Thursday, December 30, 2004

Alice and Her Eyes

Alice has been in to the vet a few times in the six years she's lived with us. (She has to go to a vet that's also a raptor rehabilitator. Thankfully there's one only an hour away.) Two of those visits were because she scratched her eye. I swear I felt like a mom who's first child was getting their first shots. To examine Alice's eyes, they had to hold her down, hold her eye open, put in special drops, and look at it with an ultraviolet light. Alice, of course, was doing her screaming chitters the whole time. I was seriously on the verge of tears hearing her screaming away in the exam room. Uff da!

The treatment involved putting a triple antibiotic cream in her eye, twice a day. There was NO WAY we could hold her down for that twice a day without seriously jeopardizing our relationship. So we used her fear of dogs to our advantage. Each time she needed the goo put in her eye, I took her outside, my husband petted the dog, and Alice stood on the glove on my first all bug-eyed. I was able to squirt the stuff in her eye without her even blinking. Worked slick.

This worked for both scratched eyes, which happened less than a year apart.

Alice apparently still scratches her eyes from time to time. Last night was one of those times. It's fairly easy to tell when she's done it--she keeps the scratched eye shut most of the time. It's shut virtually ALL the time with a bad scratch, and only when she's totally relaxed with a very minor scratch. Last night was just a minor scratch, but it was still noticeable by her behavior. This morning she's still favoring it just slightly, but I don't think it's bad enough for a trip to the vet.

So how does she scratch her eye? I've never seen her do it, so I'm not sure. My best guess, though, is that she's not as careful as she should be when she's scratching her face. It's a delicate proposition to itch/scratch your face with such a big old talon! Not having her eye completely closed and being a few millimeters off with her talon would result in scratching her eye. But again, that's just a guess.

I'm hoping it's done bugging her by tonight or tomorrow morning.

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