The Collar Is Back


In October last year, Grumpy had eye surgery to try and fix an eye ulcer which had developed.

Since then it has been one step forward, two steps back, probably quite boring to tell the story to you but here goes anyway.. Grumpy initially had some entropion, a condition where the eyelid rolls inwards, so that the fur is sitting against the eyeball. The vet was convinced that this was caused by squinting due to pain from the ulcer, and once we fixed the ulcer the entropion would clear up..

We non-vets had some suspicion that the entropion might have appeared before the ulcer, that it might have caused the ulcer, and that this might have been caused by her previous problem with Horners Syndrome. The problem happened to be the eye on the same side where she’d had Horners Syndrome.

Grumpy as a kitten, July 2005

Either way it seemed a bit like the chicken or the egg, which came first? We would never know, and discussion on the topic seemed a bit pointless, the vet very forceful in their opinion it must be caused by the ulcer and not willing to entertain other possibilities.. which was a bit frustrating. We figured it was best to focus on getting the ulcer problem solved.

Over the next several months, there was surgery, then eyedrops, tablets, capsules, creams, a dye put in the eye and checked with a blacklight to assess the extent of the ulcer, plus a seemingly never ending round of vet consultations which were very stressful for Grumpy. The minute we would put Grumpy in the carrier she would shake like she was terrified. Any progress we made seemed undone at the next visit. We left longer and longer between the visits, and noticed an improvement on one visit, then a decline on the next visit.

When our vet was not there one day, we saw another vet who prescribed a new MAGIC cream which we found to be work a treat. The entropion was solved almost instantly. We talked with that vet about possible surgery to fix the entropion. He felt that was some distance in the future, and hoped the cream would do the trick. However, on our next visit we discovered MAGIC cream had made the ulcer worse and we had to stop using it.

Grumpy as a kitten, July 2005

After a while, the major thing we all agreed on was that we needed to stop taking Grumpy to the vet to check on the ulcer because each time we did, the ulcer would flare up. The vet felt this was stress related, and given how much Grumpy would stress over those vet visits, we agreed to try this, plus some new medication. We have a blacklight at home, the vet supplied us with the dye, and though it took a lot of time, we did manage to eventually heal the ulcer completely at home.

This did not heal the entropion, though. That actually seemed to become worse. We still had the MAGIC cream which seemed to fix the entropion earlier on in this process, and we were using that every few days and checking to make sure the ulcer did not return. The ulcer did not return, but the entropion was not fixed by it, either.

Feeling discouraged, I arranged for our vet to do a home visit where we intended to seriously discuss the surgery option. We felt that we could not allow this eyelid to keep folding in forever. On arrival, our vet again seemed convinced there would be an ulcer causing the entropion. The dye test proved this theory wrong, and the vet then had to open their mind to other possibilities that might be causing the problem.

Grumpy as a kitten, July 2005

FINALLY we could consider other possibilities! The vet wanted to consult an cat ophthalmologist and get back to us. A week later we got the call, asking us to bring Grumpy in for blood tests in an attempt to eliminate every possible possibility before going down the surgery road. We talked about giving her anesthesia right away to make things less stressful.

The plan was, no food from midnight the night before, take away water at 6am, we would call when on our way, on arrival I would go in to let them know we had arrived, Grumpy would go straight in for the gas, they would take the bloods, we would take her home right away, and she would recover there. Great plan, I felt.

When we got there, the vet wanted to try taking the blood without the gas. I should have said no, we made a plan to try and reduce stress, lets stick to the plan. Big mistake Snoskred! The only person that can hold her is The Other Half, so he agreed to try this new plan. After 10 minutes of clipping fur, then failing to draw the bloods plus much stress, the vet finally decided to give Grumpy the gas. I was kicking myself for not saying no to this last minute change of plan.

Grumpy as a kitten, July 2005

The bloods went off to be tested, 10 days later everything came back negative, and the surgery was planned. We had to take her in the night before so she could be put on a drip and fully hydrated due to her previous kidney issues. Again we planned no food from X time, no water from X time, put her under to put the drip in, and this time I planned to say NO if anyone tried to change the plan. Luckily that did not happen, the drip was successfully put in and she was settled in for her overnight stay with plenty of items from home.

Surgery went well, just before she was sent home they gave her a painkiller which was safe to use with her kidney issues. I wish I had asked more questions about what the painkiller was and possible side effects, but at this point we were just glad to be taking her home.

On arrival home, this was not the cat we knew at all. She placed herself on guard at the door, and pretty much stayed there for the next 30!! hours, only leaving to eat, drink and bathroom. She was on high alert. Any little movement, she was tracking it. She seemed to be in no pain whatsoever, in fact she never showed any signs that she knew she’d had surgery, there was no attempt on her part to access that eye area.

Grumpy as a teenage cat, September 2005

When I did some research on the drug they had given her, mania was a side effect. When the vet called to check in, I described what was happening and it was quite common and normal in cats who were given this medication.

On the one hand, this side effect was way better than her usual post surgery behaviour, which was being totally obsessed with getting the soft collar off. On the other hand, we were worried that she was not getting any rest at all. Finally after 2 days of crazy, she got some sleep and returned to her normal self.

She goes back to the vet later this week for a quick check up. We are hoping the soft collar can be removed after that. The amount of times we have been woken by Grumpy scratching at it cannot be counted with our human numbers. ;)

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5 thoughts on “The Collar Is Back

  1. Poor kitty! Hopefully everything goes well from here on out. Cat health issues are so hard because they can’t tell us what is wrong and there’s no way to know what’s wrong without a bunch of expensive blood work and testing.

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