Jimmy Stewart has seemed to have issues lately with his left eye. I began to notice that it seemed to be sinking or receding and not as out there as the right eye. Then Monday he presented with both eyes being watery and runny and he was squinting. He went to the vet Tuesday and there are no ulcers, scratches, and his eye pressure-checked for glaucoma-was normal. The vet said the eye is receding, the pupils do not match, and the furry skin around it is beginning to droop over it. She thinks this might be due to Horner's Syndrome an issue that has many causes but presents with the symptoms of receding eye, droopy lids, constricted pupils; can also lead to color changes in the ears, increased warmth feeling of the ears.
These are caused by damage to the nervous system that controls the head, the SYMPATHETIC nervous system. There are two branches or trunks of nerves-sympathetic and parasympathetic. They push/pull the eyes and eyelids. The path of the nerves travels from the brain along the spine to the back of the body. Any damage to the body along the way, or in the brain, or in the head, ears or eyes, can damage the sympathetic nerves. This damage can be caused by tumors, cancer, diseases, even physical injury in the legs or hitting the head against something. For dogs, pulling on a collar when being walked on a leash can damage the area around the neck.
You must treat the underlying cause of Horner's Syndrome if one can be found. Most causes or problems will clear up without intervention depending on cause, and the eyes will improve. If symptoms get worse or doesn't respond to treatment, an MRI or ultrasound may be next to look further into the body.
The vet thinks Jimmy might have an ear infection because of his reaction to having his ears checked. She gave us an antibiotic ear cream to use for ten days. If the infection clears up, his eyes should improve. If the eyes do not, then maybe the MRI or try a new medication. It's one of those confounding "keep an eye on it" (no pun) and hope for the best.
But of course my cats can't have something normal. How often does one hear or read about Horner's Syndrome?
Here's an article the vet game me to read: