Comments on the dilemma in the January issue: 'A corneal cat-astrophe?'

Siobhan Mullan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorial (Academic Journal)


In the January issue, a cat with a corneal laceration and protruding iris tissues was brought into your practice. Despite its injuries, it did not seem to show any signs of discomfort. A colleague believed that, based on the Animal Welfare Act 2006, the only viable treatment choices were immediate surgery to repair the cornea, enucleation of the eye or, barring these two options, euthanasia to prevent unnecessary suffering. The owner could not afford to pay for any surgery (In Practice, January 2013, volume 35, pages 46-47). David Williams suggested that the first thing to evaluate was whether the cat was actually in pain, as its behaviour appeared normal, and decide how this might affect the Act's interpretation and the definition of 'suffering'. Second, he wondered whether there was a fourth option available to the cat, taking into account that the 'best' treatment might entail a compromise between its well-being and the financial cost to its owner. Based on this, he suggested prescribing an oral, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory analgesic and a topical antibiotic that would allow the laceration to heal by itself - a treatment that the owner could afford. While admittedly not ideal, as the situation would need to be kept under review in case complications arose, the cat could still live a long life pain-free.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-103
Number of pages1
JournalIn Practice
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2013

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