28 Oct 2023
Dr. Kasturi Bhadsavle Shares Insights on Pet Eye Care, Advancements, and the Vision for Specialized Ophthalmology Services in India - A Conversation with Sunil Dcosta, Founder and Editor of PetZcareindia.
Can you summarize your background and what drove you to specialize in veterinary ophthalmology?
Dr. Kasturi Bhadsavle: Growing up on a farm surrounded by animals and guided by my parents, a cancer immunologist, and a forward-thinking farmer, I felt a calling to become a veterinarian. After graduating from Bombay Veterinary College in 2004, my early experience involved horses at the racecourse. However, recognizing the scarcity of veterinary ophthalmologists in India, I decided to focus on this area during my master's program in veterinary surgery. My passion for veterinary ophthalmology deepened during this period, and I was determined to advance this field in India. Training stints in Israel and the USA under experts like Dr. Ron Ofri further honed my skills. Witnessing animals suffering from a lack of specialized ophthalmic care motivated me to found The Eye Vet Clinics, India's first pure veterinary ophthalmology clinics, in Mumbai and Pune. Restoring vision and alleviating pain in countless animals drives my dedication to this field, aiming to expand specialized ophthalmology services and train future veterinary ophthalmologists in India.
Can you summarize the challenges faced by veterinary ophthalmologists in India and recent exciting advancements in the field?
Dr. Kasturi Bhadsavle: In India, veterinary ophthalmology faces challenges due to a lack of animal eye health awareness and limited specialized services. Addressing this, I actively promoted awareness and established The Eye Vet Clinics, offering specialized ophthalmology services. We're committed to structured training programs in veterinary ophthalmology, collaborating with international faculty to train the next generation of specialists and expand specialized care. In terms of advancements, our clinic now achieves a remarkable 90-95% success rate in cataract surgery for dogs and cats, a significant improvement. We've also made progress in treating glaucoma, a common cause of blindness in dogs, utilizing advanced surgical techniques. Our successful corneal grafting surgeries underscore the elevated standard of eye care we provide, ultimately benefiting the animals we serve.
Identify signs of pet eye issues and stress the importance of proactive eye care?
Dr. Kasturi Bhadsavle: Pet owners should be vigilant and look for several common signs and symptoms to identify potential eye issues in their pets. If you observe redness or swelling in or around the eyes, unusual discharge, squinting or excessive blinking, cloudiness or change in eye color, visibility of the third eyelid, your pet pawing at the eyes, excessive tearing, changes in pupil size or unresponsive pupils, or if your pet starts bumping into objects or shows reluctance to move, it’s crucial to seek veterinary attention immediately. These could be indicative of discomfort, pain, or underlying ocular diseases.
Offer pet owners tips to protect pet's eyes and advise on cautionary measures?
Dr. Kasturi Bhadsavle: Certainly! Maintaining your pet's eye health is paramount. Here are essential tips for pet owners to ensure good eye health and prevent potential problems:
1. Regular Check-ups: Ensure routine veterinary check-ups to promptly detect any early signs of eye problems, enabling effective management and preventing complications.
2. Cleanliness: Keep the area around your pet's eyes clean by promptly wiping away any discharge and trimming hair to prevent infections and irritations.
3. Diet: Provide a meat-based diet for dogs and cats, as they are carnivores and require essential micronutrients like taurine, found only in meat-based diets, crucial for preventing vision loss and heart disease.
4. Protection: Shield your pet's eyes during car rides, as sticking their head out can expose them to potential eye injuries from insects or particles.
5. Avoidance of Irritants: Prevent exposure to irritants like soap, shampoo, smoke, and excessive dust during baths to reduce the risk of corneal ulcers.
6. Observation: Stay vigilant for any behavioral changes, unusual eye appearances, or signs of discomfort, seeking prompt veterinary advice if needed.
Adhering to preventive measures, increasing awareness, and promptly addressing any abnormalities are essential for maintaining your pet's eye health. At The Eye Vet Clinics, we strive to educate pet owners on ocular health's importance and provide comprehensive care and treatment to address any arising issues.
What are common pet eye condition treatments, and how can owners support their pets during and after treatment? Any at-home care advice?
