The Eye Ulcer Is Back!

Since just before Christmas, Cindy has been rather snuffly.  It was most noticeable when she was eating as she sounded like she was snorting.  David and I originally put this down to her having a cold as we had heard her sneezing occasionally.  However, we are now into January and the snuffles don’t seem to have gotten any better so on Wednesday afternoon, we decided that we would make an appointment with the vets just to get it checked out.  The plan was that I would call Raj on Thursday morning and see if he could see her the same day.

However, by early evening, I noticed that Cindy wasn’t behaving like her usual self.  When I checked in on her, she was sat on the floor in the middle of my study and her right eye didn’t look right – it was half closed as if she was suffering from an ulcer.  I immediately rang the vets and asked if I could bring her in that evening and they said yes, so with David’s help, we got Cindy into her basket and off we went.

Upon arrival, we were seen by Amy as Raj has Wednesdays off.  I explained about the snuffles and snorting and asked whether perhaps this could be affecting her eye.  Amy used her stethescope to listen to Cindy’s breathing for a good few minutes before ruling out liquid in her windpipe or nasal passage.  Her nose was clear as were her ears.  She did however, have a bit of a temperature – 39.5 to be precise.  To be on the safe side, Amy prescribed Synulox to prevent any type of infection occurring.   She warned me that Cindy might get a bit “foamy” with the drug but it was nothing to worry about.  Then she put some dye in both Cindy’s eyes to see what was going on….

We were unlucky.  Cindy had a large eye ulcer on her right eye – it was in the early stages but it was still quite big.  Rather than prescribing the usual Ciloxan, Amy wanted to try Cindy on Fucithalmic.  She explained that Ciloxan was the most powerful eyedrops and she didn’t want Cindy to build up a resistance to it hence wanting to prescribe Fucithalmic, which was the drops that she normally prescribed for eye ulcers.  Unlike the Ciloxan which was like traditional eyedrops, this new stuff was part liquid and part cream so came out looking like gloop.

She gave Cindy a shot of antibiotics and some drops before we left.  I think Amy might have been a bit clumsy in administering the antibiotics because Cindy yelped as the needle went in – something she has never done before.  Amy also put a smart collar on Cindy to prevent her from rubbing her eye – something she did as soon as the drops went in.  We were told to come back for a check up on Sunday where Raj would perform some tests on her eyes to see why the ulcers were coming back so frequently.

On our way home, Cindy was extremely quiet.  As I parked my car, David took the basket upstairs and let her out.  Like all cats, she did not like wearing the collar at all.  She was extremely wary around us and walked with her head down, swinging it from side to side as if to work out where she was going.  She eventually made her way upstairs and into the igloo where she remained for the rest of the evening.  David and I checked on her regularly but it was clear that she was very unhappy.  I handfed her some tuna which she ate with some difficulty on account of the collar.  Drinking water was the same.  Cindy was clearly thirsty as she kept licking her lips but she wouldn’t drink much.  Before we went to bed, I took up a bowl of dry food and and a bowl of water for her.  I left the food under the igloo and the water just at the entrance of my bathroom so she wouldn’t have to go far if she needed something to eat or drink.

Cindy posing like a model

Much to our surprise and pleasure, Cindy decided that she didn’t want to stay in the igloo all night and came into the bedroom, not long after we had retired.  She spent about an hour under the bed before jumping on top to settle down on my legs.  She didn’t look especially comfortable but we think it’s because she felt vulnerable with the collar on and so was positioning herself in such a way so that she could look out of the room – just in case.

I didn’t sleep especially well as I was worried about Cindy but everytime I woke up, there she was on the bed.  When it was time to get up properly and to administer her meds, Cindy was gone.  Typical!  Upon investigation, I found her under the spare bed, with absolutely no chance of getting to her or getting her out.  David had to leave to get to work so I left her alone in the hope that she would come out of her own accord.  She did so eventually around 11am but went straight into the igloo.  My attempts to get her to eat anything was not especially successful – she ate a few treats and then turned her face away from me.  I could hear her licking her lips so offered her some water but again, she refused.

By 1pm, I was getting very worried.  She had barely eaten or drunk and to my knowledge, she had not been to toilet since she got home the night before.  I took the collar off, telling myself that we could put it back on when it was time to give her her medication.  Cindy was a completely different cat with the collar off.  The first thing she did was to give herself a vigorous clean all over – this took about 10 minutes or so.  Next, she went over to the water bowl and had a good long drink.  Seeing the amount of water she drank and the subsequent amount of food she ate, I knew I had made the right decision in removing the collar.  For the rest of the day, Cindy was her normal self, running around and howling at everything.

