Meet our Patients
Animal Eye Care would like to share with you the stories of some of our patients.
All of our patients are unique and are much-loved by their owners. We appreciate the owners allowing us to share the stories of their pets. We will introduce you to more patients periodically, and we know you will enjoy meeting them all!
Please CLICK their names to learn about these pets.
Porter (canine; retinal degeneration, entropion)
Porter was put on a special canine antioxidant vision supplement to improve the health of his retinas, and an artificial tear ointment to lubricate his eyes. We first saw Dr. McCalla on July 21, 2011 and Porter’s eyes have changed dramatically for the better since then. The color in his lid has returned and he no longer squints. (Squinting seems to irritate his eyes and causes him to squint even more). Dr. McCalla said that his retinas look much healthier now. Porter also sees better at night!
Of course, Porter does not like the idea that he can’t hang his head out the window when in the car, but as Dr. McCalla said, it’s not a dog’s privilege to hang his or her head out the window–it’s a choice the owner has provided. As good dog owners, we don’t want a bug or debris putting his eye out, causing an infection or triggering him to squint and roll in his eyelids again. However, we found a good solution to this problem—we bought Porter some Doggles! We are now training him to wear them when he’s in the car. It’s a little tricky and with his short brow, we must adjust them so they do not slide down, but he looks so cool.
Thank you, Dr. McCalla, for prescribing the vision supplement and caring for Porter—he is part of our family and we enjoy him so much.
Quito (canine; PRA with secondary toxic cataracts)
Quito is a small gray Terrier cross about ten years old. His known history began in early December 2011 when he was found abandoned in a cardboard box by the roadside in Surrey, B.C. He was then sheltered by the Surrey SPCA and given medical attention by a local veterinarian. Quito had several health issues. His teeth were in very poor condition and he had advanced cataracts, so he was blind. He was quite thin, weighing less than nine pounds. and was infested with fleas.
Marge and I were introduced to Quito’s story by the above mentioned veterinarian, during a check-up visit for Ford, our Husky/Shepherd cross. Ford was also a rescue dog from the SPCA. We took the little Terrier home in mid December after our doctor removed twelve of his teeth, and Quito began to settle into his new home. His weight picked up, although he led a pretty inactive lifestyle due to his blindness. Through it all he seemed a happy creature and accepted his place in life.
In January 2012 we looked into the possibility of cataract surgery to help Quito’s eyesight. Dr. McCalla in Bellingham, Washington put Quito through three assessment visits to check his suitability for surgery. He was found to have PRA (progressive retinal atrophy), which was the cause of his cataracts. Although Dr. McCalla told us that surgery would not fully restore his vision and that he might not have functional vision after surgery because his retinas were fairly damaged, we wanted Quito to have every chance of having at least some vision. Quito was first placed on a special canine antioxidant vision supplement (Dr. McCalla said that he would need to be on this the rest of his life) to help his retinas and help support his eye health in anticipation of surgery. On March 7, 2012 he had cataract surgery on both eyes and since then has made steady progress on a path to life with vision. We knew Quito’s vision after surgery would not be very good, but Dr. McCalla felt that there was a decent chance that he would have better vision with surgery than he did without surgery, and that if Quito stayed on the vision supplement forever following surgery that he might retain enough vision to be useful for him.
Quito now is much more active—making his way all over the house, up and down off furniture, guarding the front door when the bell goes off, and watching the world go by when he is in the car. He has been on the vision supplement and also additional lutein supplementation, and Dr. McCalla is very encouraged by his progress. Quito has become playful and willing to go on walks, and we are now living with a happy dog who can see the world, where once the world and his life were both darkness. We feel very good to be part of all this experience for Quito. He completely deserves the life that he now has.
The first picture is Quito at Christmastime, shortly after we brought him home and prior to his cataract surgery.
The second picture is Quito about three months after cataract surgery. His pupils now constrict much better in sunlight than they used to, which is a really good sign. He is such a happy dog!
Ollie (canine; diabetic with incipent diabetic cataracts; still visual without surgery)
I’m Ollie from Bellingham Washington. We’re not sure if I’m 14 or 15 since Mom found me at an L.A. Dog pound. Right after she brought me home, I got sick with thrombocytopenia and almost died! But— I pulled through.
Now I’ve had diabetes since May 2011 and get shots twice a day. It’s not so bad cause now they cut the insulin I get in half— yay!
Lucky for me, the nice Dr. McCalla had started me on a special canine antioxidant vision supplement awhile before I became diabetic to help my eyes, and I STILL see pretty well! This is quite necessary because a cat has come to our house and lives outside— and I make sure he doesn’t come in! I’m a very good watch dog and I love our walks in the country with my big sister Luci Dog.
Thank you for helping me stay well so that my life is still fun and happy!
PS from Dr. McCalla: We are so delighted that Ollie can still see, because he really can’t hear well, at his advanced age.. I wish that ALL diabetic dogs could be placed on specific antioxidant supplementation at the time of diagnosis of their diabetes, to help support lens health.
Jack (canine; diabetic with diabetic cataracts; cataract surgery)
Jack was not in good health, but with perseverance and the help of a veterinary anesthesiologist, cataract surgery was performed after Jack was started on a specific canine antioxidant vision supplement in addition to a topical anti-inflammatory medication (because advanced cataracts cause inflammation inside the eyes).
Jack did not bounce back right away after surgery (which is common in elderly dogs), but he is now doing very well. The owner told me that he has his “old Jack” back, and Jack is now safe, which gives the owner great peace of mind. Jack can go on walks with the owner and not get lost and be in peril, and he sees just as well as he did before the diabetic cataracts formed.
It is all a matter of perspective, however— While the owner sees his “old Jack” now, I see a “new Jack”— a dog who sees and greets me when I come into the exam room, and who is not lost and afraid anymore. Jack still has most of his other health problems in his old age, but he is happy and is again connected to his world in a way that he never could have been, without the benefit of an extremely dedicated owner and a team of veterinary health care professionals.
Trooper (canine; PRA with secondary toxic cataracts)
However, about one month later Trooper started bumping into things in broad daylight, because the cataracts had continued to progress and both lenses were now completely cloudy. Because his retinas were not dead, and he was on daily antioxidant supplementation (which gave his retinas a fighting chance to survive), the owner chose cataract surgery, which I was happy to do as long as Trooper stayed on lifetime supplementation. There was certainly a risk that surgery would not be successful, but the owner chose to take that risk. After surgery, it was such a thrill for us to see how well Trooper could see! Surgery was a big success for Trooper, and he was up to his old tricks (that he had not done for many months)— playing with the owner, helping her in her garden, and acting so much younger because his functional vision was so much better. The owner was so happy when Trooper did his first trick for her— one that she had forgotten that he used to do: while she was leaning forward doing her gardening, Trooper would sneak behind her and slip forward between her legs, making yard work fun (and precarious!). When he started doing this after surgery, she was so happy because her “young” Trooper was restored to her.
It is now nearly two years since cataract surgery was done, and Trooper continues to use his vision to help his owner in the yard and play with toys that he obviously can see. He will always be blind in dim light, but with continued specific antioxidant supplementation, we hope that his cone cells will not completely die and he will still have some vision for the rest of his life.
Koko (feline; uveitis and secondary glaucoma)
Being 15 years old, Koko now has several medical problems, but is a good patient and puts up with all the medications that he needs to take each day. Thankfully, the uveitis and glaucoma in his left eye have been controlled very well for several years, with daily medical treatment and regular eye examinations at Animal Eye Care. His vision in his left eye is very good.
Koko is a beautiful cat — part Siamese and part tabby, and he is very kind and gentle. He loves sleeping on my lap when I am at the computer or watching TV and would probably do so all day if he could! Koko is so loveable, and he means the world to us!
Elvis (feline; uveitis and secondary glaucoma)
Elvis is fat with a big flopping belly and women go nuts over him, which is how he got his name.
Elvis has had chronic eye trouble for as long as we know, starting with uveitis, which caused glaucoma. Despite annual glaucoma tests by his regular veterinarian, by the time glaucoma was detected Elvis had already lost all vision in his right eye, so we enucleated it. This gives his head sort of a bashed in look, but it hasn’t affected his popularity with the ladies. His remaining eye has also lost much vision to glaucoma and a cataract, but the glaucoma is successfully controlled with Trusopt drops and neo-poly-dex ointment. Despite occasionally walking into walls, he is still quite competent at chasing string and insects. He has adapted remarkably well and remains as happy and mellow as ever.
Bea (canine; inherited (primary) glaucoma)
Quick application of medication that the owner had on hand for just such an emergency was effective in reducing the pressure and Bea still had some sight when she came to Animal Eye Care. Two surgeries were were performed to insert drainage tubes in the eye. Postoperatively, intensive medical treatment was given and frequent pressure checks were performed. Bea did well for six months but once again her pressure increased and her vision declined. Her owner made the decision not to subject Bea to further surgery which at best would only delay the inevitable. An intraocular injection of medication was given and this was successful in controlling the pressure.
Although Bea cannot see, she has adjusted very well to her blindness. She maintains her regular schedule of eating, sleeping and daily trips to the park. Bea has even learned to be a bit more responsive to her “mom’s” instructions at the park, unless a skateboarder is cruising by!
Branka (canine; foreign body in tear duct (dacryocystitis))
Luna (canine; inherited cataracts; cataract surgery)
Luna had cataract surgery on both eyes 5 months ago, in which the cloudy lenses were removed and artificial lenses (called IOLs) were implanted in each eye. Surgery was a huge success, and she is able to see to retrieve (something that is very important to a Lab!). Luna continues to discover all the things she missed seeing in her first year of life, even though some of the things scare her a little. She loves going to visit Dr. McCalla and all the staff at Animal Eye Care for her follow-up visits. We are so happy to observe Luna’s joy at really seeing her world!
Barney (canine; immune-mediated uveitis with retinal detachments)
Bella (canine; cat claw injury to eye; eye removal with placement of intraorbital prosthesis)
Bella is very happy and comfortable, and sees very well out of her normal right eye. Dogs and cats handle the loss of an eye much better than we do, and they adjust well to using one eye instead of two. Her owners adore her, and we think that Bella is still very photogenic, minus one eye!
Cricket (canine; macropalpebral fissure syndrome w/ eye removal; inherited glaucoma in remaining eye)
Winston (canine; macropalpebral fissure syndrome w/ medial canthoplasty surgery)
Winston is wearing his Elizabethan restraint collar (E collar) in this photo (taken the week after surgery), and he’s playing with his white squeaker toy (no, that isn’t his tongue— it is his toy he is chewing on!). Winston is doing great, and is a very special member of his family!