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Sometimes CKD cats go blind, and this may happen suddenly. Look at your cat's pupils and check whether they are enlarged or very black, even in bright light. If so, don't panic. The most common cause of blindness in a CKD cat is hypertension (high blood pressure), but if you start the correct treatment (a drug called amlodipine - Norvasc or Istin) as quickly as possible, your cat has a reasonable chance of regaining his/her vision.
http://www.felinecrf.com/comm0.htm wrote:Retinal detachment, in which the retinas develop cysts and detach, is common in CRF cats. Unfortunately, visual impairment may not be recognized until retinal detachment occurs and the cat becomes blind and disoriented. This condition is usually treatable and can be controlled with medication if hypertension is diagnosed early.
http://www.felinecrf.org/hypertension.htm wrote:Blindness, Particularly Sudden Blindness (Retinal Detachment)
Unfortunately this is a relatively common occurrence in cats with untreated hypertension. The hypertension causes the retinas to detach, so the cat becomes blind.
You may notice a change in your cat's eyes, such as dilated pupils or uneven pupils, or you can try moving your hand towards your cat's face and see if s/he reacts (a positive menace response) or not (a negative menace response). Another option is to get your cat's attention, then drop a cotton wool ball and see if the cat follows the ball with his/her eyes.
Blindness may also manifest itself in a less obvious manner. e.g. your cat may no longer jump and climb, which you might ascribe to weakness, when in fact it is caused by an inability to see where s/he is jumping. Your cat may also walk differently, perhaps keeping to the side of rooms, or walking through food (because s/he cannot see it).
Even if your cat's retinas detach because of high blood pressure, if treatment is started quickly enough (usually within three days of detachment), there is an approximately 50:50 chance of the retinas re-attaching and your cat regaining some sight. Even if you do not start amlodipine immediately, there is still hope: I know of one CKD cat who went blind but regained his sight, even though treatment was not begun for some weeks; but obviously the sooner you begin treatment, the better your cat's chances.
If you can see a veterinary ophthalmologist, s/he may be able to suggest other measures in addition to the use of amlodipine to increase the chances of the retinas re-attaching; but many people just use amlodipine with the help of their general vet and see an improvement in their cat's vision.
If your cat's retinas do not re-attach, do not despair, cats cope far better with blindness than humans do, and I would not consider blindness in itself to be grounds for euthanasia.
One other possible cause of blindness in cats is the use of an antibiotic called Baytril, though this is extremely rare if dosage guidelines are adhered to.
Sometimes cats can appear blind after seizures and you will get a negative menace response, but this should not last for long, and in fact they are not normally blind - Harpsie had a negative menace response after his seizures and several vets were convinced he was blind, but he could still see and play with Cat Dancer.
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