Thursday, August 20, 2015

Charlie says "Bye Bye" to an eye

Charlie, before surgery.
by Adam Jablonski
If you're a longtime reader of the blog, you may remember a couple posts (see here and here) about the Peanuts Gang, a litter of siamese-mix kittens taken in and fostered by ACR as part of a TNR project in College Park, MD. Each kitten in the Gang suffered from eyelid agenesis, a condition that causes the hairs around the eyes to curl in and scratch and irritate the eyes, which can eventually cause blindness. We had three of these kittens treated by a specialist, who removed the offending hairs, and all but one has been without issue since.

Linus today, with no eye problems.
Young Charlie, as a Peanut.
Charlie is the only one of the group that continued to have eye issues. (Linus, Charlie's last littermate still in our care, received the agenesis treatment and has had no complications since.) Along with eyelid agenesis, Charlie had another congenital condition called microphthalmia, which left his right eye and optic nerve underdeveloped and non-functioning. That's not a health problem in itself, but because his socket wasn't supported by a full-size eye, his lid and lashes continued to curl into the space and cause irritation. His long fur didn't help matters either. We managed the problem by regularly trimming the fur and lashes near his right eye and by keeping the area clean.

But recently we noticed more discharge around Charlie's eye than usual, so we decided to have him examined by another specialist, who recommended removing the underdeveloped eye and closing the socket. After careful consideration, we decided that keeping the eye would be of no benefit to Charlie, so we chose to have it removed for him. The great news is that the surgery went smoothly and Charlie went straight home with Volunteer Coordinator Liz to convalesce. 

Charlie post-surgery, looking like he has a catnip hangover.
After a week on oral pain medication and an antibiotic, Charlie is getting back to his usual self. He's up and about in his cage and asking for rubs each time we check in on him during the day. He won't need to adjust to having one eye because he's only ever seen with his left. His left eye doesn't function perfectly either, but he can see from it well enough, and when interacting with Charlie one can tell he's using his sense of smell just as much as his sight to keep tabs on his surroundings.

Stitches keep the surgery site closed, whle the cone stops him from scratching it.
What's funniest to us is that Charlie now looks like a tough guy with a scar to prove it, and yet this is what he's known for around the office.


Both Charlie and Linus are available for adoption! They are both laid back and affectionate and do well with other cats. Linus has not had any eye problems since his surgery as a kitten, and we do not anticipate that Charlie will have any issues going forward. They're both about three years old, are neutered, up-to-date on their shots, and have tested negative for FIV and FeLV. Please get in touch if you're interested in meeting Charlie and Linus, as we're sure they'd be great additions to most any loving home.

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