Friday, November 05, 2004

cat's eye

i think my poor kitty has conjunctivitis.

on wednesday night i noticed leland had an eye booger, a bit of discharge in the corner of his left eye. i didn't think too much of it but later noticed that he also seemed to be squinting a bit in that eye.

yesterday i checked again & he was still squinting. barry had noticed it too. & on further inspection i saw that the corner of his eye was red & swollen. having had conjunctivitis this year, i recognized the symptoms enough that i'm somewhat confident in that diagnosis. other than the squinting or occasional rubbing his eye, he isn't acting sick in the least, though.

i did some research on feline conjunctivitis & apparently the most common causes are viral infections. the #1 most common cause is apparently feline herpes virus, which is much like human herpes in that it's not curable: you can merely treat the symptoms (and perhaps most importantly, is not transferrable to humans). and outbreaks apparently go away somewhat quickly even without treatment. i thought this was a good sign because i'm pretty busy this weekend, what with the craptacular show tomorrow night in bloomington.

but as i kept reading, site after site recommended getting him to the vet either "promptly", or worse, "immediately". while it might not be that bad, it could deteriorate & cause long-term discomfort or worse. and when i came across a site that said a cat with conjunctivitis "should be checked for feline leukemia virus", i knew i needed to get him to the vet.

leland hasn't been to the vet in about 3 years, since he was neutered. at the time, i was informed that he had tested positive for feline leukemia virus. FeLV is a feline blood disease (again, sorta contagious for cats, but not humans) that can cause immunodeficiency problems in some cats. or some cats fight off the infection permanently & never get sick. others live asymptomatically as carriers for years, if not live out their whole lives normally. leland has never seemed sick; occasionally he'll sneeze or vomit on the floor, but what cat doesn't? so i never got around to taking him back in to be retested, to see if he's even still infected.

this is the first time he's ever seemed "sick" in any fashion (& like i say, he's behaving normally except for the squinting, so he's clearly not too sick). i just hope this is a minor matter, & not a sign that FeLV is finally taking its toll on him.

we have an appointment for 5:15 today at a new vet, so by this evening i should have a better idea what's going on, or at least have some eye drops for him, though i'm sure administering the eye drops won't be much fun...

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