Vets at Willows Veterinary Centre and Referral Service in Solihull have saved the sight of an abandoned kitten.

Specialist ophthalmology surgeons at Willows performed a series of innovative procedures on a kitten suffering from eyelid agenesis – a birth defect that affects development of the eyelids and can lead to ongoing ocular discomfort and corneal ulcers.

Veterinary ophthalmologist Mike Rhodes and owner Sam Davis with Stevie the cat, who now has complete function in both eyelids.

In extreme cases, this can lead to removal of the eye.

Skin graft

The kitten, now called Stevie, received her first operation at six months when skin was grafted from her lip to help reconstruct an eyelid for her left eye. Now, the two-year-old – which received her final surgery last month – has complete function in both eyelids.

The right upper eyelid – which was also affected by the condition, but to a lesser degree – underwent a shorter procedure at the same time to evert the eyelid margin.

Rarely performed operation

Mike Rhodes, a European and RCVS specialist in veterinary ophthalmology at Willows, said: “These types of operations are rarely performed due the condition being relatively uncommon, as well as the costs involved in referral – especially in a charity/rescue situation.

“My wife works at the cat sanctuary and noticed Stevie and her sister were in chronic discomfort, so asked me to take a look at both kittens. Unfortunately, the other kitten’s ocular problems were much more severe and she needed both eyes removed, but Stevie has made a full recovery and both cats have now been adopted by a family in Oldbury.”

Amazing place

Sam and Paul Davis adopted both cats from the sanctuary, which insisted they were housed together. Mrs Davis said: “I can’t thank Mike and Willows enough for what they have provided. It really is an amazing place and I’m very grateful to Cramar Cat Sanctuary for referring us there.

“Due to their ocular problems, Stevie and her litter mate are both house cats. Her sister is blind, but watching her run around and play, you wouldn’t know it. She followed Stevie at first, but now she knows where everything is, she’s confident enough to run around and is actually the more adventurous of the two.”

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