Anyanka had her follow-up exam with the ophthalmologist today and we’ve arrived at several conclusions.
First, Anya is a carrier for feline viral rhinotracheitis (FVR), often called “cat flu” or less popularly known as kitty herpes. Odds are the virus was transmitted by her mother at or shortly after birth. The virus often presents as a standard upper respiratory infection with the expected coughing, sneezing, and watery eyes, but it can also cause a nasty infection of one or both eyes – in Anya’s case, her left.
There’s no “cure.” Barring a breakthrough treatment, Anya will be a carrier for the rest of her life and may or may not experience further flare ups. One of the most common causes for these flares is stress – things like living in a shelter environment or suddenly finding herself thrown in a crate and taken to a new home. Given how little I enjoy change myself, I’m optimistic that as things settle into a routine here, we’ll be able to minimize whatever stress she may experience going forward.
Second, most likely as a result of ongoing infection in her eye from a very young age, Anya has conjunctival symblepharon. For lack of a proper veterinary explanation, this is a condition where her third eyelid and portions of her inner eyelid are adhered. It’s why even now that the infection is controlled, you can really only see about 1/3 of her eye. Fortunately, the eye itself doesn’t appear to be damaged. Assuming no further issues, we’ll schedule surgery in about a month to correct the adhesion and try to get her a wider field of view in that eye.
Even with surgery, it’s never likely to look “perfectly normal.” That, of course, is an issue I’m perfectly indifferent about so long as it improves her overall health and quality of life. The vet’s recommendation is that this is a “one and done” effort. If for some reason the surgery doesn’t take, it’s better to leave well enough alone than try repeatedly.
I had a hunch I was getting into something when I decided on this little gray kitten hunkered down in the back of her cage at the shelter, though admittedly this has gotten more involved than I planned for originally. Whatever. Everyone wants an “ideal” kitten. After already spending three months getting passed over, there’s no telling how much longer “the cat with the weird eye” would have lingered there or worse, been returned or dumped somewhere, once they realized the cost and level of effort required to get her fixed up. She’s in no danger of that fate here.
On the good news front, the cone of shame is now tucked in the cabinet and we’re down from four medications three times a day to two medications twice a day. That level of treatment feels much more manageable, especially since the two meds we’re continuing are basic eye drops rather than the ointment that stuck to everything or the oral suspension that she disliked mightily.
Now that we have Anya on the mend, it’s probably time to shift a little focus towards helping Cordy come out of her shell a bit. Given her background as having been “caught in the wild” just a few days before I brought her home, I can’t help but feel like this is going to be a whole different kind of project. But at this point, what’s one more thing to do?