Haws syndrome

Vetlexicon Felis ISSN: 2398-2950 Canis logo

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  • Cause : idiopathic but speculatively it may be associated with tapeworm infestation or virus infection.
  • Signs : a syndrome of prolapse of the third eyelids (nictitating membranes) often with diarrhea as well.
  • Occasionally cats can be ill but they will recover with supportive care.
  • Diagnosis : usually just on signs.
  • Treatment : none.
  • Prognosis : good, generally completely benign and self-limiting.


Clinical signs

  • Bilateral third eyelid protrusion.
  • No ocular abnormalities.
  • Intestine containing excess gas and fluid.
  • No detectable anomalies.
  • Rarely there is evidence of weight loss or a pyrexia.


Differential diagnosis



  • Excellent.
  • All cats seem to recover but the time course varies considerably.
    It is unusual for the recovery to take <4 or >16 weeks.

Expected response to treatment

  • Retraction of third eyelids to normal position.
  • Resolution of diarrhea.

Reasons for treatment failure

  • Incorrect diagnosis   →   other cause of diarrhea untreated.
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