Damage to cat's eye: emergency?
August 19, 2006 2:05 PM   Subscribe

Vet emergency? This morning I noticed that my cat was squinting one of his eyes a little bit, but just a little bit. I thought maybe he accidently got hit in the eye, either by the other cat or something else. I was gone most of the afternoon but now that I'm back it is definitely worse. His eye is mostly closed now and the second eyelid is visible (so it looks white) in the corner (by the nose). Also, it's a little bit wet on the fur on the upper part of his eye and it looks a little runny in the corner. I'd try to take a picture but the eye is mostly closed and I'm not quick enough before he shuts it again. Is this something that might be worth it to go to the emergency vet? Any idea how much a trip like that might cost?
posted by unsigned to Pets & Animals (12 answers total)
Since it's his eye, I would take him to the emergency clinic if he were my cat. Odds are very good that he's just got something in it, has a scratch on his cornea or has an infection starting up (all of which can usually be treated fairly easily with various eye drops), but when it comes to potential damage to vitally important sensory organs, I always choose to be safe rather than risk being sorry. As to how much it costs, it really depends where you are, walking into an emergency clinic can cost upwards of $100 just for the examination (I would definitely call your vet's office first, many vets take emergency calls whenever possible, and even taking an emergency fee into account, you'll probably find it less expensive and better for your cat to have his own vet see him if at all possible). Good luck.
posted by biscotti at 2:16 PM on August 19, 2006

Giving a big ole "me, too," to biscotti's response.
posted by Medieval Maven at 2:34 PM on August 19, 2006

My vet told me that Polysporin eye drops are safe to use on cats, and they did work on my cat when she had a minor eye injury/infection once. But I tend to agree, best to see the vet just in case.
posted by zadcat at 2:55 PM on August 19, 2006

A couple weeks ago, my cat was vomitting severely and I didn't know what to do. It was a Sunday so I decided to go to the emergency vet, against the advice of most everyone I knew. This turned out to be the best thing I could have done because they gave her fluids and such that without, she would never have made it through the resulting surgery the next day.

Just to walk in the door to my clinic cost $89.00. By the time she had fluids, meds and all kinds of stuff, it was about 165. We were there for 3+ hours. It was all worth it, though. Your results may vary.

Good luck!
posted by bristolcat at 3:12 PM on August 19, 2006

Try googling "cat conjunctivitis herpes" and if you want add on squinting and runny-- think you will find most of the information reassuring--it seems to me all of our cats have had those symptoms at some time and rsponded readily to treatment--except one cat which required surgery because of an abnormally small tear duct--this was not an emergency. As an animal lover (dogs preferred) I do understand your anxiety. Good Luck
posted by rmhsinc at 3:34 PM on August 19, 2006

Last year, our cat had very similar symptoms....but the progression from squinting to closed (with nictating membrane showing) was over a period of weeks.

By the time I got her to a veterinary opthamologist (yes, vets can specialize just like human MD's) he was recommending a $1500-$2000 surgery, and even then he couldn't guarantee that she wouldn't lose her eye.

I don't want to scare you, but it definitely sounds worth it to get antibiotics to take care of it as soon as possible....also, your cat is closing the eye because it hurts! They just don't cry like humans do, but your cat is suffering.

I took her to the opthamologist on a Friday, and after 3 days on antibiotics (2 different kinds, each given 4 times a day), he said she'd improved a lot, so much so that she didn't even need the surgery.

Please don't even mess with giving Polysporin, just go to the vet.

And so, 1.5 years later, her eye is fine (and she didn't need the surgery - or glasses).

So, please, take the cat to the vet! It'll be worth it.
posted by Pocahontas at 3:52 PM on August 19, 2006

The thing about cats is that if something is wrong with them it gets bad fast. For every day you delay taking them to the vet, the cost of treating the problem doubles.

Our two cats have never solved anything more than a scratch by themselves. To the vet with you.
posted by krisjohn at 4:15 PM on August 19, 2006

I have two cats and a couple of years ago Charlie scratched Shadow's eyeball(he had it coming). I noticed the injury because he was walking around with the one eye closed, lots of tears and he did not want me to touch it. It was the weekend and I had to take him to the emergency vet. They put some green dye in Shadow's eye and then we could see a big hole in the outer membrane of the eye. The good news was that it would likely heal on its own. They gave me some artificial tears to help keep it moist and some kind of antibiotic. He hated getting drops put in his eye but in the end Shadow's eye healed quite well.

The vet did say that without treament of this kind the chances of the eye healing on its own were not so good.

Emergency Vet: $120 CDN
Shadow's Eye: Priceless
posted by shoesfullofdust at 4:17 PM on August 19, 2006

Thanks everyone, we just got back and it was nothing major, but I'm glad we went. They dyed it and said they didn't see any scratches but that it was irritated/inflamed. They said possibly that it could get worse later on, but I think we'll be okay. They gave us an ointment that should do the trick. I think he's happier already =]

But yeah, better safe than sorry.
posted by unsigned at 4:23 PM on August 19, 2006

I'm glad that he'll be ok!
posted by bristolcat at 4:44 PM on August 19, 2006

Mayor Curley's just mad because nobody cared when his third eyelid was all inflamed and his eyes got all goopy (after all, the AskMetafilter Mayor Curley Panic Brigade only has one member).

Glad the cat's eye is okay, and glad you took care of it.
posted by biscotti at 5:47 PM on August 19, 2006

take the cat to the vet.

My parents have a cat that had to have its eye removed (one of the other cats scratched it) and the vet said that if the surgery were not done the cat could die (something about the brain, I forget what.)
posted by konolia at 7:06 PM on August 19, 2006

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