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  • Change in appetite
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Posts Tagged ‘Dog Eye Diseases’

Living with a Blind Dog

Monday, July 18th, 2016


Living with a blind dog can be a challenging undertaking, both for the dog and for its owner who now must be the eyes for both of them.

A dog who suddenly develops blindness is usually able to adjust to living life without its vision which has been an important and indispensable sense all its life.

More than likely your dog has a good appetite which will not be affected by the loss of sight. Just help guide your pet to its food and water bowls until it gets used to locating them itself. Some owners whose dogs have lost their sight find that adding a little lemon to the water bowl gives the water a scent the dog can detect from a distance.

To properly care for your dog and to be sure that you are helping it all you can, you may need to make some adjustments to your living space. The first thing you’ll probably notice is that your pet will bump into furniture and other objects around the house that it used to avoid without a second thought. It can take a while before your dog gets re-accustomed to the layout of your house and learns how to get around without bumping into furniture. To quickly illustrate how much of a problem this can be for your dog, close your own eyes and try maneuvering around your rooms without bumping into things.

If you have furniture with sharp corners, place foam pads on the corners to prevent serious injuries if your pet should bump into the sharp edges.

Don’t change the layout of your rooms in the early stages of your dog’s blindness. Keeping your furniture in the same positions allows your blind dog to familiarize itself with its suddenly “new” surroundings. Be extra careful not to leave large or sharp objects lying around on the floor if your dog is not used to encountering them in the room. Leaving something lying around that you wouldn’t even think could be a problem may end up injuring your dog.

If you have stairs in your home, don’t let your dog climb up and down them unless you are sure it can easily and safely maneuver them.

Your dog is probably used to going outside to play or simply relieve itself. Look carefully around your yard to check for rakes, mowers, or any other large objects that could cause injury to your pet.

If you have a swimming pool you’ll need to watch your dog carefully when it’s outside because it’s very easy for the dog to accidentally fall into your pool and possibly drown if you’re not there to help. If it’s not feasible to place a fence around your pool you’ll need to be aware of the dog’s whereabouts the entire time it’s outside.

After your dog has lost its sight it will take some time before it can begin to rely solely on its sense of smell and hearing rather than using its eyesight also. Helping your dog find objects when it’s having trouble adjusting will speed the process of it adapting to the blindness as long as you don’t do everything for your pet, making it completely dependent on your assistance.

Living with a blind dog does not mean you’re now charged with the responsibility of caring for an animal that will require your constant attention. The quicker you can help your pet adjust to this new way of life, the easier it will be for both of you and the sooner you’ll regain the full attention of your loving pet again.

Cataracts and Eye Problems in Dogs

Monday, May 4th, 2015


One of the most common conditions that affect a dog’s eyes are cataracts. The formation of cataracts in dogs can be caused by various things. All breeds and ages of dogs can develop cataracts but certain breeds are more susceptible to cataracts than others; among these are Cocker Spaniels, Poodles, Miniature Schnauzers, and Terriers.

Cataracts are an interference of lens fibers that obstruct sight by blocking clarity in the lens, either partially or totally. Smaller cataracts may not disrupt a dog’s vision at first, but the cataract could grow in size and density and cause a dog to lose its sight entirely if the cataract is not removed.

Cataracts that form in dogs over 6 years of age are called “senile cataracts.” When cataracts develop much earlier than this they are called “developmental cataracts.” Developmental cataracts can be hereditary or caused by trauma, infection, toxicity, or diabetes. “Inherited cataracts” are common in Standard Poodles, Afghan Hounds, Miniature Schnauzers, Old English Sheepdogs, and Welsh Springer Spaniels.

Congenital cataracts are present at birth; developmental cataracts develop early in a dog’s life; senile cataracts occur in dogs over six years of age, and inherited cataracts occur independently or in association with other visual diseases. Cataracts can also be caused by a trauma related to an auto accident or an object penetrating the eye. In trauma cases, the lens becomes damaged and a cataract may develop.

As a dog ages, eye health becomes a major concern. Over time, free radicals can cause oxidative stress on the cells of the eyes, and as a consequence, dogs have more difficulty fighting oxidative stress as they get older.

Exposure to oxygen and sunlight causes a chemical reaction in the cells, and the lens of the eyes are affected by this oxidative action because the lens acts as a light shield for the retina. Blood flow also decreases as the animal ages, resulting in nutrients being slowly depleted from the eye, causing even more stress and damage.

Dog cataracts are not a problem you might face only if you have an older dog. Cataracts can form at a fairly early age in some breeds. Afghan Hounds can develop cataracts at age 6-12 months, American Cocker Spaniels at 6 months or slightly older, German Shepherds at 8 weeks, Golden Retrievers at 6 months or later, Labrador Retrievers at 6 months or later, Siberian Huskies at 6 months or later, and the Standard Poodle at a year or later.

Cataracts are easy to identify by their white or bluish-white appearance in the pupil of the eye. If you suspect that your dog has or is developing cataracts or an eye problem, contact a veterinary ophthalmologist immediately.

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