I was in Burlington yesterday with three special girls -- Darla, Widget and Aurora -- for a full day of veterinary medicine. Darla was scheduled for her double surgery ... our ophthalmologist would be doing a laser procedure on her left eye, which had developed glaucoma, and our surgeon would be removing a small mast cell tumor on her knee.
But on Monday afternoon, when I tested the pressure in Darla's left eye with our Tono-Pen, I was shocked to see it was at 36 -- definitely glaucoma territory. We had been giving her glaucoma meds twice a day for the past several weeks, and we were used to seeing pressures in the teens because the meds had it under control ... or so we thought. I tested her again a few hours after her evening dose of meds, and was relieved to get 16 and 17. But the spike to 36 was alarming.
I mentioned this to our ophthalmologist's tech Patty C. when we checked in early yesterday morning. She pulled out their Tono-Pen and registered 68 and 70. Uh oh. Darla also now had no menace response (i.e., when you suddenly bring your hand or an object up to her eye, she doesn't blink in response). This meant she was functionally blind in that eye.
I was in a complete dither at that point. Our ophthalmologist, Dr. Sarah Hoy, came in and duplicated Patty's findings. Sarah then sedated Darla's eye and used a needle to draw fluid out, which instantly lowered the eye pressure. Sarah wanted to see if after a couple of hours Darla might regain a menace response. She didn't.
I was so upset at all this I didn't even think about taking photos, and left the camera on the chair in the exam room. The photo at top was from her previous exam in January.
If she's already blind in that eye, it's too late to do any surgery. Even though her retina and optic nerve still looked good yesterday, it can take a while for those to start atrophying.
Sarah wanted to start Darla on some systemic medications to lower her eye pressure, while we continue the topical meds, and see if over the next several days she will regain the menace response. Sometimes it does come back, and the surgery might still be possible.
I was worried about putting off the mast cell surgery any longer, but Darla's team of doctors -- ophthalmologist, internist and surgeon -- huddled and concluded there was little risk in postponing the mast cell surgery for a week. Better to do that than put her under two separate operations (which was the reason we had waited to schedule both of these together).
So we have rescheduled her for next Wednesday. We will probably know by Friday if the menace response has returned, and I will continue to check her eye pressures.
All in all, a terrible development.
I'll post updates on the other two girls next week.
2014 Shelter Challenge Underway
The first round of the Shelter Challenge for 2014 is underway and runs until March 30th. You can vote every day here. To search for us, type in our name, Rolling Dog Farm, and Lancaster, NH 03584. We've won thousands of dollars in the previous contests, so your daily votes do bring in serious money for our disabled animals!
Please note that I cannot help with technical or voting problems. I also do not have an "inside track" to anyone at the Shelter Challenge, and I don't know any more about the contest than anyone else does. So if you find yourself having issues, please consult their FAQ page here and their Rules page, which is a pop-up you can find linked on this page.
Thanks for your votes!