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Eye Surgery - Pros & Cons?

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
Hello!

We've recently adopted a 13 week old female kitten, who is an absolute angel. I've yet to meet a cat that is SO easy-going and such a pleasure to have around.

The people that we got her from had found her in a barn when she was very tiny, and the poor little thing had an eye infection so bad they thought she might loose her entire right eye. Luckily they were able to treat her with antibiotics, and the infection is gone! The eye itself is much darker than her good eye, and there is some cloudiness directly over her pupil. There is also some scarring on the eyeball itself.

I took her to the vet last week for her first round of shots, and he looked at her eye too. The cloudiness is actually fixed to her eye, so she's unable to look around it. Also, her pupil does not dilate as well as the one in her good eye. The vet told me that he will talk to a specialist and see if it is possible to separate the damaged part of her eye from the part that moves, thus allowing her to see around the cloudiness. I will find out again in about 3 weeks when we go in for round 2 of her shots. Should we go through with the surgery, we'd get it done when we take her to be spayed in a couple of months so they wouldn't have to put her under more than once (the vet's suggestion).

I'm torn on if we actually want to go through with the eye surgery (assuming it is possible). She certainly does not seem to be suffering, and she plays as well as any kitten I've ever known! She also has good accuracy with catching toys and does not fall from the counter... really it doesn't seem to impede her daily life at all! I don't believe she is blind in the eye, but I know she does not see perfectly through it.

I've had eye injuries before and they are VERY high on the list of the most painful thing you can ever go through... If she is functioning just fine with her eye as-is, I wouldn't want her to have months of pain as her eye heals from surgery...

Has anyone chosen to get eye surgery on their cat before? Please share your story! Also, if you were me... what would you chose? She is such a sweet little kitty and it would break my heart to see her hurting...

Thank you



post #2 of 20
She's such a little sweetheart It is a very difficult decision to make and if I were in your position I would be just as torn. I'm not sure what I would do. The big thing I would want to weigh is how will her eye affect her as she ages. Is it possilbe that she could loose all sight in it later on in life.

I'm sure whatever you choose will be the right decision because it was made with great care and love
post #3 of 20
Since she's so young, it might be worthwhile to do the surgery if it would give her a life of normal vision. On the other hand, if doing this involves any risks beyond those of the spaying alone, you might think twice.

Before you decide, sit down with the vet and ask every question you can think of about the prognosis, both with and without the surgery. If you still aren't certain, take time to write down all the pros and cons on a piece of paper and reason your way through it. It's amazing how clear things can become when you do this.

Above all, sleep on the decision. Answers always come more easily in the morning.

Good luck, whatever you decide!
post #4 of 20
Awwww poor little sweetheart!! It's so heartbreaking when they're such sweet kitties and have these sort of problems - trust me I know!!

I think if I was in your situation, and there was no chance she'd get worse, I'd leave her be. She probably doesn't know what it's like to have perfect vision and from the sounds of it - doesn't care! She has a loving home, and that's all she needs.

Lots to weigh up I imagine. Best of luck!
post #5 of 20
Thread Starter 
Thanks to everyone for your very kind and thoughtful answers! I can see that I'm not the only one who would have a difficult time with this kind of decision.

She certainly doesn't seem to be in pain, or hindered at all by her sight problem. Which makes it that much more difficult to want her to go in for eye surgery... It is very good advice to weigh the pros and cons, as well as to ask every possible question from the vet before going ahead with it (or not!).

Thanks! I will keep everyone informed when we go back to the vet in a few weeks.

Please, anyone else, feel free to add your two cents. I am considering every word!
post #6 of 20
Hi
I'm so sorry you're having to make a decision like this

I just thought I'd tell you about one of my boys,He has had scar tissue on his
eye since I found him just over ten years ago.My vet, although he always checked
his eye,never mentioned to me that he may need surgery on it in the future.
The scar tissue used to be white then started to turn brown.
His eye doesn't dilate at all now,It is constantly open,so he probly can't see
anything but very bright light.
I was told a couple of weeks ago that because his eye is swollen and there is some
discharge that if it gets any worse he may have to have it removed.
My boy was diagnosed with renal failure 12 months ago last christmas and
was coping quite well until he had to have two anaesthetics in 5 weeks late last
year due to complications having dental surgery.
Now I've found he may have to have his eye out,I fear he may not survive the surgery
if his eye does deteriorate.
I think like Tracy(MissMew) said you will have to weigh up how her eye may affect
her in the long term as she gets older.
It would be very easy for me to say that given the choice I would have
chosen for him to have eye surgery back then before any complications did arise.
But I honestly don't know what I would have done back then,But knowing how
things have turned out for him now,Then yes,I would have had it done years ago.
If I had known.
I just thought I'd tell you about him not to scare you or anything like that,but after
what Tracy(MissMew)said I just felt that, We are at this end now and none of us
know what's around that next corner,so if this helps in any way....

