Cloudy the kitten

Cloudy the kitten was saved from losing an injured eye when Dr. Jason Collins of VCA Animal Hospital in Ringgold consulted with animal ophthalmologist Dr. Bergstrom of Veterinary Ophthalmology Services in Chattanooga and used dog blood as a treatment. (Photo courtesy of North Georgia Animal Alliance)

It’s fairly common for kittens to suffer a little scratch to an eye from rough play with another kitten. A few dabs of ointment and the injury usually clears up.

But that’s not how it worked out for Cloudy, a kitten rescued by North Georgia Animal Alliance. "A scratch poked a small hole in a kitten’s eye," says retired registered nurse and NGAA medical coordinator Nancy Frye, "and the iris, the colored part of the eye, started pushing out through the hole."

Soon the iris had covered the kitten’s pupil, blocked its vision and prevented it from closing the affected eye. It couldn’t have happened at a much worse time. It was a Saturday and NGAA was in the middle of conducting an estate sale to help raise funds for the work they do.

Frye had Cloudy’s foster mother take him to VCA Catoosa Animal Hospital in Ringgold where director Dr. Jason Collins tended to him. "Dr. Collins had never seen anything like this," says Frye. "He was able to contact an animal ophthalmologist in Chattanooga who recognized the problem as iris prolapse."

The ophthalmologist, Dr. Bergstrom of Veterinary Ophthalmology Services, suggested a course of action that seemed odd – apply dog blood to the eye. It’s not an uncommon treatment other places, says Frye, but it’s not something used much in this area. Frye says the only other real option for the kitten was to remove its eye, an expensive and undesirable alternative.

"We got one of our NGAA volunteers to take his dog over to VCA to donate blood," says Frye. "Dr. Collins spun the blood down to get the serum he needed."

Frye says the kitten’s foster mother applied the blood serum, along with an antibiotic and saline ointment, to its eye three to four times a day for a month. "If she had not been so diligent, the outcome would not have been so good," Frye says.

"The treatment caused a membrane to grow over the protruding iris," says Frye, "and protect it from further injury, and in the process it sort of mashed it down. Cloudy can see from the eye now and his foster mom decided to adopt him."

"Dr. Collins was wonderful," says Frye. "He took an interest and was ready to try something different. He saved the kitten’s eye and we are so pleased and thankful for that. Dr. Bergstrom was great, too. He could have insisted on an office visit instead of a phone consultation with Dr. Collins, but he was willing to help and saved us a lot of money. We’re really all astounded at how it worked. It’s one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen."