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Although sudden onset blindness occurs in cats, it’s likely that most cases are simply sudden awareness by the owners of a progressive loss of vision.
Causes of sudden blindnessCauses of blindness range from injury and tumors to infections and loss of function of a part of the eye such as the retina or lens. Optic neuritis or inflammation of the optic nerve is relatively uncommon in cats but does occur and is associated with viral infections (feline infectious peritonitis), protozoal infections (toxoplasmosis), and fungal infections (cryptococcosis). High blood pressure (hypertension) is frequently associated with a loss of vision and is one of the more common causes of retinal detachment, according to the Veterinary Vision, INC.
Retinal degeneration can also cause blindness and results in a loss of the light sensory cells in the retina.
Mike has more than 35 years of experience in companion animal veterinary practice and is a valued member of IDEXX’s Pet Health Network team since 2013. Hyperprolactinemia can be a result of a pituitary tumor, the most common cause of galactorrhea. Primary hypothyroidism can rarely cause galactorrhea in children and adults but should be considered in the differential diagnosis.
The secretion of hypothalamic prolactin inhibitory factor can be repressed by neurogenic stimulation leading to hyperprolactinemia and galactorrhea.1 Prolonged breast stimulation associated with suckling, self-manipulation, or stimulation during sexual activity also may cause galactorrhea.
The patient was switched to buspirone 10 mg daily for anxiety to avoid an SSRI link to galactorrhea, and she responded well to this change.
Medication-induced galactorrhea in adolescents is rare, but because of the increase in use of SSRIs in adolescents it should be included in the differential diagnosis.

Dr Dawson is chief of Adolescent Medicine Services, Carl R Darnall Army Medical Center Pediatric Clinic, Fort Hood, Texas. All comments must follow the ModernMedicine Network community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated. Are you aware of the newly released CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain?
Since pets lead generally sheltered lives and don’t rely on reading the fine print of life, gradual loss of vision may be so unapparent to owners that only once it progresses to total blindness do they become aware. Many are unavoidable and many are progressive but your awareness and understanding of the disorder is important, if a treatment or management plan is needed. The term “optic neuritis” compromises all diseases of the optic nerve that cause deterioration and usually produce a sudden visual field problem or total loss of vision in one or both eyes.
For example, SSRIs can induce extrapyramidal symptoms, hyperprolactinemia, galactorrhea, and mammary hypertrophy, as well as gynecomastia. The tumor produces prolactin or blocks the passage of dopamine from the hypothalamus to the pituitary gland. In these patients, there is increased production of thyrotropin-releasing hormone, which can stimulate release of prolactin.1 Decreased hypothalamic dopamine secretion and decreased clearance of prolactin can lead to hyperprolactinemia. Galactorrhea completely resolved over the course of several weeks once the SSRI was discontinued. She has nothing to disclose in regard to affiliations with or financial interests in any organizations that may have an interest in any part of this article.

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I have seen a few cats that, when presented for annual physical examination, shocked their guardians by being blind in one eye.
The elevated blood pressure causes damage to the blood vessels in the retina resulting in bleeding or fluid seepage. Up to 30% of patients with chronic renal failure have decreased clearance of prolactin leading to elevated levels and subsequent galactorrhea, although this is rare.
Sertraline-induced galactorrhea: case report and review of cases reported with other SSRIs. Hyperprolactinemia and galactorrhea induced by serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibiting antidepressants.
The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and do not reflect the official position or policy of the Department of the Army, the Department of Defense, or the United States government.

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