1. What is a board-certified veterinary ophthalmologist?
These veterinarians are highly trained in diagnostic and surgical ophthalmology. Following veterinary college and an internship year, these individuals then serve in a 2-3 year residency program during which they train under the guidance of senior ophthalmologists. At the end of this training period, which includes both clinical work and intensive scientific study and writing requirements, the individual is eligible for a 3-day examination monitored by a committee or board of ophthalmologists, who are members of the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmology (ACVO). Upon successful completion of this examination, the veterinarian is considered ‘board-certified’ in the specialty of veterinary ophthalmology.
2. Why would my cat benefit from a consultation with an ophthalmologist?
Veterinary ophthalmologists deal exclusively with animal eye diseases and have the expertise as well as the specialized diagnostic equipment often required for the definitive diagnosis of your cat’s eye problem. Annual continuing education meetings provide veterinary ophthalmologists with first hand knowledge of the latest available resources to offer their patients. Your primary veterinarian is updated after the appointment so that he or she is immediately aware of the nature of the problem and how we will plan to manage it.
3. Can my primary veterinarian perform follow-up exams once my cat’s problem is diagnosed?
We aim to work with your veterinarian to manage the problem, but progress is often measured with the help of equipment your veterinarian does not have readily available. Typically we direct the follow-up management after the initial diagnosis is made, but are delighted if your veterinarian can assist with some of the recheck appointments. For example, your veterinarian may be asked to monitor tear production or intraocular pressure, if we feel that these tests are required frequently over a time period.
4. What types of services does the Ophthalmology Department offer?
We specialize in the diagnosis and treatment (medical and surgical) of all cat eye problems. Common cat eye problems include conjunctivitis, corneal ulcers, corneal sequestrum, eyelid abnormalities, eosinophilic keratitis, ocular inflammation (uveitis), glaucoma, retinal diseases, and ocular cancers. Cryosurgery, ocular ultrasound, electroretinograms, are available specialty services.
5. When is the Ophthalmology Department available for appointments?
Appointments may be scheduled on Tuesdays and Thursdays with the availability for surgical procedures on Fridays. We hope to expand appointment days/hours in the near future.
6. How far in advance do I need to make an appointment?
We can usually see your cat within a week.
7. What kind of information does my regular veterinarian need to provide prior to the appointment?
Prior to the scheduled appointment we would like to have a referral letter from your veterinarian, containing any pertinent history about the eye problem and what, if any, medications have been used. If any recent lab work has been performed that may be helpful in the diagnosis, your vet can fax it to us so that we don’t repeat things unnecessarily.
8. Do I need to leave my cat with you for the exam?
The initial appointment includes you and your cat. If any additional testing is recommended, you may be asked to either leave your cat with us for a few hours, or to return during our next available diagnostic testing period (usually the next Friday we are here).
9. Will my cat need anesthesia for any of these tests?
Sedation or anesthesia is occasionally needed for specific tests, but we will discuss this with you in detail beforehand.
10. What if my cat requires surgery?
If surgery is recommended, it can usually be scheduled within a week. Most procedures are considered day-surgery, meaning you bring your cat in on the morning of the surgery and pick them up later that day once they are recovered from the effects of the anesthesia.