I’ve gotten the question “what happened to Nugget’s eye?” a gazillion times … and in the last 24 hours about 3 times through YouTube. Hence, this post.
When I embarked on my Great Breeding Venture, I purchased two kittens: Nugget first and, a month later, Tiny Bear. In my ignorance, I did not have them examined by my vet within the allotted time called for in the contract. If I had, Nugget’s eye issue MIGHT have been discovered. Certainly, the minute I got her home, her left eye seemed a little infected, which I treated. This is not uncommon in kittens, especially with the stress of adoption, so I wasn’t concerned. Later, I went back and looked at her many photos and see that there was, in fact an anomaly (edema spot) in each eye. In retrospect, I’m glad I did not have her checked and was therefore not faced with the decision of whether or not to return her to the breeder. These things happen, and most contracts stipulate a “fatal hereditary condition” if discovered within a set time frame. Although this didn’t apply as fatal, I’m sure I could have returned her. I ultimately decided not to breed her. Though the condition is congenital (present at birth), the hereditary nature of it is questionable. In return for not breeding her, I received two free stud services which gave me my fist two litters with Tiny Bear as their mother.
SO, what IS the deal with Nugget’s eye? When she and Tiny Bear were about 6 months old, I took them to the vet for check up, microchipping, vaccines, etc. and that’s when the vet noticed she had a cloudy spot on the cornea of each eye. The left eye was a little worse in that it looked like it had turned into a blister. We were sent to an animal ophthalmologist where she was diagnosed with Persistent Pupillary Membranes — a condition more common in dogs than cats. It’s where the filaments present at birth that run from the back of the eye to the inside of the cornea do not retreat as they should and cause damage to the cornea. I was given medication for the blistered eye, but within a week or so the blister burst and became a full blown infection. Very scary indeed. We tried for about 2 weeks to get the infection under control. At one point the eye was so swollen I actually feared that it might rupture. I can’t even imagine how painful that must have been. At that point, it was decided that removing the eye was necessary. The minute that eye was gone, you could visibly see Nugget start to become her old self again — on the way home from surgery, reaching through the carrier grate to paw at me. Of course many post surgery visits ensued, etc. Also the fact that she has the condition in her other eye as well is a worry and she receives ointment in it twice a day to keep the edema from turning into a blister. It’s now been five years, and her right eye remains stable, but it never did turn the nice green shade that most shaded goldens achieve, and it has a cloudy spot on the cornea.