Corneal sequestrum in cats is a very common eye disease that begins very innocently but can become quite severe, even with very aggressive treatments.
This disease can cause a lot of discomfort in your cat and if the scaring becomes severe enough, it will eventually lead to a loss of some of your cat’s vision.
If it results in perforation of your cat’s eye, it could lead to total blindness, although this is considered to be quite rare.
What makes this eye disease so challenging to properly diagnose and then treat by your veterinarian is the fact that it is often confused with similar eye diseases.
Corneal sequestrum in cats begins as a corneal ulcer in the cornea and will first appear as a very dark pigmentation.
It is almost always associated with some form of a chronic ulceration or an inflammatory disease that has affected the cornea.
The dark spot that appears may be an opaque dark brown or black, and is actually an area of dead cornea tissue.
It may also be surrounded by slight or severe inflammation, blood vessels, as well as edema of the cornea.
Corneal edema is most often caused by dehydration, viral infections, or some type of a trauma that your cat has suffered.
Once corneal sequestrum in cats develops, it can very easily cause chronic irritation as well as ulceration of your cat’s eye.
This will than cause either a slight discomfort, or a severe discomfort, depending on the severity of the disease.
This disease can be successfully treated, but once it has been treated, your cat is still not completely out of danger as scar formation may still occur.
If scar formation does occur after the sequestrum has been resolved, it can cause a partial loss of your cats vision.
In the vast majority of cases, corneal sequestrum in cats will usually only involve one eye, but in some cats, both eyes may be affected.
If the scaring causes perforation of the eye itself, your cat may lose all of their sight, but this is considered to be a remote probability.
It can and does affect all breeds; however, there are some breeds that are more predisposed to this disease.
Persian cats seem to be affected more than any other breed, however, it is also very common in Siamese, Burmese, as well as Himalayans.
The exact cause of corneal sequestrum in cats may never be known, but it is usually the result of a chronic irritation as well as the exposure of their cornea.
The breeds that are most commonly affected are more subject to abnormal eyelid shapes that allow for eyelashes or hair to rub against their cornea.
However, an inadequate tear production by your cat as well as a corneal ulceration or infections can also trigger this disease.
If your cat has recently developed or is recovering from feline herpes-virus that has infected their cornea, they are also at a higher risk.
Corneal sequestrum in cats will not show you a lot of symptoms like some other eye diseases, but the ones that do surface will be very easy to identify.
The first sign that you will see will be a gradual and then a very persistent squinting by your cat that is usually followed by a discharge.
However, this will not be a normal discharge, as it will become chronic and be brown or yellow green in color.
After this occurs, you will be able to spot a black spot of your cat’s cornea, which is the clear part of their eye.
No one knows your cat’s eyes any better than you do, so when it does appear, it will be quite noticeable. Once the spot develops, your cats eyes will now start to turn cloudy as well as reddish in color.
By this time, the final symptom will be very easy to identify; your cat will be constantly rubbing at the affected eye or both eyes as the discomfort is building.
Corneal sequestrum in cats can be treated very effectively in most all cases, but that is not the real challenge with this disease. The real challenge is properly identifying it from similar eye disease.
The first disease that will have to be ruled out is corneal ulceration, although it can occur in conjunction with corneal sequestrum.
A corneal ulcer is an abrasion that will appear on the surface of your cat’s cornea, or it may appear as a break.
This break will be in the surface and actually look like an indentation in your cat’s cornea. However, there is one major difference; there will be no brown color that appears.
The next thing that will have to be ruled out is a foreign body that has affected the cornea of your cat.
Plant materials are usually the most common foreign body that can attach to your cats cornea, but they can be removed quite easily.
Iris cysts may also be the cause as well as corneal pigmentation, but they are both considered to be extremely rare in cats.
In fact if they do affect your cat, only a trained professional can diagnose these diseases.
An adhesion that has developed between your cat’s iris and their cornea will also have to be ruled out, and these will occur as the result of a severe injury that your cat has suffered to their cornea.
This is a little more complicated, as they may become permanent and leave the same brown spots as a corneal sequestrum will produce.
Corneal sequestrum in cats has two modes of treatments; medications or medications combined with surgery.
The first form of treatment, medication, is usually only attempted if your cat is not demonstrating any type of serious pain and if the lesions are very small and not showing signs of inflammation.
Your veterinarian will use either an antibiotic or an ointment at least three times a day, and in some cases, four times a day.
Atropine ointment or drops may be used to help relieve slight pain if your cat’s pupil has become very small, but it does have some potential dangers.
It can cause severe drooling in cats, which is always a real danger sign.
However, in this case you will know what is causing it.
This will not be a short process, as this is a very dangerous as well as a stubborn disease to treat with just medication alone.
The medication that is used will help to fight off bacterial infections while your cat’s immune system naturally removes the disease.
It may take several months, but if successful, your cat body will produce new blood vessels that will grow under the corneal sequestrum and remove it.
In the more severe cases, medications and surgery will be necessary.
It will be very important for you to discuss the surgery with your veterinarian, as any surgery is a risk.
In this case, it may be the only option and it will involve very carefully removing the affected layers from your cat’s cornea.
It can very expensive as well as complicated, but most veterinarians can easily perform the surgery.
It will usually involve the same medications, but the advantage is that your cat will heal much quicker and it has a very high success rate.
Corneal sequestrum in cats can be very painful and can easily cause loss of some of vision.
It can also be difficult is actually separating it from other eye diseases.
However, if you understand the symptoms and catch them very early, you cat has a very good chance of returning to normal with the right form of treatment.