Dr. Kasturi Bhadsavle: Treatment for various eye conditions in veterinary ophthalmology is tailored to the specific diagnosis:
1. Dry Eye: Dry eye, prevalent but often undiagnosed, particularly in certain dog breeds, can lead to severe ocular complications. Treatment involves topical medications to manage infection, pain, and related issues.
2. Ulcers: Typically, ulcers are managed using topical medications to control infection and pain. In more severe cases, surgical intervention like corneal grafting might be necessary for effective healing.
3. Glaucoma: Management of glaucoma includes medications to lower intraocular pressure. Severe cases may require surgical interventions to prevent further vision loss.
4. Cataracts: The most effective way to regain vision in cataract cases is through surgical removal, often replacing the affected lens with an artificial one.
During treatment, pet owners should anticipate frequent veterinary visits to monitor progress and make necessary treatment adjustments. Adhering meticulously to prescribed medication schedules and doses is crucial. Regular follow-up appointments are vital for tracking proper healing and recovery. Using cones or E-collars helps prevent pets from aggravating their eyes during the healing process. Additionally, maintaining cleanliness around the eye area is essential to minimize the risk of secondary infections.
What should pet owners know about a pet's eye surgery, including recovery and risk mitigation?
Dr. Kasturi Bhadsavle: When a pet requires eye surgery, pet owners must grasp the entire process, encompassing pre-operative preparations, the surgical procedure, post-operative care, and potential complications.
1. Understanding the Procedure: The veterinarian or veterinary ophthalmologist will elucidate the specific surgical procedure, its necessity, and expected outcomes. Pet owners should ask questions and clarify any uncertainties.
2. Pre-Operative Tests: Pre-operative tests, including blood work, ocular examinations, and imaging, assess the pet's overall health as most eye surgeries necessitate general anesthesia. Fasting for 6-8 hours before surgery is usually required.
3. Post-Operative Care: Instructions post-surgery may involve administering medications, wound care, activity restriction, and the use of e-collars to prevent self-trauma to the surgical site.
4. Regular Follow-Ups: Scheduled follow-up visits monitor healing, assess recovery, and make necessary adjustments to the treatment plan.
5. Observation: Close monitoring for signs of pain, discomfort, or abnormal behavior is crucial, with prompt communication to the vet regarding any concerns.
Potential Risks and Complications:
Like any surgery, there is inherent risk. Pet owners are thoroughly informed of risks and benefits, and surgery is recommended only when the benefits outweigh the risks.
· Pre-Operative Assessment: A comprehensive pre-operative assessment identifies underlying health conditions requiring attention before surgery.
· Adherence to Post-Operative Care: Strict adherence to post-operative instructions is vital in preventing complications and ensuring a smooth recovery.
· Communication: Regular communication between pet owners and the veterinarian addresses concerns promptly.
· Qualified Veterinary Ophthalmologist: Having surgery performed by an experienced veterinary ophthalmologist ensures the best possible outcome.
What common eye issues affect senior pets and how can owners support them?
Dr. Kasturi Bhadsavle: Senior pets, much like older humans, are more susceptible to a variety of eye-related issues due to the physiological changes associated with aging. Common age-related eye conditions include dry eye, retinal degeneration, lens luxation, corneal endothelial degeneration, etc.
Supporting Aging Pets:
Regular Checkups by experienced veterinary ophthalmologists
Prompt Attention to Eye Issues: Any change in appearance, discharge, or behavior related to the eyes should be addressed immediately.
How can Pet Owners maintain good Long-term eye health for their pets, especially as they Age?
Dr. Kasturi Bhadsavle: Maintaining long-term pet eye health is crucial. Regular veterinary check-ups and a balanced diet are vital. Trim long-haired dogs' facial hair to prevent eye irritation. Before getting a pet, research their breed's predispositions to ocular issues. Promptly seek veterinary care for any eye problems; delay can lead to permanent vision loss.
Introducing a high-standard veterinary ophthalmology training program in India, encouraging aspiring veterinarians to specialize. The Eye Vet Clinics, presently in Mumbai and Pune, deliver top-notch ophthalmic care, handling 600 monthly patients. We extend our services through teleconsultations for distant patients. The plan includes new clinics in Gurgaon and Hyderabad within the next 6 months, striving to elevate eye care for pets nationwide.
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