When David got home, we collared her again to make it easier on ourselves in administering her meds.  Cindy took the meds with grace but was clearly upset about being collared again.  As soon as we let go of her, she jumped down from her tree and went into a crouch just outside our bedroom door, all wary again.  We resolved to leave the collar on for a couple of hours to give the eyedrops a chance to work.  When I eventually went looking for her to remove the collar, I found Cindy hiding under the spare bed looking sad.  As soon as she realised that I was trying to remove the collar, she came closer to make it easier for me to do so.  Collar off, she was her old happy self again and went wandering off for an explore.

Administering the meds on Friday morning was surprisingly easy.  I caught Cindy as she was wandering in the kitchen.  Rather than stress her out by looking for the collar and putting it on her, I held her tightly to me as David gave her first the Synulox and then her eye drops.  She wasn’t best pleased at being medicated but at least she didn’t run away or hide.

For some reason, we forgot to give Cindy more meds until Saturday evening.  The original plan was to collar her but it was as if she knew it was time for her medicine as she made it extremely difficult for us to catch her.  In the end, I tricked her onto the bed with her favourite Dreamies treat.  We got Cindy onto the bed ok but she struggled as David tried to give her the Synulox and eyedrops.  With hindsight, we should have put the collar on her first as this would have helped calm her down.  As it was, we didn’t, and the moment we let her go, Cindy started to foam at the mouth and ran away to hide under the spare bed again.

Although Amy had warned me that Cindy might get “foamy”, it was quite a frightening experience seeing Cindy foaming at the mouth and struggling to breathe and spit out the foam at the same time.  She ran out from under the bed as soon as I went to look under and took refuge in her igloo.  This worked for me as it made it easier for me to get to her and help her through the foaming.  I went through loads of tissues wiping the foam from her mouth – it looked like she had a pair of white shoestrings hanging from her mouth.  I tried to offer her water, but she didn’t want it.  All I could do was sit outside the igloo, watch her foam and wipe it off when she allowed me to.  It seemed like an age but was probably only a few minutes before Cindy stopped foaming.  I gave her a few Dreamies to ensure that the Synulox wouldn’t work on an empty stomach and she ate these enthusiastically.  Once I was sure that she was back to normal, I left her alone.  Cindy came out of the igloo and promptly jumped onto my study windowsill, howling at me as she went past.  She seemed perfectly normal but I was still worried, mainly because the foaming had frightened me, even though I had been warned that this might happen.  I fed her a few more Dreamies on the window sill and left her to it.

This morning, after we eventually caught Cindy (I think she is becoming suspicious whenever she sees David and I standing together), I took her back for her checkup and tests.  Her eye was completely clear so Raj said we would have to wait until she got another ulcer before they could perform the tests.  He believes that the eye cleared up so quickly because we caught the ulcer early this time.  As for the tests, basically, they wanted to take cultures and send them off to find out what could be causing them.  I have my suspicions on the cause but more on that later…  With her eyes clear, Raj took her temperature and checked her breathing.  Both were normal but he told me to continue administering the medication until the 7 days were up, just to be sure.  I asked if he could help me with the eyedrops and synulox as I had been instructed not to medicate her until after we had been to the vets so that the drugs would not interfere with the test results.  There was a reason for my request – I figured that if Cindy started to foam at the mouth again, he would at least be present to help me.  Typically, Cindy didn’t struggle as Raj first gave her the drops and then the Synulox.  Thankfully, she didn’t foam again.  Raj explained that if we gave her the drug slowly in drops, it would help.  He also suggested that we use the pipette rather than the syringe.

So for now, Cindy has a clean bill of health again (apart from the fact that she is still a bit snuffly).  As to my theory on her eye ulcers – the first time she had one of these was back in September 2009.  It was almost a year before she got her second one and then she had two in quick succession.  I think that when we are playing with string, when Cindy pulls the string away from me, it sometimes comes into contact with her face and possibly, her eye, so for now, I have put the string away and we will have to find other toys to play with.  I’m really hoping that my theory is correct as it would be nice for both us and Cindy to not have to worry about painful eye ulcers for a very long time to come.

Cindy extreme close-up

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