My cat's gone blind!

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janew

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Gis, our 21 year old cat, had blood coming out of his eye yesterday and went almost instantly blind. We took him to the vets last night and were told he had excessively high blood pressure which had caused his retinas to detach. Unfortunately there was nothing we could have done to stop this happening and he's unlikely to regain his sight.

Poor Gis, his back legs are riddled with arthritis and now he's gone blind. The vet has confirmed that his raised blood pressure is more than likely a secondary illness of either kidney failure or thyroid problems, although given his age it is more likely to be his kidneys. He's had blood tests done and we're now anxiously awaiting the results.

Bless him, we brought him home last night and he lay on his cushion purring his little head off. He seems absolutely fine in himself, just a bit slow and confused but he's finding his way around ok.

Its a real dilemma for us - we don't want to let him go, but on the other hand we don't want him to spend his last days suffering. The vet said he's ok at the moment and that he'll adapt to being blind, and confirmed he doesn't seem to be suffering at the moment either.

We don't have children, Gis (and the guineas) are our family and we really want what's best for him.

I've got this horrible nervous feeling as the vet is due to call this afternoon - I just want to know exactly what the underlying problem is so we know what we're dealing with.

Hopefully he's got a chance - fingers crossed.
 

lovelygirl

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Hi Janew my childhood ***** cat abby had the same thing happen too high blood pressure and she was put on tablets and lived at further 18 months, she had partial sight and when she got lost she would circle lots until she worked out where she was! please don't give up hope yet! I know how precious furbabies are!
 

Midge&Panda

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A few years ago I inherited my nans cat- she had to go into a nursing home. Marmaduke was quite elderly when we got him but a couple of weeks into having him I noticed his pupils were constantly dilated. a visit to the vets confirmed he was blind and it was due to high blood pressure/ heart problems.. He wasnt given medication the vet said there was no need. He lived a further 8 mths with me, I like to think quite happily, he always had plenty of food lots of cuddles and a warm place to sleep (airing cupboard). Even when he lost his sight he would wait on the doorstep until I came back from work. He managed to find his way around the house quite easily after a week or so. Just a word of advise before he gets his bearings sorted out completely please cover any sharp edges you might have e.g. door edges/ table legs just incase Gis walks into them. fingers crossed for Gis. x
 

janew

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Thanks guys.

The vet has just called. His kidneys are absolutely fine and showing no signs of failure, the problem is his thyroid. The vet's going to prescribe some tablets which he will be on for the rest of his life, but he's otherwise ok. I'm going to get the tablets later and he's got a follow up appointment for next week just for a check up. Looks like he's staying with us!

I've got to say, for a 21 year old cat I think he's amazing!

Thanks for your support xx
 

Vanilla

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That's good news :) Keep us up-to-date! :)
 

janew

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Well, Gis seems a lot more with it tonight. He's walking round with more confidence and has been using his cat flap (the garden is enclosed so he can't go anywhere). He jumped on and off the bed, and has been going up and down the stairs on his own. Looks like he's adapting really well to his lack of site, although i'm not convinced he's totally blind as he seems to respond to movement (which he wasn't doing last night). At least he's still with us which is the main thing.

Thanks guys x
 

Sue G

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A year or so back a stray cat was handed in to our vets, who quickly realised (a) she was blind (b) she had major thyroid problems (which had been neglected), and (c) she was at least 15.

They operated on her thyroid (I think removing either all or part of it), and reckoned she'd gone blind in a matter of moments, rather like your cat - our vet described it like she'd been walking along and suddenly someone switched the lights off.

She recuperated at the vets after the surgery, and then he asked if we could adopt her, as despite numerous searches, nobody had come forward to claim her.

She was amazing, considering she came into a strange house, with unknown people. Our other cat ignored her, but little Belinda (our vet named her, because you can make the word "blind" out of the word Belinda) soon found her way around. I'd put bed food and litter tray all conveniently in the living room for her, and she found and used them all - but she still found her way out to where out other cat's litter tray was kept, and used that too. We did block off the stairs, as we thought that might be too dangerous, but more than once we found she'd wriggled through the barricade and gone upstairs.

Sadly we only had her a few weeks, as she evidently had other health issues too and eventually had a stroke, but we were just glad that the end of her life was spent warmly, happily, well fed, with us.

So, I think if your Gis is being monitored by your vet, and loved by you, he can have very good quality of life for however long he has. Please keep us posted.
 

Vanilla

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How's Gis getting on? :) I hope he's doing well.
 

janew

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Vanilla - that's spooky you've asked that today as we've been back to the vet tonight for a follow up.

Gis is doing brilliantly :)) - his BP has come right down to normal and he's back to his normal self. Even more brilliant is the fact that he's regained some of his eyesight. His sight will obviously never be as good as it was before, but at least he's got some back (we were told it was unlikely to return at all). He's still confined to the house and back garden, if he manages to get anywhere else then it proves that his sight is good enough for him to do that, as to get out of the garden he's got to negotiate the fence.

We've got to take him back in 2 weeks for repeat blood tests to check his thyroid levels. If the results show its under control then he can come off the BP tablets as these are treating the secondary condition. He'll have to stay on the thyroid tablets for the rest of his life, but I'm just glad that he's ok and his thyroid condition isn't life threatening now its been identified and is being treated.

I still can't believe the vet said his kidney function is completely normal. To think a week ago we were thinking of having him put to sleep to save him the agony of kidney failure, and I'm so grateful to the vet for pursuading us to have the blood tests done (even though he thought it was kidney failure as well).

So, it looks like Gis will be with us for a good while longer and I couldn't be more thrilled. My hubby's joked for years that Gis is immortal as he's so good for his age, and I'm beginning to think he's right!

Jane x

Gis21.jpg
 

Teejay

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Awww, poor Gis, but it sounds like he's coping really well! Glad it turned out to be something treatable. He sounds like an amazing old fella and he looks gorgeous!

Tracey
 

halfpenny

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Sorry to put in a word of caution, but when his thyroid levels returns as normal, and only when they are normal, get his kindey checked again. Hyperthyroidism can mask ( and it causes) kidney failure. I have had this happen quite a few times with my hyperthyroid cats. Kidney failure in not however a death sentence, our 19 1/2 year old cat had another 18-20 months with the proper treatment, so we lost her when she was over 21, admittedly due to her kidneys failing but because we were aware of her condition she didn't reach the stage where she was suffering.
I hope it doesn't happen, but if it does your cat can be fed a renal diet, depending on the stage of kidney deterioration- benazacare and you can also give rubenal which reduces the fibrosis of the kidneys.
I have had many cats who were hyperthyroid, we have 4 at the moment, but they can have a good quality live as long as their levels are monitored regularly.
 

janew

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Thanks for the word of caution, I'd already started to think about this. The vet is re-doing the blood tests (for thyroid and kidneys) in a couple of weeks, and I would hope the vet would need to run regular tests to keep a check on things. I intend to discuss long term care/monitoring when we go back in a couple of weeks.

Thanks for the advice x
 

Vanilla

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Great to hear he's doing well :). He's a handsome boy too x)
 

Sue G

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This is fantastic news (and what a simply lovely boy he is).

My tiny reservation is that although he has some of his eyesight back, it won't be like it was before - and although he's fine in the house and garden, if he should manage to get out of the garden, he may not be able to easily find his way back. Just a thought to hold on to.

But I'm delighted you've had such a positive report from the vet.
 
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