Pepper's Story:
The Medical Case History of a Kitten with an Eye Injury

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This is the medical case history of a brown tabby Exotic kitten name Arrow's Sargent Pepper... just "Pepper" to his friends.

Born in early July, he was less than two months old when he injured his eye.

Owned and loved by Linda Osburn of Arrow Manx & Exotics, Pepper and his litter-sister were living the good life of much-loved kittens at Linda's home.

They were being raised as part of the family. The morning of the "incident", they were eating and playing and happy and content as only kittens can be.

Just before dinner, it was Linda's routine to let the kittens join the family on the enclosed porch to have dinner and watch the people go by.

That's when she first noticed that Pepper's eye appeared cloudy and slightly swollen.

What followed was a horror story Linda hopes never to live through again. In her own words, she will tell you Pepper's story. Even when the veterinarian advised putting the kitten to sleep because of the high cost of treatment, Linda refused - Pepper was just too special.

Pepper's Story

BY LINDA OSBURN, Arrow Manx & Exotics


While we were eating I first noticed Pepper's eye was a bit cloudy and he seemed to be favoring it. I put ointment in it and after doing the dishes, I checked on him again - he was in his bed in the front hall.

He would not come to me. I picked him up and saw what's pictured in the photo on the right!

He was born on July 3rd and has been healthy every minute up until now. I have treated eye ulcers but I have never seen anything like this before. His eye is not cloudy but bloody looking underneath and it is swollen 3 times its size.

I called my vet and I have everything here to treat it per his instructions. I am keeping it moisturized with Vitamin A and doing the other eye in case something happens there.

It must itchy because he wants to rub it, so I just carry him around everywhere with me... and yes... to the potty too.

The initial injury

Close-up of the eye 12 hours after the initial injury

Another view of the eye


I had made an appointment for this morning with my regular vet who is excellent at treating eye problems. I was ready to take Pepper when I got a call saying the vet had a family emergency and wasn't there - and it was too late to make an appointment at another vet's as today is Saturday - and of course it is a long weekend and the vets are closed on Monday too! I now have an appointment with an eye specialist on Tuesday.

My vet thinks it is due to a trauma - that the kitten has scratched the surface slightly so we can't use steroids. I am using a triple antibiotic ointment. The eye is swollen larger but he is not scratching at it and I am still keeping it oiled with either Vitamin A or the medicated ointment or the moisture drops.

His eye looks like it has a cloudy cover on it but it is really not - you can see the bloody area inside where something possibly hurt the eye.

I am so careful with the kittens, and there is nothing where they were playing that I can think might have caused an injury. He is eating and playing as normal and is not running a fever. There is just no way that I can see how he hurt his eye.


I am going out of my mind!

Pepper's eye is worse not better.

Why do these things always happen on a weekend?

And why does it have to have happened when it is a long weekend too?

The eye just before surgery -
looking its absolute worse


Pepper went to the specialist first thing this morning and immediately went into surgery to have his eye removed.

I have him home now.

I picked him up at 3:00 this afternoon. The minute he saw me, he started purring and making little muffins... and remember, this is a kitten that was only 2 months old today. What a trooper!

I drove and my hubby held him. We brought his sister Fiesta with us in case he needed her for company. He didn't. He laid in Kenny's lap on his back making muffins and purring... and purring... while Fiesta sat on top of my seat and watched the cars.

We carried him in to the front hall and put him down. He ran to his water dish and drank and then saw his food and ate till he was full... then went in to his bed and slept until dinner.

He is still purring and happy... the pain is all gone and what little is left from the surgery does not bother him at all.

The swelling is going down even now and draining a little

The cause is still unknown... either he had a fall and hit something sharper than a marshmallow... or one of my upstairs cats hit his eye when they were downstairs, but I doubt it and it may have been an unusual type of ulcer or sequestrum but he hadn't seen that type of eye for some time without it rupturing. There were no scratches or injuries that would indicate that type of trauma. The most obvious sign of trauma was the swelling and the bloody area within the eye itself.

Pepper walked right out on the front porch to have dinner with us and watch the world go by as we ate. He laid on his side and watched the butterflies on the blue flowers by the steps. He is truly a happy little boy... uh... kitten.

He is playing with his little ball with the bell in it now...

One week After Surgery

Stitches get removed today!!

Right after Surgery

Brave baby!

A week after surgery his hair is already
well grown in around the eye

Pepper had his stitches out yesterday. He wasn't very happy but it went okay.

He has a little draining from the incision, but his surgeon says he is doing fine.

A few days ago he was sneezing blood... lots of it like a person with a nose bleed... but we figured it was draining from the eye and a possible clot dissolving. He is fine now and no more blood.

Stitches have been removed.
There is a slight drainage from the incision

A month and half after the Injury

Pepper is totally recovered.

He doesn't seem to miss his eye and plays and purrs like any kitten. He is as outgoing and adventurous with one eye as he was with two. There must be an angel watching over this baby.

The choice I made was the right one and will never regret it. I lost the chance at a top show kitten but saved something so darling that will bring joy to who ever is lucky enough to be owned by him in the future.

And Pepper just winks at life - permanently...

All healed and the hair is grown in -
a happy kitten once more


NOTE: The conjunctivitis, the age of onset, and the subsequent course of corneal involvement may sometimes be an indication of the rapid progression of a herpesvirus eye infection, rather than an eye trauma.

In Pepper's case, the examining eye specialist ruled out this possibility. When Linda first noticed a problem with Pepper's eye, it was cloudy... like a thin film. When she examined the eye in direct sunlight she could see deep into the eye where there was a small bloody spot. The spot grew and swelled along with the eye. The inner eye lid was never effected, nor was the conjunctiva although as the eye swelled and the appearance of the entire area became hideously distorted.

The final diagnosis was that the eye had suffered a trauma.


...Nothing Holds
Him Back From
Enjoying Life
To The Fullest!

Author: Linda Osburn's "Arrow" cattery sign reads, "Manx Always, Persian and Exotics Occasionally, Japanese Bobtails, Now And Then".

Linda has bred Manx since 1974 and has two Manx national winners, GC, GP, NW Cottori Star Trek Of Arrow in 1998 and GC, GP, NW Tra Mar Mosaic Of Arrow in 1997.

Linda started in Exotics in 1985 and had a national winner in 1986, GC, GP, NW Klasikats Double Rainbow of Arrow.

With the purchase of a Persian, Ch Real World's Billy Boy of Arrow in 2001, and the gift of an Exotic female, GC Mt Hood Tootsie from Judy Boyko, Linda once again got "serious" about her Exotic breeding program. After granding Tootsie, Linda bred her to Billy.

The first litter from these two kitties produced GC, GP, NW Arrow's James Byron Dean (pictured above) , 13th Best Cat in Premiership in CFA 2002-2003, and GC, GP Arrow's Chasing Rainbows, a copper eyed white Exotic.


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