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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 21740
Experience:  General practice veterinary surgeon with extensive experience in a wide range of species.
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My 18 year old Burmese cat appears to have gone blind very,

Customer Question

My 18 year old Burmese cat appears to have gone blind very, very suddenly. The symptoms appeared 3 days ago. Her pupils are sometimes dilated and, looking into her eyes, they appear cloudy.

She is eating and drinking normally. If anything she is drinking slightly more than usual. She does not appear to be in pain, although I would not say that she is 100% comfortable. She finds her way about by slowly feeling her way.

On June 18th she was given her rabies and feline leukemia vaccination. I have read that the rabies injection can, in certain circumstances, produce an adverse reaction in older cats. Is there a possible connection?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Vet
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 3 years ago.

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.

 

I am sorry to hear that Millie has developed sudden blindness.

Now 3 days have already passed, but it is worth getting her checked as soon as possible. Sometimes identifying and treating the underlying cause of what is likely to be retinal detachment from the back of the eye (likely the cloudiness you are seeing if not an inflammatory uveitis in the eye) immediately can restore sight. Three days on and the chances are slim, but it is still worth trying for her.

 

Now in regards ***** ***** of her blindness, the rabies vaccine is unlikely to be the issue here. Instead the most common cause for a elderly cat with increased thirst is going to be elevated blood pressure. This can be a primary issue or it can arise secondarily to kidney disease or hyperthyroidism. So, these would be concerns here for Millie.

 

In this case, we'd want her checked by her vet urgently. They can examine the eyes to confirm if her retinas have detached and rule out an infections uveitis (which can be caused by bacteria, FIV, FeLV virus, FIP, lymphoma, etc).They can also check her blood pressure (which is quite non-invasive and can be done in consult) +/- a blood sample. Depending on their findings, they can start treatment to address those diagnosed issues. Perhaps at that stage, resolution of her signs will restore vision, but do be prepared that this many days on it may be too late to do so. Even so, it is ideal to address these issues since they can cause other health issues that would negatively impact her quality of life as well.

 

Overall, the rabies vaccination is likely a red herring here. Instead, the signs you have described are highly suspicious of sudden retinal detachment that may be arising due to elevated blood pressure. So, it is best to have this checked as soon as possible to give her that slim chance of regaining sight but most importantly addressing the underlying health problem before it causes her additional issue.

 

 

 

I hope this information is helpful.

If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to ask!

All the best,

Dr. B.

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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thanks for your advice.


 


I subsequently took her to the local vet who has diagnosed a small stroke.


 


He has prescribed a treatment to improve the circulation in the brain, as there's an outside chance that this may help her to recover.


 


The retinas are ok, but it was reassuring to know that the rabies inoculation was unlikely to be responsible, so thank you for that.

Expert:  Dr. B. replied 3 years ago.

You are very welcome, Tony.

I am glad I could give you some peace of mind about the rabies vaccine being a red herring with Millie’s signs. As well, I am glad that her retinas are normal and if there were a suspect clot in the brain, then supportive care and medical management by increasing brain blood flow would be indicated. Hopefully, if they can reduce brain inflammation and get that clot out of the brain, we will see sight restored for her.

All the best for wee Millie,

Dr. B.