts.classic”> FAQ – Frequently asked questions on the subject Is a choking event bad? A prolapsed hawthorn restricts the cat’s vision, which poses a high risk of accidents, especially in the case of outdoor cats. In addition, a nictitating membrane prolapse is not an independent disease, but a symptom. Therefore, the possible causes of a nictitating prolapse should be urgently clarified by a veterinarian. 314200 29224 How does a nictitating membrane occur? Various diseases, such as inflammation of the conjunctiva by bacteria or viruses, can cause the conjunctival anomaly. But parasites, damage to the eye caused by an injury or nerve diseases such as Horner’s syndrome can also be the cause. A veterinarian should therefore examine the cat thoroughly in the event of a nictitating membrane prolapse. 29224 Image sources: Feature image (top): Nils Jacobi / Shutterstock.com2. Poulina Lyutova / Shutterstock.com3. Mary Swift /

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