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.
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):
- Injectable Atropine
- Injectable Propofol
- Injectable Anesthesia
- Injectable Paid Med/ Buprenex .03
- Injectable Pain Med/ Bupivicaine .25
- Injectable Metacam/ Loxicom
- Entropion Correct
- Elizabethian Collar- Large
- Medication Dispensed
- 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.
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.