Sad but true, blindness in dogs is one of the common problems afflicting many dogs. This permanent vision loss in dogs is associated with a range of health problems. While in certain cases, the dogs may be blind from birth, in most cases, vision loss may happen over a period of time, so much so that even the dog owner may not be aware of it.
This is because dogs have a remarkable sense of adaptability and can thus compensate for the vision loss with astounding ease. In case of acute or sudden onset of blindness, this adaptability may be slowed down. Here is a look at the causes, the symptoms, and the treatment for this blindness.
Here is a list of some of the common health problems that might result in blindness.
- Retinal inflammation and infection
- Retinal detachment
- Corneal disease
- Anterior and posterior uveitis
- Optic nerve diseases
- Diseases affecting occipital cortex
- Injuries and eye tumors
It is observed that dogs suffering from diabetes mellitus, high blood pressure, or Cushing's disease are increasingly prone to suffering from cataracts or the development of white opacity in the eye lens. An untreated eye infection or strokes are some problems that result in temporary or permanent blindness.
Dogs in their old age may suffer from hazy vision or complete eye blindness. Certain diseases such as glaucoma and uveitis may be painful for the dogs and may thus necessitate an eye surgery.
In addition to these diseases, it is observed that certain dog breeds are prone to suffering from eye disorders and blindness. For example: retinal atrophy, a disease that causes the retina to deteriorate affects Collies, Poodles, Schnauzers, and Cocker Spaniels more than the other breeds.
Similarly, retinal dysplasia affects Labrador retrievers and beagles, thus resulting in the displacement of the retina and blindness in specific dog breeds.
The onset of blindness in dogs is difficult to point out as the other senses of the dog are acute enough to compensate for the blindness. However, you may need observe changes in dog's behavior such as clumsiness and bumping into things, inability to locate the food bowl, startled easily, loss of interactive behavior, and confusion in strange surroundings.
Most of the time, the dog would be quite inattentive and just stay rooted to a spot. If the onset of the vision loss was a gradual one, then most probably the dog would have no problems in adjusting to the familiar surroundings.
However, in case of a sudden vision loss, dogs have less time to adapt and may therefore appear disoriented and confused. In such a case it is best to take your dog to a veterinarian for immediate treatment.
Other diagnostic tests include complete blood count, serum tests, corneal and conjunctival cell samples, and CAT or MRI scans. Based on the diagnosis, the vet may address the cause of the disease and recommend effective treatment.
As a pet owner, it can be painful for you to know that your dog has been diagnosed with blindness. However, instead of panicking, you need to understand that you need to create an environment for your dog that is safe and congenial for it.
Keep your home free from obstacles that might harm your dog and do not rearrange furniture or other objects in the house. Keep the verbal communication loud and clear and always speak to the dog when entering the room or petting it.
Disclaimer: This is for informative purposes only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of a veterinarian.