Last week Lloyd and I were playing with the kittens and I noticed that Sarge had something in his eye. My own eyes have trouble focusing on things close up (because my doctor won’t give me bifocals), so I asked Lloyd to check Sarge as I held him up.
Lauren: Look in his left eye.
Lloyd (looking at Sarge’s right eye): It looks fine.
Lauren: His LEFT eye.
Lloyd: Looks fine to me.
Lauren: HIS left eye.
Lloyd: What are you so paranoid about? He’s fine.
Once we had a lesson about right and left (which I will not mock because east and west are very troublesome to me), I tried to get the stringy stuff out of his eye. (His LEFT eye.) He got all squinty, so I gave up.
A couple of days ago, I noticed the lines were still there, so I tried getting a wet twisted tissue to see if I could get the hairs. Again, squinty cat would have none of it. Now I was worried – since I couldn’t really get a good look at it – that he had a torn cornea from all the kitten battles. I made an appointment at the vet.
Dr. Jay was fearless, and initially comforting. “Yep, there’s just some foreign matter in there.” He opened Sarge’s eye and started to pull the hairs out. An intern/observer was there, and was watching intently. After a while Dr. Jay said, “Hmmmm. This might be a problem.” He squirted some numbing drops in Sarge’s eye and worked on it some more. It was very quiet in the room. He said that Sarge might have an ectopic eyelash follicle – eyelashes growing where they shouldn’t. Squinty was still getting the better of him, so he recommended that they sedate him and they could find out quickly.
They knocked him out.
Dr. Jay checked.
It’s distichia. From the pamphlet: “Abnormally placed eyelashes that occur commonly in dogs and rarely in cats. Distichia arise from the eyelid margin, instead of it’s edge, and are directed toward the occular surface.”
But wait! While rare in cats, Sarge has gone the extra mile in rarity. He has hair follicles on his eyeball!! It’s back on the white part (they found it when they sedated him). Isn’t that both gross and slightly cool? (More on the gross side.)
So, for now he just plucked all the (very fine) hairs off his eyeball. When Sarge is older and he’s neutered, they will try to remove that little follicle. They are going to wait because right now his eyeball is smaller than a Skittle and it would be pretty dangerous.
The sedation made him both woozy and crazy when he got home. I only had a little bit of time before I had home visits, and it was so sad trying to comfort him. He’d crash into everything and run. I isolated him and he got even wackier. So I put him back in with the others and put some food in thinking that would help.
It did not help. It was like watching a drunk crash into an all-you-can-eat buffet.
Poor Sarge. Maybe he’ll be a pirate.