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Homeless kitten who can’t blink will get eyelids

Candice Williams
The Detroit News

Butterfly, a homeless kitten who can’t blink, will get a new look on life when she undergoes surgery Monday to give her eyelids.

BluePearl Veterinary Partners donated the operation for the 5-month-old kitten, who is under foster care through the Humane Society of Huron Valley in Ann Arbor.

“This kitten is fantastic,” said Wendy Welch, spokeswoman for the Humane Society of Huron Valley. “She is really playful. Just a great spirit. She loves people. We’re just really happy BluePearl can do this for us.”

Butterfly was born with bilateral eyelid agenesis, a congenital defect where the upper eyelids have not fully formed.

Because she can’t blink, Butterfly’s eyes don’t properly moisten. Her foster care provider has to give her eye drops several times a day, Welch said. If she doesn’t receive treatment, her eyes would scar due to dryness and lack of protection.

“Bless that foster for doing that,” Welch said. “That’s extreme dedication.”

During the three-hour operation Monday, a rectangle of tissue will be taken from inside Butterfly’s upper lip and be sewn against her eyeball to form a new “eyelid,” according to BluePearl. The tissue contains a mucous membrane like the inside of an eyelid.

She’ll develop the ability to blink over time, said Dr. Gwen Sila, a board-certified veterinary ophthalmologist with BluePearl.

“This is a complex operation but we’re working to give her a good outcome,” Sila said in a release Friday. “Butterfly is a beautiful kitten and we’re excited to have the opportunity to help her see properly.”

After her surgery, the kitten will return to her foster home until a permanent home can be found for her.

Those interested in contributing to Butterfly’s aftercare can visit the Humane Society of Huron Valley at www.hshv.org.

cwilliams@detroitnews.com

(313) 222-2311