Alex and I visited the veterinary ophthalmologist today. We’re fortunate in that the animal hospital where he gets his regular veterinary checkups is just up the block, so I normally can take him over there, on foot, in his carrier. The appointment today, though, was in Alexandria, about a twenty-minute drive. Alex hates–truly, madly, deeply hates–the car, but he was pretty good on the ride there. He did meow a lot, but he didn’t scrabble against the metal bars or plastic sides of the carrier like he did the last time I tried to drive with him; that time I got so worried that he was going to hurt himself badly that I had to turn around and bring him home.
He also was really good in the waiting room, and initially during the examination. After a while, though, he got very fed up, and started hissing and spitting at the doctor and her assistant. After an initial examination, the doctor decided she needed to dilate his eyes, so she put the drops in and sent us back out to the waiting room for fifteen minutes. He was starting to get very antsy at that point, and was starting to cry and scrabble a bit. Oddly, two people with dogs came in at that point–well, it wasn’t odd that people would bring dogs to a vet’s office, of course, but odd in the way that Alex reacted, as he calmed right down, making no noise and just curling up in the carrier and watching them very carefully. Normally he would hiss at dogs, but he probably felt very insecure and just wanted to try to hide.
In the post-dilation examination, he was a very unhappy camper, indeed. The doctor did manage to check the pressure of his eyes for glaucoma, but he didn’t make it easy, and he let out one hideous yowl, the likes of which I’ve only heard him make once before, at his regular vet’s two weeks ago when they shaved his neck to check a bump there–he hates being restrained, especially by the neck.
The ride home was very rough; he cried the entire time, and started his wild scrabbling against the sides of the carrier. I kept talking to him and trying to reassure him, but by the time we got home, he was panting heavily and even gasping a little–I end up worrying that I do perhaps as much harm to him, in terms of his stress levels, by even taking him to the vet as he might be suffering otherwise.
Unfortunately, the ophthalmologist is stumped, and she says that it’s an unusual presentation. While the ocular pressure is higher in the affected eye than the other, she doesn’t believe that it’s glaucoma; significantly, and more positive, she does believe that he still has sight in the affected eye, something Alex’s regular vet thought was likely not the case. She believes that possibly his lens has become luxated and is adhering to the iris, or that there’s some neurological damage to the right eye that is keeping the pupil from fully dilating or constricting (she was able to fully dilate one side of the right eye but only partially dilate the side of that eye that seems affected, using drops); another possibility is a tumor. She wants to just continue to observe him for now, and to have his regular vet screen him for hypertension, since the blood that appeared in his eye two weeks ago–and which had drained by the following week–sometimes is indicative, in cats, of high blood pressure. So we’ll see her again in a month, unless there are any changes in the meantime, and we’ll go back to his regular vet to have the blood pressure checked and to take care of the lump on his rump.