An adult female Indian crested porcupine (Hystrix indica) was diagnosed with bilateral immature cataracts. Based on electroretinography and ocular ultrasound findings, phacoemulsification was only indicated for, and performed on, the left eye (OS). Postoperatively, analgesics (1% atropine sulfate OS BID), anti-inflammatories (1% prednisolone acetate OS QID and prednisone 20 mg PO BID), and antibiotics (0.3% ciprofloxacin OS TID and enrofloxacin 136 mg PO SID) were administered. Corneal edema, moderate aqueous flare, and severe keratoconus developed within seven days of surgery. Prednisolone acetate OS was increased to six times daily and 0.03% flurbiprofen OS TID was initiated. Hypertonic saline (5%) OS TID to QID was instituted to decrease corneal edema. Within five days, the cornea was less edematous and assumed a less conical contour. The cornea remained cloudy with neovascularization evident 1 month postoperatively. Cyclosporine (0.2%) OS BID was instituted to reduce corneal granulation and pigment development. All medications except flurbiprofen and hypertonic saline were discontinued within 2 months after surgery. Over the next 5 months, the corneal edema and keratoconus continued to resolve. A mild corneal scar and corneal edema remained at 31 months postoperatively. Corneal edema was completely resolved at 40 months postoperatively with only a minor corneal scar remaining. Hypertonic saline was continued indefinitely to prevent recurrence of corneal edema. Keratoconus is a rare complication of cataract surgery in domestic animals. Further investigation and additional cases are needed to determine whether these complications are more common in porcupines than other taxa.
The authors are grateful to the technical staff at Long Island Veterinary Specialists for their assistance during the procedure and to the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Special Animal Exhibits keepers who care for this animal on a daily basis.