Corneal Sequestrum in Cats

Feline Corneal Sequestrum

A corneal sequestrum is a darkly pigmented area in the cornea of the cat often associated with chronic ulcerative or inflammatory diseases of the cornea. This dark brown spot is an area of dead corneal tissue, and it may be surrounded by inflammation, blood vessels, and edema of the cornea.

A corneal sequestrum can cause chronic irritation and ulceration of the eye resulting in discomfort. Scar formation after resolution of the sequestrum may result in decreased vision. In rare cases, it may result in perforation of the eye with possible loss of vision. It usually involves one eye, although it may occur in both eyes at the same time.
Below is an overview of about Corneal Sequestrum in Cats followed by in-depth information on the diagnosis, treatment and home care of this disease.

Causes of Corneal Sequestrum

What to Watch For

Diagnostic Tests for Corneal Sequestrum in Cats

Treatment of Corneal Sequestrum in Cats

Corneal sequestra may be treated by two methods: with medications alone or with medications and surgery.

Home Care and Prevention

Give all medications as directed. Call your veterinarian if you are having difficulty medicating your pet.

Observe your cat for rubbing of the eye. An Elizabethan collar may be necessary to prevent further irritation of the eye.

A warm compress applied to the eye may soothe the eye and help remove the discharge that is commonly present. Return your cat to your veterinarian if the discomfort appears to get worse.

In some cases, use of an artificial tear ointment applied to the eyes twice a day may help to prevent recurrence of the sequestrum.

Periodic rechecks are required to monitor corneal sequestra treated with medical therapy alone. If the lesions fail to resolve with medication, surgery may be needed. Following surgery, frequent rechecks are indicated until the cornea has healed.

In-Depth Information on Feline Corneal Sequestrum

Several eye diseases may look similar to a corneal sequestrum, but treatment of those diseases is usually very different from the treatment of a corneal sequestrum. Establishing the correct diagnosis is therefore very important. Diseases that may appear similar to corneal sequestration include:

Veterinary care should include diagnostic tests and subsequent treatment recommendations.

In-depth Information on Diagnosis of Corneal Sequestrum in Cats

In-depth Information on Treatment of Corneal Sequestrum in Cats

There are two general methods of treating a corneal sequestrum. One method employs the body’s ability to reject dead tissue while protecting the eye with medication. The other method is surgical removal of the diseased tissue.

Medical Management

The eye is treated with an antibiotic solution or ointment three to four times a day. Atropine ointment is sometimes used to relieve pain when the pupil has become very small and spastic, but it may, in some cats, cause severe drooling. This effect is more commonly seen with atropine drops than with atropine ointment.

Medical management allows the body time to remove the sequestrum. The purpose of the medication is to prevent secondary bacterial infections while the body removes the sequestrum. Blood vessels will grow into the cornea and will eventually grow under the sequestrum and remove the sequestrum from the cornea. This entire process may take many months to complete.

Surgical Management

Surgical treatment consists of careful removal of the affected layers of the cornea. In some cats, the sequestrum involves both superficial and deep layers of the cornea, making conjunctival or corneal grafting procedures necessary after removal of the lesion. Aftercare consists of topical antibiotic solution of ointment, with or without atropine, for a few weeks while the surgery site heals. The advantage of surgery is quicker resolution of the problem and return of the cat to a pain-free state.

A sequestrum may recur after it has either been allowed to slough using medical management or after it has been surgically removed. There is some evidence that suggests that recurrence is less likely if the entire lesion is surgically removed, and all abnormal tissue is successfully removed from the cornea.

Home Care of Feline Corneal Sequestrum