October 10, 2023
Moving to a few days between updates as the 18 kittens continue to heal and grow with their foster families.
Today was the day! Exams, treatments and possible surgeries for our 16 older Eye Caramba 18 Kittens…. And we feel it went well but some of our kittens aren’t quite out of the woods yet.
The day started with full exams on all 16 kittens. Early on we were looking at two to three prob eye removal surgeries, at least. but many would have to wait for assessment until they are under and our amazing veterinarian is able to peel back the conjunctiva or third eyelids that are adhered to the cornea. Dr Erin is trying to save all the eyes but if she gets in there to find they absolutely need to come out she will do that. Vorticity is a possible partial squintten. Verzenio and Vel so far are good to go eye-wise, with minor scarring that will likely go away in time. Volute looks great. Varnish is also not going to lose either eye but will need the severe eye protocol in one eye. I’ve added some exam photos as we moved through the day.
Next step to our day was to prepare the treatments for the kittens who still are fighting damage but eyes might be saved. This included drawing blood from two HERO KITTIES in the rescue who donated blood plasma to help out the kittens’ eyes. Krasinski (shown in photo) and Ranid, both available for adoption at wbcats.org, donated some tubes of blood to create plasma eye drops to help our kittens heal. Dr. Erin describes the process:
The kittens 3rd eyelid is pulled up across the cornea and sutured in place to the upper eyelid. A plastic stent is inserted to relieve some pressure so the suture does not cause further tissue damage if it is tight or swelling causes it to become too tight. It helps in removal too as you only cut the suture over the stent instead of one that might be embedded in the eyelid tissue. The best way to think of it is a ‘physiologic band-aid’. The kitten’s own body and fluids are in contact with the corneal defect/ulcer and keep it lubricated, protected, covered, in contact with healthy tissue and secretions/medications meant to help heal. It is typically in place for 3-4 weeks.
The autogenous/autologous serum or plasma drawn from our two HERO KITTIES is to help protect or restore the collagen in the cornea. Regardless of the cause of the ulcer, the destruction of collagen by various enzymes induced by damage/infection/inflammation allows the damage to progress. The serum/plasma helps counteract the enzymatic damage to the cornea’s collagen, therefore helping halt the ‘melting’ or degeneration of the cornea. There are other benefits as well. We selected large, healthy, recently vaccinated, FeLV/FIV negative donor cats as it would be too dangerous to pull a large volume of blood from our 1 pound ‘eye’ kittens to use their own serum or plasma.
The other therapies we are using are 2 broad spectrum antibiotics, oral antivirals and oral antibiotics. Doxycycline in particular has some anti-inflammatory and anti-collagenase activity as well as being a good antibiotic for URIs in kittens. We have given every kitten pain reliever and anti-inflammatory medications to help keep them comfortable and reduce swelling.
Fingers crossed it will help some of our kittens keep their eyes! All kittens who received this intensive therapy will be reassessed in 3-4 weeks, or sooner if they show signs of infection or severe swelling. At that time our veterinarian will reassess and make the call to remove the eye or allow it to continue to heal.
We did have one kitten lose an eye today, Viability’s lens was protruding from the eyeball when Dr Erin was finally able to see it under anesthesia. Her eye was deemed unsavable and she is recovering well post-surgery.
All incoming donations will help pay for the eye removal surgery today, exams, and production of the serum eye drops for many of the kittens. We appreciate all who have donated and shared to this point! Next update on Oct 14th so our kittens have some time to recover and heal from today! We couldn’t do this without all of you! Thank you from Wild Blue Cats and the Eye Caramba 18 Kittens!
– Amy Griswold