OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla – Five kittens born with a genetic condition that left them without fully formed eyelids will be treated by board-certified ophthalmologists at BluePearl Veterinary Partners hospital Wednesday.
The kittens – Prim, Rue, Katniss, Alex and Theo – are in the Central Oklahoma Humane Society’s adoption program, who raised money for their care.
“Animals who are sick, disabled and fragile are often those most at risk of euthanasia in our local shelters,” said Abby Wolfe, Director of Marketing and Communications for OK Humane. “Because the community has rallied around these kittens, we were able to save their lives and get them the help they need.”
The kittens were born with a condition called eyelid agenesis, according to Dr. Jeff Studer, a board-certified ophthalmologist who is also the medical director at BluePearl in Oklahoma City.
Two of the kittens – Prim and Rue – were also born with abnormally shaped eyeballs. On Wednesday, Studer and Dr. Kevin Donnelly, who is also a board-certified ophthalmologist with BluePearl, will examine the kittens and determine the best treatment.
Studer said they may have to remove both of Prim’s eyes who is most badly affected. Rue may have to have one eye removed. While this may sound distressing, Studer said animals without eyes adjust surprisingly well to their new circumstances.
“Their sense of hearing and their sense of smell is so much better than ours,” Studer said. “We can’t really grasp how well they adapt without eyesight.”
The other kittens will be treated with cryotherapy to remove hairs around the kittens’ eyes that were scratching the corneas. Studer said without the treatment, the hairs would cause scarring and put the kittens at risk of going blind.
The kittens will likely need ongoing medical management for their eyes, Studer said. That means they will need special, dedicated owners once they are put up for adoption.