What is Droopy Eye?
If your cat has signs of droopy eye, schedule an appointment with a veterinarian (vet). After determining the underlying source, he will start care or recommend a specialist. Before the visit, prepare to answer questions about your pet's medical history.
Felines with a sagging eye, protruding eyelid or a constricted pupil often have droopy eye, also known as Horner's syndrome. Origins of this malady vary. They range from brain damage to inner ear infections. As a consequence, treatment isn't always simple.
Symptoms of Droopy Eye in Cats
Symptoms of droopy eye in cats manifest in their outward appearance. One or both of their eyes look abnormal. They also may have inflammation around the ears. Below are the usual signs:
- Sagging of the upper eyelid
- Miosis, or contraction of the eye pupil
- Elevated inner eyelid above the cornea
- Sunken eyes or eye sockets
Cats with symptoms of droopy eye need immediate care. Don't wait to take yours to a vet. Since the onset may be linked to a serious ailment, at times, early detection is vital to a full recovery.
Causes of Droopy Eye in Cats
Causes of droopy eye in cats differ. Discovering the underlying source for this malady is a vet’s first job. It's also the hardest, because no cat is immune. Also, almost half of the reported cases arise spontaneously for no obvious reason. Below are common triggers.
- Spinal cord lesions near the eye nerves affecting their ability to function well or at all.
- Brain injury (tumor or trauma) impacting neurons. As a result, signals related to eye movement or positioning fail.
- Ear or eye infections spurring on a build up of substance, displacing eye mechanisms. Eyelids and sockets inflame, causing them to enlarge.
- Idiopathic cases in which a vet finds no source or cause for droopy eye.
Diagnosis of Droopy Eye in Cats
Pinpointing whether a cat has droopy eye isn't hard. Its presence is visual to any onlooker. Yet, detecting the underlying cause remains a challenge for vets. So, diagnosing droopy eye involves a few steps.
- Divulging your cat's medical history: To find a root cause, the vet will ask you for a complete history of your cat's health and events leading up to droopy eye.
- Completion of a blood profile: To isolate any infection or disease in your cat's body, the vet will order a series of blood tests. They display the number of red blood cells in your system along with abnormalities.
- Sampling of urine (or urinalysis): The vet tests your cat's urine for illnesses affecting his pH levels, proteins and kidney.
- Performance of a radiography: This imaging technique uses electromagnetic radiation to examine the brain and spinal cord lesions.
- Ordering of a computed tomography (CT-scan): This imaging technique uses radiation to spot cancer in bones, lungs and chest cavities
- Request of a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): This imaging technique does not use radiation, but detects tumors and lesions on the brain and spinal cord.
- Collection of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF): With a long needle, the vet draws CSF from the spine and later analyzes this liquid for disease.
Treatment of Droopy Eye in Cats
No treatment exists for droopy eye. Vets focus care on the origins of this malady. If remedied, the corresponding symptoms heal without intervention.
- Surgery of the spine or brain involves the removal or repair of a growth or injury. This method is invasive. You must admit your cat into an animal hospital. His stay can last up to a week and recovery after surgery takes around three months.
- Steroids administered through injection alter hormones reducing inflammation of tissue. They are useful in treating tumors and other growths on the spine. In mild cases, recovery for cats is 4 to 6 weeks.
- Antibiotics prescribed as ointments or pills to fight bacteria. A vet offers this as treatment for infections. Recovery starts after two days. Side effects are rashes, lethargy, and vomiting.
- No treatment. Cats with irreversible spine or brain injuries receive no care. Instead, the vet offers lifestyle tips to help manage droopy eye. They involve keeping the affected eye clean and watching for any changes.
Recovery of Droopy Eye in Cats
Regardless of treatment, cats with droopy eye have follow-up visits. A vet will check for changes to the eye. Since the origins of droopy eye vary, he needs to see if his diagnosis and treatment lead to recovery. If not, your cat may undergo more testing and care. Depending on the situation, full recovery may involve trial and error over an extensive period of time.