Tuesday, February 2, 2010
SPCA INTERNATIONAL The name One Eye, suggests that this Iraqi cat has a limited view of the world around him. But in fact, he has two eyes. Born on an isolated military outpost near the border with Jordan, One Eye and his littermates were abandoned by their mother at a very young age. Several kindhearted Marines stumbled across the orphans and decided to give it a shot at being surrogate dads, otherwise the kittens would never have survived on their own.
These unlikely caregivers did an amazing job of raising the kittens under challenging circumstances and these “multi-father” felines thrived as the weeks passed. Once the kittens became more active, the guys noticed there was something wrong with one of them though. This particular kitten kept his right eye closed almost all the time and relied entirely on his left eye to see. As this persisted they began to call him One Eye.
Finding a feline Ophthalmologist in far western Iraq or in any part of the country was out of the question. Wanting to do something to help One Eye see normally, the Marines found a medic willing to check out the eye. Putting up very little resistance while being examined, the conclusion was that One Eye’s eyelashes were growing on the inside of his right eyelid. The irritation must have been extremely uncomfortable, but unfortunately there was nothing the medic could do to remedy the condition. The Marines suspected that One Eye would suffer through continuous eye infections and probably eventually lose his sight in that eye – or even lose the eye.
Being a cat in Iraq with impaired vision would most likely result in death at an early age. Not willing to accept this fate for One Eye, a Marine launched a quest to get this affectionate and trusting cat to the states. After doing an on-line search the determined Marine found Operation Baghdad Pups and the process to alter a cat’s fate began.
On January 14, One Eye got his first glimpse of America. Given a day to recover from his long journey from the Middle East, the recent immigrant was driven by Operation Baghdad Pups volunteer, Danielle Berger, from Washington, DC to the Garden State Veterinary Specialists in Tinton Falls, New Jersey. Dr. Thomas Scavelli had contacted SPCA International in September 2009, to offer the services of the hospital at no charge to those dogs and cats rescued by the program that might be in need of special veterinary care. The timing of this generous offer could not have been any better for One Eye.
Ophthalmologist Petra Anna Lackner performed the surgery to correct the genetic disorder that One Eye had, known as Feline Coloboma Syndrome. It is an embryologic defect that results in malformation and incomplete formation of both upper eyelids. As a result of this malformation the hairs of the upper eyelid roll in towards the cornea and causes severe corneal irritation. Dr. Lackner was able to successfully destroy and remove the irritating hairs in not only One Eye’s right eye, but his left one too. When this news reached the Marines in Western Iraq that had so diligently cared for One Eye and his littermates, they were excited for their buddy. “It’s an awesome feeling that this actually came to fruition,” the Marine who found Operation Baghdad Pups said. “Giving One Eye a better life is what we all wanted and with the help of SPCA International we made it happen.”
One Eye is living the good life in Colorado being spoiled by the Marine who altered the fate of his now “Two Eye” war time buddy that was fortunate enough to be found by a group of Americans who did the right thing and saved the lives of some innocent kittens, and in One Eye’s case – his sight.