Vera was just 5 days old when she first came to APA!, and we immediately knew something was wrong with her. Most newborn kittens open their eyes somewhere between 10-12 days; Vera’s eyes were already open. They were also completely scabbed over and her little body, weighing just 100 grams, was incredibly rigid and tense.
We quickly discerned that Vera had a pretty severe case of eyelid agenesis, a congenital birth defect leaving her with no upper eyelids. Essentially, the hairs surrounding her eyes are constantly rubbing on her corneas. Imagine having all of your eyelashes rubbing on your eyes. Constantly. No wonder her little body was so tense!
After a visit to the APA! clinic, it was determined that not only did Vera have eyelid agenesis, she also had a neurological virus called toxoplasmosis. Fortunately, that virus is 100% treatable. After 3 weeks of medication, she was running around like a normal kitten doing kitten things. But her eyes were still in trouble.
Over at our med clinic, rescue pup Kirko stopped by for a check-up. Kirko had been rescued from a euthanasia list, at risk due to a severely fractured leg and housed at a filled animal shelter. After being adopted through APA!, he was back to have his blood drawn. As our veterinarians tested his blood, we discovered his blood type was the same as Vera’s…and our clinic went to work, using his drawn blood to create a serum to sooth Vera’s eyes. The gift from this 2 year old pup has helped our kitten with comfort. But now she needs your help to continue seeing!
Vera’s foster took her to a veterinary opthalmologist, and it was determined that at 4 months of age and with fully developed eyes, Vera would need corrective surgery. The first surgical option is cryotherapy, where the hairs surrounding her eyes are frozen at the follicle and then plucked out. This will hopefully remove all of the offending hairs that are causing the most damage to her corneas. If after 1 month the specialist determines that the surgery was not effective enough to prevent permanent damage, an additional surgery will be required. Blepharoplasty is an actual “eyelid transplant” where a portion of her lip is surgically grafted to create functioning upper eyelids. Without these surgeries, Vera will eventually go blind.
She is one of the sweetest, gentlest kittens you will ever meet. From 5 days old and stiff as a board, she is now one of the floppiest, ragdoll-like kittens her foster has ever seen! She never uses her claws and loves to be held and snuggled. She loves to be cradled like a baby and will get comfortable in whatever position you happen to be holding her in. She also has the adorable habit of keeping her tail curled in a ringlet. It almost looks like a piglet’s tail!
We need help to save Vera from a lifetime of discomfort and possible blindness! We are asking for donations in Vera’s name to help her receive the treatment and surgery she deserves. Please mention Vera in the dedication line when making your donation.
Austin Pets Alive! relies on the generosity of our community – find out more about the different ways you can support the animals who need us most!