Snow Leopard

Snow Leopard
Snow Leopard cub (7 mos old) - Cape May County Zoo

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Something I Have NEVER "Seen"

A really nice older gentleman came in with a cat we hadn't seen in a few years. This cat is FIV + (I wrote about this feline specific virus in January).  

The owner has another cat and both of them are mostly indoors. He did say this cat had some outside time but not much and not far from home. In the past, this cat had an eye infection so he thought what he was seeing was a recurrence of that. This had been going on for almost a month (no I have no idea why he waited that long). I do not advise waiting that long with eye issues, as it can mean the difference between vision loss and sight and/or keeping the eye or needing to have it removed.

This is what I saw with this cat's eye:

The "cloudy" area you are seeing is not ON the cornea. It is behind it. The bottom picture shows it a little better. Any ideas? 

Another hint: when you shine light into it, you can see a "Y"

Here's a diagram that might help you:

It's the lens.  The lens is the oblong disc shown above hanging between the darker thick black lines (the iris or colored part of the eye.)

The lens luxated, or popped, forward into the anterior chamber. How does that happen? Not easily. This takes some trauma. A typical cat fight, even a good swat to the head, is not likely to cause this unless the other cat is a mountain lion. 

Usually we will see the lens luxate back into the posterior chamber. What we see then, as we look through the iris and into the pupil (or dark central part of eye) is a "half moon" in the back of the eye representing the lens, which will drop down a little. This type of injury is usually associated with a fall from a height or a auto vs pet situation. 

I have no idea how this happened and the owner has no historical comments that would help us. The bottom line is, the eye is comfortable, blind and there is nothing to do for it. 

We measured the intraocular pressures as a lens being in the front chamber may cause problems with fluid flow, resulting in glaucoma. Right now, kitty is fine. 


  1. I just found my cat's eye exactly like this this morning. My husband is taking her to emergency. I am sure she did not have any trauma, she is indoors. I may have missed it for a day if she was sleeping when I went in to feed. But I know it was not like this a few days ago because we were grooming her, we would have noticed. She has been losing weight, ultrasound was generally inconclusive except possible lymphoma. (I never get my $500 when I don't get any answers, either.) Her nose is a tad runny. She has been eating and no demonstration of pain.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.