I think having a specialist look at her eye will give you a better idea on her long
term eye condition and will help you with your difficult decision.

All my best wishes to you and your little kitty and I hope all goes well for her..
By the way,What's your girls name?
post #7 of 20
Just wanted to say good luck and I'll be thinking of you and kitty, whatever you decide.

She's a gorgeous girl
post #8 of 20
What a hard decision to make. I have to say I lean away from surgery unless the cat is suffering or would face future health difficulties. I understand wanting to only put you baby under once, but I would also be inclined to want the eye specialist to do the surgury.
post #9 of 20
Another thing to consider is that eye surgery has advanced a great deal. It's possible, particularly if it's laser surgery, that the recovery time and pain involved would be much less than you're anticipating. Of course humans aren't the same, but I had eye surgery and was pain free after 24 hours.
post #10 of 20
Thread Starter 
Oh, "FurryFerals", I am so sorry to hear about your boy's eye. It's such a shame that we cannot see into the future to be able to make the best decisions for our little friends. I really hope that his eye heals up, as I understand your concern about surgery on an older sickly boy.

Did your vet tell you what may have happened to his eye recently that caused this sudden change? Judging by your post it didn't seem to give him much trouble for some time (apart from being blinded in it). I'm curious because should I choose not to go for the surgery with my kitten, I'd want to know what to be on the lookout for in the future.

We've named her Pixel, by the way! We thought she was male for the first few days (the people before us, their vet sexed her incorrectly... ), but Pixel is androgynous enough and I call her "Pixie" anyway!

I agree with you, Emmylou, that eye surgery has definitely come a long way. Ideally it will be some kind of non-intrusive surgery that will mean a quick recovery!

All this talk about her eye really makes me anxious to hear back from the vet! Only a few more weeks... ahhh!
post #11 of 20
If you do decide to do the surgery, you'll want to make sure that you've picked a really good, experienced veterinary eye specialist.
post #12 of 20
Even if I had the money, I wouldn't do it unless it was causing her pain or disability.


Anyway, Godiva had eye surgery a couple years ago for cherry eye, a condition usually found in dogs. Her third eyelid glands would pop out of her eye and not go back in. It was crazy looking, but she's fine now! The surgery worked great.
post #13 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Malakaiii View Post
Oh, "FurryFerals", I am so sorry to hear about your boy's eye. It's such a shame that we cannot see into the future to be able to make the best decisions for our little friends. I really hope that his eye heals up, as I understand your concern about surgery on an older sickly boy.

Did your vet tell you what may have happened to his eye recently that caused this sudden change? Judging by your post it didn't seem to give him much trouble for some time (apart from being blinded in it). I'm curious because should I choose not to go for the surgery with my kitten, I'd want to know what to be on the lookout for in the future.

We've named her Pixel, by the way! We thought she was male for the first few days (the people before us, their vet sexed her incorrectly... ), but Pixel is androgynous enough and I call her "Pixie" anyway!

I agree with you, Emmylou, that eye surgery has definitely come a long way. Ideally it will be some kind of non-intrusive surgery that will mean a quick recovery!

All this talk about her eye really makes me anxious to hear back from the vet! Only a few more weeks... ahhh!

Thank you Malakai Yes I am worried sick.

No he didn'tsay what caused it,although my vet did tell me to bring him back if his eye got any worse,It was the vet nurse who actually told me that it was because of the discharge that was the main concern.She said that it was the discharge that causes pressure to build up in the eyeball and this pressure leads to the eyeball swelling, which causes the pain and discomfort.
My vet thinks it's a symptom of scarring getting worse through old age.

