How Can I Find a Vet in a Developing Country?

Me and my husband are in Foreign Service and living currently in a developing country. We own 3 pets and one of them- our Maine...

Me and my husband are in Foreign Service and
living currently in a developing
country. We own 3 pets and one of them- our Maine
Coon cat has since months a staph infection in
his eye. We tried a few treatments but the
doctor here is not sure what to do. Infection
since yesterday is spreading to the second eye(!).
Please if you can advise us what are the
treatments of this type of infection so we may be
able to finally help our pet.

Manila, Philippines

My first recommendation is to find a better vet. Although Manila is in a developing country, it is a major metropolitan area. There may be a more knowledgeable vet somewhere in town. If you are American, I’d recommend that you contact the US embassy for a recommendation. My understanding is that embassies develop lists of good vets for staff members who have brought pets with them on overseas assignments.

Although I absolutely can’t diagnose your cat’s problem without examining him or her, I do have some thoughts about your situation. First, Staph infections are common causes of skin problems in cats and dogs (and people). However, they rarely cause eye infections. Several viruses and other types of bacteria are more likely culprits.

The first choice medication for feline eye infections is called Terramycin ophthalmic ointment. I doubt it is available in Manila, but you should still look for it or try to get it over the internet. It is usually applied to the affected eye or eyes two to four times daily. It is a veterinary product and it should not be available in human pharmacies.

If you can’t find Terramycin, then you can consider applying a different antibiotic ophthalmic ointment (such as gentamicin) to the affected eye or eyes three or four times daily. Confirm that any ointment you use is designed for the eye and does not contain hydrocortisone, dexamethasone, or any other steroid (steroids could make the problem much worse). Human pharmacies carry a variety of antibiotic ophthalmic ointments.

Remember that medicating your cat’s eye without first visiting a good veterinarian is generally a bad idea and should be done only as a last resort.

Many eye infections are related to weak immune systems. Good husbandry practices, including proper diet, low stress levels, and prevention of parasites may help the problem.

Finally, remember that many feline eye infections are viral. The most common virus may be inhibited by dietary supplementation with the amino acid L-lysine. Talk to your vet and local pharmacist to see if you can obtain this product.

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