Corneal Ulcers Average Cost

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Average Cost

$1,000

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What are Corneal Ulcers?

Corneal ulcers are quite a common occurrence in cats. However, if it goes unchecked, it could lead to much discomfort and total loss of vision.

If it wasn’t for the cornea, it would be a dark world for your cat. One of its most important functions is supporting vision by allowing light to pass through it into the eye so that your cat can enjoy the beauty of sight as much as you do. It also protects the inner parts of the eye from harmful elements such as bacteria and any other foreign objects including chemicals by the simple virtue of being the eye’s outer layer. Corneal ulcers occur when the outermost part of the cornea is broken.

Symptoms of Corneal Ulcers in Cats

Corneal ulcers are quite painful. It is, therefore, not too hard to notice when they descend on your feline pet. When your cat shows the following signs, it’s time to see a vet:

  • Squinting and sensitivity to bright light
  • Discharge from the affected eye
  • Reddening of the eye due to inflammation
  • Clouded cornea
  • Rubbing and pawing at the affected eye
  • General signs of problems with the cat’s vision

Types

Remember, the cornea is made up of four layers. While the epithelium is the outermost part and protects the inner layers from permeation by water and harmful elements, the second layer is the basement membrane which separates the epithelium from the third one—the stroma. The innermost layer is the endothelium. Classified into various groups, the type of corneal ulcers is determined by the affected part of the cornea.

  • Superficial ulcers affect only the epithelium.
  • Deep ulcers go past the epithelium into the stroma.
  • Descemetoceles go deeper into the endothelium, which is also known as the descemet’s membrane, sometimes leading to perforation of the eye.

Causes of Corneal Ulcers in Cats

The appearance of corneal ulcers in your cat could be as a result of any of the countless causes. While the level of harm to the eye could be as damaging as any other, it could be as a result of such a trivial thing as an ingrown eyelash. In most cases, however, the causes are more serious. They include: 

  • Infections by bacteria and virus
  • Exposure to harmful chemicals
  • Dirt under the eyelid
  • Injuries sustained during a fight or play
  • Dry eye
  • Paralysis of the facial nerves

Remember, if your cat is young, it is an easy target for Feline herpesvirus (FHV). The virus may affect your cat for the rest of its life through recurrence. Nevertheless, it does not happen in every case.

Diagnosis of Corneal Ulcers in Cats

If you think your cat is in trouble from corneal ulcers, the best step to take is to have it examined. Usually, the veterinarian will conduct an observation of the affected eye with the help of fluorescein dye. The presence of the condition is confirmed by a greenish color on the affected part of the eye. The coloration is caused by binding of the fluorescein to the ulcerous tissue.

Keep in mind that the descemet’s membrane does not absorb the dye. In case of descemetoceles, therefore, there will be a bulge. If the fluorescein dye is used, the condition will reveal its presence through a green boundary and a dark circle. 

To determine whether the problem is caused by facial nerve paralysis, the function of the facial nerves is analyzed. A Schirmer’s test is necessary in case of dryness of the eyes. It involves the insertion of paper strips into the eyes to determine whether the amount of tears produced are enough to keep the eyes wet.

Treatment of Corneal Ulcers in Cats

One of the main considerations during treatment of corneal ulcers is the seriousness of the condition. Among the most important aims is pain relief, prevention of the spread of fungal or bacterial infection and control of the inflammation. However, different types of the condition require different levels of attention and treatment. The restoration of the eye to its exact former self will depend on the severity of the ulcer and the treatment administered.

Antibiotic Therapy

Antibiotics are usually administered in cases of superficial corneal ulcers. They help reduce the cat’s suffering from pain and halt any contractions of the ciliary muscles as well as protect the affected eye against infections. However, remember that the use of antibiotics including atropine may lower the production of tears and thus negatively affect the healing process. While superficial ulcers normally require a period of not more than a week to heal, cats suffering from the herpes virus will have to be put on medication permanent ly due to recurrence of the condition.

Surgical Therapy

In case your cat has ulcers going deeper past the stromal layer, it may be necessary to take more complicated measures including corneal suturing, corneal transplant, conjunctival flaps and grafts and contact lenses. Apart from providing structural support, surgical therapy is important in repairing of the cornea and restoring its normal functions. Conjunctival flaps, for example, are helpful in instantly supplying blood to the cornea and helping in provision of important requirements for healing.

Keep in mind that the island graft doesn’t initiate a blood supply. Therefore, a way of supplying blood to the cornea should be available for it to be fully effective. In addition, an antibiotic ointment will have to be applied on the eye for a minimum of the first 10 days after surgery, three to four times every day. After two weeks, the flap should have stuck to the cornea.

Recovery of Corneal Ulcers in Cats

Even with superficial ulcers, your cat needs frequent and consistent attention from the veterinarian. Some of them are too stubborn to heal within as short a period as you would expect. In that case, dead tissue needs to be removed to allow the growth of new ones. Since scraping is involved, the cat has to be put under anesthesia. 

Remember, the application of ointments should be frequent. In case of corneal ulcers caused by dryness in the eyes, the cat could be provided with artificial tears. In addition, it should be put under close observation to ensure that it doesn’t paw at the treated eye or put it in harm during feeding. If the eye does not heal after two weeks, it’s time to consider alternative treatment methods.

