Surgery or Not?

First of all, thank you to everyone who has “liked” and commented on my last couple of blogs, concerning my cat Milo’s eye disorder diagnosis and his future options. Some of you have asked questions about the type of surgery he may need. I will attempt to break it all down for you here. Additionally, I will try to explain my mixed feelings about going through with this.

Cats have complicated eyelids. Here is a link with an explanation of how cats’ eyes normally work.

I am confused as to what Dr. K. meant when she said Milo has “no eyelids.” Did she mean upper or lower lids? Both? Here is an article I found about a kitten named Phil, who was born without upper lids, and the surgery he went through.  As you can see from the pictures, the surgery and recovery looks more painful than the original condition!

Then, there is the scary reality of what can happen if this condition, known as Eyelid Agenesis, is not treated. Milo could develop scar tissue in his unprotected eyes and eventually lose his sight.

Milo, just chillin'
Milo, just chillin’

The local animal hospital that diagnosed my cat’s condition, sent me a list of recommended procedures, and a breakdown of the costs involved. I won’t get into the money part. Let’s pretend that I’m a millionaire (far from it!) and I could afford anything. I would still be hesitant to go through with the surgery, just because it sounds… so… scary. Here is everything on the itemized price list that the vet sent me (minus the cost):

1.Office Examination

  1. Bloodwork
  2. Hospitalization
  3. Injectable Atropine
  4. Injectable Propofol
  5. Injectable Anesthesia
  6. Isoflurane
  7. Injectable Paid Med/ Buprenex .03
  8. Injectable Pain Med/ Bupivicaine .25
  9. Injectable Metacam/ Loxicom
  10. Entropion Correct
  11. Elizabethian Collar- Large
  12. Medication Dispensed
  13. Suture Monocryl 2-0 Y-762H

Can you see why I would be nervous?

I’ve read up on the surgery they want to do (you can Google “Entropion Correction in Cats” to learn more), and usually, this operation is done when a cat’s eyelid turns inward, causing the eyelashes to scratch the corneas and cause irritation and sometimes ulceration. But Milo has no eyelids to begin with! What they would do is cut a tiny sliver of his skin from around his eye so that the hairs there won’t poke him in the eye. That is the cheapest option. I am worried that If I do this, it will be harder for him to close his eyes. (How he closes his eyes without eyelids to begin with is beyond me.) The most expensive option would be to actually build him eyelids, using a strip of skin taken from elsewhere on his body. I can’t help picturing a butcher’s diagram of a cow.

Butcher Map of a Cow
Butcher Map of a Cow

Then, there’s all those drugs! Holy cow, Propofol?!? That’s the stuff that killed Michael Jackson! This relaxes a patient before surgery and helps them sleep. Atropine is a drug to keep his heart stable. The fact that this is needed terrifies me! If I consent to the surgery, I might be putting Milo at risk of having a heart attack??? And why does he need three different kinds of pain meds? My poor little guy!

I need to find out the name of the surgeon who’d be doing this, how often he’s done this type of surgery, the success rate, and the risks. Of course, there are also risks to not having the surgery, as I pointed out earlier… infection, scarring, and blindness among them. I’d be devastated if Milo lost his sight. He’s such and observant cat, and he loves to chase anything that moves.

So far, he’s doing great with the twice-daily eye lubricant. No redness, he doesn’t rub his eyes, and his eyesight seems fine. I’ve stopped using aerosol sprays (like air freshener), because I want to remove all possible irritants from his environment.

So. That is where we stand… on a pedestal of confusion and uncertainty. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Milo
Milo
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Published by

Holly G

Cricket is my radio name, Holly Gaskin is my author name. I am trying to maintain three blogs here: My Life With Cats, Author Spotlight and Cricket's Frog Blog. Thanks for checking them out!

4 thoughts on “Surgery or Not?”

  1. what did you decide, if you have decided, to do about the surgery? I would get a 2nd opinion of the pros and cons and see if that helps. Vet care is so expensive. Topaz became hyper thyroid and is was over $1100 to get her I-131 treatment. Mozaic had to have most of her teeth pulled shortly after I adopted/rescued her, and that was $600 (my regular vet wanted $1600!) Topaz has recently had conjuctivitis in one eye and an eye ulcer and that has cost $300 so far. It just never ends it seems, but not sure pet insurance is the way to go either.

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    1. I’ve decided not to do it. Milo is doing so very nicely, with just the eye lubricant. I check them for redness and irritation. His eyesight is fine, as he doesn’t miss a trick. I just can’t put my cat through that kind of trauma!!!

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      1. Hi Holly, I just took in a foster kitten who I just found out has this exact problem. He’s very functional and a happy, playful kitten. Now that I know the problem , I just started putting lubricant drops in his eyes today. My vet said to call him Tuesday after he talks to a vet ophthalmologist. He seems fine & hasn’t shown any signs of infection yet. Not sure if I am open to surgery or any other options. Any advise? Also, what kind of eye drops have you found that works best?

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      2. I use the Walgreen’s “Well” brand of sterile lubricant eye ointment. It’s only got a couple of ingredients…. no scary-sounding mystery chemicals like in most human eye drops! It comes in a red & white 0.125 oz. tube. Good luck with your foster kitten!

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