Snow Leopard

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

Monday, July 9, 2012

A "Small" Eye Problem

Eye problems - notably infections and trauma - are common in pets. Kittens can be plagued with chronic eye issues like herpes virus infections that cause permanent damage to the eye - ranging from mild corneal scarring to enough damage to require removal of the entire eyeball.

This procedure is called an enucleation. It's also done in large animals for similar reasons.

We don't remove the eye simply because it's non-visual. The decision to remove the eye is generally based on the comfort of the patient. A blind but bulging eye (often from uncontrolled or untreated glaucoma - increased INTRAocular pressure, a tumor behind or involving the eye, etc) that is clearly causing the animal pain must be removed. Signs can be subtle but include not eating well, lethargy to actually pawing at or rubbing the eye, further traumatizing it. We also remove eyes that aren't fully developed (a condition called agenesis of the eye) or that were previously ruptured and shrunk. These eyes tend to be chronic accumulators of debris and ocular discharge and also cause discomfort. 

The case below is from a kitten that very obviously need the eye removed. The initiating cause is unknown here as this was a stray kitten found with an already bad eye - certainly infection and trauma are the top two likely causes.

Before surgery

You can see how far out this goes - some of it is scab w/pus underneath but it created an issue when he'd turn and "bump" it

Post op :) 

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