VIDEO: Homeless kitten gets new eyelids thanks to surgery at BluePearl

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Veterinarians from BluePearl Veterinary Partners hospital completed a nearly four-hour surgery Monday to give new upper eyelids to Butterfly, a five-month-old kitten who was born without them.


Butterfly’s operation lasted nearly four hours

“It all came together nicely, and she’s resting comfortably,” said Dr. Gwen Sila, a board-certified veterinary ophthalmologist with BluePearl, who performed the surgery along with Dr. Michael West.

“Everything went really well,” Sila added. “We’re very pleased with the results of the surgery.”

Butterfly suffered from bilateral eyelid agenesis, an unusual congenital defect in which the upper eyelids are not fully formed at birth.  Because her eyelids did not cover her eyes, she was unable to blink and couldn’t moisten her eyes properly. If left untreated, her eyes would have become scarred due to dryness and lack of protection, and she would suffer vision loss.

After Butterfly went under anesthesia on Monday afternoon, Sila carefully made incisions with a scalpel and transposed a rectangle of tissue from Butterfly’s upper lip to her eye. The tissue was from the inside of Butterfly’s mouth and contained a mucous membrane – just like the inside of an eyelid. That side was placed against Butterfly’s eyeball, and Sila then used tiny sutures to sew this new “eyelid” into place.

Doctors from BluePearl will continue to carefully monitor Butterfly. The two biggest risks going forward are infection or the possibility that the graft will not “take,” Sila said. If everything goes well, the sutures will be removed in two weeks.

Butterfly (Photo courtesy of Humane Society of Huron Valley.)

Butterfly (Photo courtesy of Humane Society of Huron Valley.)

Butterfly is a stray cat rescued by the Humane Society of Huron Valley.  She has been living in a foster home, and had to be given special eye drops throughout the day because of her condition. She will return to the foster home after surgery and be evaluated over time for a permanent home.

About BluePearl Veterinary Partners
BluePearl Veterinary Partners employs 2,600 team members including more than 500 veterinarians. BluePearl hospitals offer referral-only, specialty care services and most offer 24-hour emergency care. BluePearl does not provide primary care. The company is one of the world’s principal providers of approved veterinary residency and internship programs. BluePearl also participates in clinical trials that investigate the effectiveness of new veterinary drugs and treatments, providing pet families access to cutting-edge medicine that is not yet commercially available. BluePearl is headquartered in Tampa FL.

Dr. Sila and Dr. West performed the operation.

Dr. Sila and Dr. West performed the operation.


About the Humane Society of Huron Valley: The Humane Society of Huron Valley, located in Ann Arbor, is an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and relies solely on the generosity of our supporters to provide critical community programs and services. HSHV is an award-winning organization, recognized for our best practices and highest animal “save-rate” among all similar shelters in Michigan. Charity Navigator, the nation’s top charity evaluator, awarded HSHV a 4-star ranking, the highest possible. The mission of HSHV is to promote the loving, responsible care of all animals in our community. HSHV is not affiliated with any other humane organization and does not receive funding from the United Way. For more information, call (734) 662-5585 or visit LOVE STARTS HERE!