For today’s feline Friday post, we wanted to share a really unusual condition with you and the dramatic solution on Monday to help make beautiful Maine Coon Ellie better.
Three year old Ellie first came in to see us with a vague loss of appetite and some gagging. Her condition deteriorated over the next 10 days, by which time she had stopped eating and had lost weight. Most significantly, however, Ellie’s right eye was protruding showing her 3rd eyelid, and there was further swelling on the right side of her face.
Sadly, the most common cause of these symptoms is a tumour, but on rare occasions, eye protrusion can occur when an abscess forms in the back of the eye cavity, known as a retrobulbar abscess. We took Ellie in for exploration, and were really relieved when x-rays showed nothing sinister to indicate a tumour, so we moved Ellie into theatre to locate and treat the abscess.
To investigate a retrobulbar abscess, it’s necessary to make a small hole in the roof of the mouth just behind the last upper molar. A pair of blunt forceps is then inserted into the hole and angled towards the back of the eye. Once inserted, the forceps are then gently opened with a view to piercing the abscess.
After 4 attempts, with the sudden release of pressure, a rush of pus burst into Ellie’s mouth and we knew we had hit the mark! What a relief it must have been for Ellie to have that pressure removed. She went home and ate that same evening, and we’re delighted she’s almost back to her normal self just five days after treatment.
Retrobulbar abscesses are so unusual that this is only the third time that Hamish has seen and treated the condition in his 24 years in practice. The last time he carried out this procedure was back in 2010 when he and his family still lived at 387 Vets!