Saturday, June 05, 2010

Quiet Saturday night with Zombie Cat

So I was just sitting here having some leftover pizza, surfing the web and being pestered by a Persian who wanted my food and realized I hadn't posted here for a very, very long time. No real excuse, just haven't managed to do it. At least over the last month and a half I can say I've been dealing with another round of weird health problems for Scooter.

Scooter's left cornea got torn around the end of April which has lead to a weird roller coaster for us. We're not positive how it happened, but it seemed to be related to Scooter's continuing problems with upper respiratory infections. He had a pretty serious one going on complete with really crusty nose and eyes. I had been trying to keep his nose clean and get the worst gunk out of his eyes because it seemed to be bothering him and noticed his left eye was an odd color. I made an appointment with the vet the next , but the Saturday night before then the cornea tore which lead to me panicking for a bit, an emergency visit to the vet and a surgery to try to repair the cornea. Picking him up a few days later was a bit of a shock, he was in a cone, his left eye was sewn shut, both of which I had expected, and there was a white button sewn over the left eye. The button was totally unexpected and made Scooter look like a character out of Tim Burton movie. The reason for it makes sense, the vet does it to have a solid anchor for the stitches, it makes the stitches easier to see when they go to take them out and it protects the eye. It just looked really, really weird. They had also dematted him while he was under so on top of the rest of it he had bald patches. Scooter also got a shot of antibiotics and more antibiotics to take here at home. It was a rough two weeks for all of us, the other cats were pretty sure he was an alien, he was having a hard time getting used to navigating with one eye and the cone and I felt horrible because I was sure I had done something to damage the cornea. Scooter picked up two new nicknames at this point Cyclops (from E) and Conehead (from me).

Two weeks later I took him in so Dd. D could see how it was doing and we found out that the repair didn't hold. This left E and I with a hard decision, the choices were a conjunctival graft (grafting a piece of tissue lining his eye socket onto the cornea) or to remove the eye. After some discussion we decided to go with the conjunctival graft and leave the removal as a last resort. So Scooter went in for the graft and two more weeks in the cone, with a button on his eye and more antibiotics for the upper respiratory infection. By this point he had adapted to the cone and having one eye so he was able to function pretty well and rapidly got back to his old self. Two weeks later I took him in for a follow-up and the graft had taken and looked good, so Scooter was out of the cone and the button was off. There was shock this time too, the graft looked like a thick grey film over the eye. Despite how it looked Dr. D said Scooter could see out of that eye, he just had a blind spot where the graft is. It was all great news, except for the fact the way it looked combined with the patchy fur made Scooter look like a zombie. I started calling him Zombie cat sometime in the first couple of days after he came over and reached up begging for food.

I took him in for his 4 week recheck this last Wednesday and the vet is thrilled with how Scooter is doing, the graft looks good and is already thinning out on the edges. We're waiting another couple of weeks to let it heal more and then we'll start with some steroid eye drops to thin the graft out. The last round of antibiotics has helped the upper respiratory infection, I have another couple weeks of weeks to give him and hopefully that will be it. If not Dr. D said he has some other options for treating it.

It has been an awful experience but I've learned that our new vet and his office are fantastic. I'm really glad we switched to them when our old vet retired and sold his practice. I was also reminded of a few thing. The first is that Scooter is one tough and adaptable little cat. Despite the fact that he is coming up on 13 years old, he made it through all of this with very few problems. The second one is that E and I are capable of coming up with really odd nicknames for our pets.