Update - My dog's suddenly gone blind

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by Pupsnpullets, Jun 16, 2008.

  1. Pupsnpullets

    Pupsnpullets Songster

    Mar 9, 2008
    SoCal desert
    I was away for 4 days, Thurs-Sunday, and went to pick up my dogs from my elderly neighbour when I got back. Both dogs were fine. It wasn't til I unpacked my truck and was hand feeding them a couple of cherries each that I noticed my aussie wasn't looking directly at me and his eyes were staring. I started really observing him and he's as blind as a bat!! No injury, no redness, no tears ... and no sight. His behaviour is exactly the same, except he walks into things. He tried to help me with the chickens this morning, his totally favorite chore, and was totally confused.

    He's already fallen in the swimming pool. I don't know whether to be gutted or freaked out. I'm totally in shock.

    He's a 7.5 year old with absolutely no health issues up until now. He hasn't even had fleas!!!
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2008
  2. nccountrygirl

    nccountrygirl Songster

    Jul 31, 2007
    Sanford N.C.
    I would get him to a vet ASAP, there might be some medical reason for the blindness like Diabetes or a brain tumor of any number of problems. Keep us updated with his prognosis. Good Luck.
  3. Last edited by a moderator: Jun 16, 2008
  4. SusanJoM

    SusanJoM Songster

    I am so sorry for you and for your dog.

    About 6 months ago I adopted an 11-year old blind dog. He's a doll and I adore him. I can give you a couple of resources to look up for help.

    There's a wonderful book called Living With Blind Dogs by Caroline Levin. This is a wonderful resource.

    There's also a website/chat group called blinddogs.com

    So far almost all of the resources I have found have dealt with people in your situation: people whose dogs have gone blind. You will find that everything you already know about your dog will help you to help him/her to get along in this new sightless world.

    Last edited: Jun 16, 2008
  5. Quote:What color are his eyes? What color is he?
  6. Pupsnpullets

    Pupsnpullets Songster

    Mar 9, 2008
    SoCal desert
    Thanks for all your suggestions. I've already determined that he hasn't had a stroke and isn't diabetic. The vet is thinking at this point something congenital or something to do with the sun and light sensitivity.

    I'm too upset to make any meaningful decisions yet but the pool situation has got to be dealt with.
  7. Pupsnpullets

    Pupsnpullets Songster

    Mar 9, 2008
    SoCal desert
    Blue-eyed blue merle with copper points and white chest, throat and ruff.
  8. [​IMG] Let us know what you find out....
  9. Merle Aussies have a long list of possible genetic issues, unfortunately.

    Merle Occular Dysgenesis

    This is in associated with homozygous merles. With the problems associated with the homozygous merles several eye problems can develop these include but are not limited to: Micropthalmia (abnormally small eyes) Coloboma, Cathartics, subluxated pupils, and PPMS.

    Another possibility:
    Progressive Retinal Atrophy
    Progressive retinal degeneration (PRD) is also known as progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) and refers to retinal diseases that cause blindness. Some breeds have blindness by abnormal development of the retina and this is called dysplasia. Other breeds have a slowly progressive degeneration or death of the retinal tissue and this is degeneration. These two types of diseases affect many breeds. In general these diseases are thought to be inherited but inherited differently in each breed. In all animals with PRD the outcome, age of the patient and what the veterinary ophthalmologist sees are the basis for the classification of exactly what type of condition the patient has. Different breeds of dogs have variations in the age the problem starts and speed with which the blindness develops. As the name PRD implies, a slow death of retinal tissue occurs. It is a slowly progressive disease and the earliest signs may be overlooked. As stated above, these diseases are known to be passed from parents to offspring even though the parents may have normal eyes. Therefore, identification of breeding animals with PRD is essential to prevent spread of this condition.

    To better understand PRD, a basic understanding of the function of the retina is needed. The retina is a highly complicated tissue located in the back of the eye. Light strikes the retina and starts a series of chemical reactions that causes a nerve impulse. The impulse passes through the layers of the retina to the optic nerve and from there to the brain where vision takes place. In the retina, cells called rods are involved with black and white or night vision and cells called cones are involved with color or day vision. Progressive retinal degeneration may effect the rods alone, the cones alone or both the rods and cones together.

    Progressive retinal degeneration is not a painful condition so your pet will not have a reddened eye or have increased blinking or squinting. For this reason most owners will not notice the early stages of the condition. Some owners will notice an abnormal shine coming from their pet's eyes. This abnormal shine is because the pupils are dilated and don't respond as quickly to light as pupils of normal dogs. The earliest signs of PRD include night vision difficulties that in most cases will progress to day blindness. Owners will often remember that their pets seemed disoriented when going out to the yard at night and they had to leave a light on for them. Night blindness may be manifested by a pet that is afraid to go into a dark room. Occasionally these pets will get lost in their own home after the lights have been turned off.

    The veterinary ophthalmologist examines the retina with an instrument called an indirect ophthalmoscope. Changes in the retinal blood vessel pattern, the optic nerve head, and the reflective substance within the dog's eye called the tapetum can be seen which are classic for PRD. However in some breeds PRD characteristics have little or no early changes. The eyes of these dogs may appear normal until they are in the later stages of the disease. Progressive retinal degeneration will progress at different rates in different breeds. This variation causes difficulty in determining just how long any particular dog will continue seeing.

    Longer list of possibilities:
  10. glowworm

    glowworm Songster

    Jun 10, 2008
    SacraTomato, CA
    I'm so sorry about your aussie!

    As for as merle aussies go, its only the lethal whites (merle to merle breeding resulting in homezygous merle) that have many health defects. Normal Merle aussies are as healthy as any other color dog.

    If your aussies white is just where you said it is, I don't think its related to what equibling said.

    As for as him falling in the swimming pool, can he not find his way out on his own? or is it him getting wet? You didn't say anything about having stairs...that's good!

    What diagnostic tests have been run so far? are his pupils still contacting normally to light?


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