Severe Eye problem

by Jennifer
(Conshohocken, PA)




Hi - I am emailing you desperate to get a third opinion about a foster kitten of ours, whom we named Oreo.
I want to be as specific as possible, so this might take a bit. Thanks for your patience.

We picked up Oreo, who is one in a litter of 6 two week old kittens, plus their Mom on August 9th, 2008. We got them from The Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) and were very excited to bring them home. When they sent us home with them, they gave us a weeks supply of Amoxil tablets and some Erythromiacin (sp?) as Mom and a few of the kittens were exhibiting signs of an upper respiratory infection.
We got home and started Mom on one pill per evening and gave the kittens who had a teary discharge the erythromiacin (they were also sneezing at the time) and thought things would be okay.
7 days later (8/15) and the mom-cat was still exhibiting symptoms of the URI, and Oreo's eyes were (mostly) glued shut half the time. We would apply warm compresses twice a day, and re-administer the Erythromiacin - but it didn't seem to be getting any better. We took them back to the clinic at PAWS, and they gave us Amoxil drops for Mom, and Gentamicin drops for Oreo.
We went home, hoping things would get better.
3 days later, the swelling in Oreo's eyes was no better - it was obviously bothering her - and was painful. She even managed to scratch the outermost part of her eye with her little claws due to the irritation bothering her. This time, we wanted a second opinion, so we took her to the vet we usually take our other cats to (we have 4 of our own). We thought maybe they could give us insight as to what was ailing Poor Oreo. (We also had another kitten at that point that was having a great deal of trouble with her portion of the URI Mom had passed on: post nasal drip). They treated both Oreo and the other kitten with a fluid therapy to aid in a bit of dehydration they said was present. They looked at Oreo's eye and sent us home with Tetramyacin. They instructed us to put this in her eyes every 8 hours.
They didn't seem to show a great amount of concern with the eye problem, so we maybe thought we were over reacting and it was 'just an eye infection'.

It has now been 2 weeks, and my roomates and I are fearing the worst. The worst eye (her right) the lower lid is completely swollen and white. The eye itself is only about 10% visible (I'm ball-parking) and that which can be seen is covered by a thin milky film. (The film started last night - it is not her inner eyelid (which is thicker). The outermost corner of the right eye is irritated due to her scratching it.The left eye is significantly better than the left, but still not great. A good amount of the inner eyelid can be seen. When we go to put the Tetramyacin in her eyes, we have to hold warm, wet compresses on her eyes, while she cries and fights, just to loosen up her eyes enough so she can barely open them.

We are very worried and don't want to take her to another vet without knowing that we'll get some kind of possible explanation or reason for this ailment. It seems like we are beating a dead horse. The clinic didn't have much to say the first time, and our vet had even less to say. It feels like she's just being overlooked and each time it gets more and more frustrating for us, and more painful for her. After each session with her eyes, she'll sleep quite a bit because the constant struggling and crying exhausts her. We hate putting her through this and just wish we had an idea of a) whether or not the Tetramyacin is doing any good so we know whether to continue or just stop - and b) what in gods name it really is, because it's been 2 weeks and even though her weight is great and she plays and is fine otherwise - it's kind of obvious the antibiotics that she's getting through Mom's milk aren't working. I've been doing some reading online and have been reading more and more about Feline Herpes, and think this may be the problem in the situation and if it is, not only am I upset that no one at the clinic or the vet mentioned it, but I'm also upset that the antibiotics prescribed apparently don't do much of anything when attempting to treat a URI caused by Herpes.

I also don't want to take her back to a vet that isn't operating with her best interest at heart, and I don't really feel that anyplace I've gone so far has. Obviously the clinic is completely inundated and cannot necessarily coo over a kitten when they have 60 in the back with the same symptoms, so I'm obviously not speaking ill of them. But I would have thought that our personal vet would have been a bit more informative.
But maybe that's just us over reacting or mothering the baby too much...

We are desperate at this point to bring the problem to someone who can help, and I'm hoping you are that person. We feel so bad every time we go through this. I suppose she's lucky to have us though because we're pretty sure, had she stayed in the shelter and her eye didn't improve, she would have been put down - and the mere thought of that breaks my heart, because she really is a lively, wonderful kitten. While we are afraid she may lose an eye, or her sight, we are confident she will be adopted out simply because she is thriving.

I've attached a photo of the worst eye (right). I'm sorry it's not of the best quality; If you could please look at it and give a quick opinion of whether or not to give the Tetramyacin another few days, or to take her back - I'd greatly appreciate it.


Worried and Wringing our hands in Conshohocken:

Jennifer Layton & Samantha Martin


She has a herpes virus and needed a very specific aggressive treatment from the start. You need very specific medication orally and in her eyes and you need it right away if there is any hope of saving one or both of her eyes. I'm sending a direct email to your email address right now to advise you how to get the proper treatment for her. If for some reason, you don't get an email, write back here quickly.

Dr. Neely

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