Yes,my boy never had any trouble with his eye until late last summer,I noticed he was
closing his eye for no reason,I just put it down to him getting a draught/chill in his
eye and being the end of summer and he always likes to sleep on the sill near the open gap on the window sill.
He has always had full sight until afew months ago that I noticed his eye wasn't dilating properly.
I honestly think If her eye can be saved,even with restricted vision,then that might be best if she's got no probs.
If you take her to a specialist you will get the very best advice and don't be surprised
if he/she asks you some phsychological questions too,Don't worry about it just
answer them honestly and they will advise you the best
If you want anymore advice just pm me
Whatever you decide will be for the best.

Aww Pixel Thats a beautiful name for her,It suits her too
Best wishes
post #14 of 20
I would consult with a feline opthamologist and go from there.
Obviously if any swelling occurs at all it can get dangerous and cause other problems.

I have a two year old girl here that was born with congenital glaucoma.
Her right eye was huge, but because of her age, she had to wait for surgery.
The pressure build up was affecting her sinuses and causing chronic URIs and trying to push her left eye out of orbit.
At 4 months she finally had her eye removed.
It had put pressure on her sinuses for so long that they are now damaged and she has a constantly runny nose and gets crusties.
post #15 of 20
Thread Starter 
Aw well Pixel and I are glad to hear that she's not the only little kitty around with eye problems!

Luckily her eye isn't in an emergency state and that will give us sometime to consider it thoroughly before moving ahead. I was playing with her last night and forgot completely that her eye is 'abnormal' for a 3 month old. She's such a crazy little beast.

Thanks everyone for sharing your eye surgery stories. It's great to know we have some people and cats with personal experience to talk to!
post #16 of 20
I would consult with the cat ophtamalogist to find out the risks of both having and not having the eye surgery.

In your other post about adopting a kitty with herpes that had affected the kitty's eye (is this the same kitty?), I posted pics of Flowerbelle - who did have her eye removed.

Our circumstance was quite different. The eye did not appear to cause her pain - but it was sapping a lot of her energy, fighting the virus causing the problem. Our vet conducted the surgery (although he's a particularly skilled surgeon). Flowerbelle never had any problems or complications from the surgery, she never appeared to be in any pain, and her energy levels went up 1000% after the surgery.

I'd consult the opthamalogist - and if there were any chance that in the future your kitty could require surgery, I'd consider going ahead and having it done - becuase they heal so much more quickly when they're young and healthy.



Laurie
post #17 of 20
I would have her evaluated by an ophthamologist and see what s/he has to say. That would be the first piece of information I would want.

I do think furryferals makes a good point. If the ophthamologist thinks there is any reasonable possibility of things getting worse in the future, it would be a good idea to have it taken care of now since she's in the best position at this point to handle surgery.

Either way, I am sure you will do what is best for her and she sure looks cute and happy to me!
post #18 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Malakaiii View Post
Aw well Pixel and I are glad to hear that she's not the only little kitty around with eye problems!

Luckily her eye isn't in an emergency state and that will give us sometime to consider it thoroughly before moving ahead. I was playing with her last night and forgot completely that her eye is 'abnormal' for a 3 month old. She's such a crazy little beast.

Thanks everyone for sharing your eye surgery stories. It's great to know we have some people and cats with personal experience to talk to!
love the pic of your Pixel - my Pixel is also female, & also a tuxie! good luck at the vets
post #19 of 20
She's absolutely beautiful.
post #20 of 20
Thread Starter 
I thought I'd give everyone an update as I took Pixel to the vet for her booster shots today and spoke with them regarding her eye.

I had a different doctor this time (at the SPCA clinic, you get whoever's on duty when you go for vaccinations), and I much preferred her to the previous one! He was all business, while she took some time and stroked Pixel as she talked with me. I liked that.

She said they could refer me to an eye specialist, who could specifically asses her eye and give us an idea if surgery was necessary or even possible. That visit would cost about $300, and they may not even be able to do anything for her.

I asked our vet what her opinion was, and if she'd do it for her own cat. She said that if it doesn't impede her daily life, eye surgery can be painful and it may not even improve the situation for her (of course eye surgery itself can cause more problems). I honestly believe her eye has been improving over the past few weeks, anyway! Plus it doesn't hurt her... she doesn't even know that it's injured at all!

The vet suggested that I keep a close eye on it, though, and if it makes a turn for the worse to bring her in ASAP. I will definitely do that!

Thanks everyone for your kind suggestions and the stories of your cats. I'll keep you updated!
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