Corneal Ulcers Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Twinkle
Siamese
20 Years
Serious condition
1 found helpful
Serious condition

Medication Used

tobramycin
cosopt ophthalmic solution
prednisone

I noticed on Friday that my cat (elder) had a really bad eye injury to her left eye. I took her to the vet Saturday morning and was referred to see and Ophthalmologist due to the both eyes looking abnormal. The vet also put her on antibiotics and gave you eye lubricant and eye drops.
On Monday afternoon, I took her to the Ophthalmologist and was told she had an ulcer in her left eye and was given steroids and other eye drops to help with the condition.
However, I don’t not see a change in apperience to the eyes. Especially the left eye. It is still red and looks painful.
She is eating well and drinking plenty of fluids but, is also sleeping a lot.
Should I be worried if I haven’t seen a change in appearance? She has a follow up next week. Thanks.

What is the Dr.’s response?

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Captain
Unknown
3 Months
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Eye Clouding

Medication Used

terramycin

I adopted a kitten (Captain) at 10 weeks old with bilateral eye infection (ulcers possibly due to herpes virus according to the adoption clinic). Both eyes look like they have a thin white layer of tissue covering the entire surface. The adoption clinic stated that Captain had been treated for the eye infection for 8 weeks (starting at 2 weeks old) with various antibiotics. They sent us home with terramycin to use for 2 additional weeks. When we returned after 2 weeks for additional vaccines and eye checkup, the clinician stated that antibiotics are no longer needed and the white cloudy layer will eventually thin out. It's been over a week since we stopped treating with the antibiotic ointment, and Captain doesn't seem to be in pain, with no redness or discharge from the eyes. He's now a little over 3 months old and his eyes are still very sensitive to light. There is still a white layer over each eye, with the left eye worse than the right. I feel that Captain bumps into things because he still can't see well. My question is: how long do I wait to see if the eyes will get better before I take my kitten to the vet to see if other treatment and/or surgery is needed? Can surgery cure the infection rather than continuous treatment with antibiotics? Please advise

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Gray
mixed
5 Years
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Cloudy eye,

Adopted a cat a few weeks ago.. she was part of a hoarding case and considered completely feral.. I had gotten her and a few others as barn cats. I was told they did an exam as best as they could. I was told she was “probably blind in one eye” by the shelter staff, however looking through her paperwork it mentions corneal ulcer. It does not say whether it has been treated or not. I can’t catch her to try to take her to the vet as she is still very scared of people. She is eating and drinking and grooming herself just fine, but how would I go about finding out if she is in pain or not without a vet visit??

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Lilo
mixed short hair
2 Years
Serious condition
-1 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Superficial ulcer on one eye

Medication Used

anti- viral pills and eye drops

Our 2 year old cat had a cold from the Herpes virus. She stopped eating for a week, had to hand feed her, but now she acts normal except she developed a large ulcer on one eye. Antibiotics made it worst. Now on anti-virals, oral and eye drops from Ophthalmologist. The ulcer has gotten a little smaller but won't go away. (oh and she has been wearing a cone for 3 weeks). This whole thing has been going on for 5 weeks. We are tired and frustrated that it won't heal. She is a very small and fragile cat, and we really don't want her to have any surgery if possible. Is it normal for and ulcer not to go away for such a long time.

What is the doctor’s response?

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Leo
Siamese
12 Years
Fair condition
0 found helpful
Fair condition

Has Symptoms

Cloudy eye

I have an outdoor cat that had a corneal ulcer diagnosed 8 weeks ago. We started treatment 2 times/day with an antibiotic ointment. Some of the conguntivious was better, but he was still light sensitive, so I took him to the normal went vet instead of the mobile vet. She prescribed an antibiotic drop. He continues to heal, but is not completely healed. We worked through 3 different cone sizes. At one point he had damaged his eye with rubbing it early on, so we had some back tracking to overcome. Now he has an antibiotic drop 4 times/day followed two times 10 minutes later with Milo (sp) cream. There is continuous improvement, but is very slow. We tried to make an appointment with a specialist, but it is two months out. I personally feel he should be healed before the day of the appointment with the ophthalmologist. My question is , how long can the cornea take to heal? Once healed are there precautions to take?

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Bruce
Domestic Shorthair Tbaby
5 Years
Mild condition
3 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Eye Clouding
Eye Redness
lack of appetite

Cat has a painful corneal ulcer and has shown a lack on interesting in eating, he will eat if I hand feed him, and perks up for treats. Still grooming, using his litter pan and being social with us. Can his pain be the cause of his lack of appetite?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3320 Recommendations
Any sort of pain including ocular pain may result in a loss of appetite, but without examining Bruce I cannot confirm whether this is the case or not; you should think about visiting your Veterinarian to treat the corneal ulcer as well as checking Bruce for symptoms of any other underlying condition which may cause a loss of appetite to be on the safe side. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Tink
moggy
13 Weeks
Fair condition
1 found helpful
Fair condition

Medication Used

none

my kitten had an eye ulcer which has been treated however vet thinks she may have strands of scarring into her iris as third eyelid showing sometimes. What is the risk of me not going to a Beth art optamologist?

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1611 Recommendations
Depending on the cause of the ulcer and possible resulting problems, if your veterinarian has recommended that you have Tink seen by an ophthalmologist, it would be a good idea to do so, if you can. I'm not sure how severe the condition is, but risk of not following up may be the loss of that eye at some point. If you aren't able to see the ophthalmologist, it would be best to let your veterinarian know that, so that they can treat as best as possible, rather than not at all.

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