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Help with a blinding dog

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Help with a blinding dog

Old 03-20-06, 12:48 AM
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Help with a blinding dog

About 3 weeks ago our dog Josephus ("Joe") had more seizures (3 in 9 days) and our regular vet referred us to a couple of specialists; a neurologist and an opthamologist, because I've been complaining about his poor eyesight for months, although the vet hasn't seen anything wrong with his eyes. This time he thought maybe the two were connected somehow. He thought that maybe the seizures were being caused by leisions on his brain, if not just plain old epilepsy. I decided not to put him on any medication until after we could determine what was really going on with him.

So I took Joe in to see the Opthamologist first and she confirmed for me that he had poor vision. In fact, she says that he had NO blood supply to his retina at all, and that he will be completely blind within 6-12 months. Being that Joe is only 2.5 years old, she was surprised at how fast acting it was. On top of that, he at some point will probably need to have his eyeballs removed because he's now more succeptable to getting cataracts, which are extremely painful. In fact, all too often when animals have them, the owners dismiss their shitty behavior as them just "being old and crabby" instead of realizing how much pain they're in and doing something about it. So the choice is to have him on pain meds and totally lose his personality, or to remove the eyes and have them sewn shut and take away all the pain and also protect them from harm. What a choice.

The neurologist appointment went well. Nothing neurologically wrong with him. His seizures are not life threatening; he's in perfect physical and neurological health. We put him on some salt water type stuff that won't have any type of side effects instead of the phenobarb in order to avoid the seizures.

So has anyone had this happen before or do you have any tips on how to raise/train a blind dog? He's a little Italian Greyhound, just 10.5 pounds, really spunky. I feel so bad for him. I wonder if getting another dog would be a good idea, or if we did, should we get another hanidcapped dog? Having kids obviously is good because he has more of us to lean on and trust. I have heard to put some vanilla around his food dishes so he knows where they are - and to put a scent on his toys - and when it's playtime to rub his toys on his cheek. He runs into things already and is hurting himself. I hate it.

"HEY JOSEPHUS!"

Old 03-20-06, 01:29 AM
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Animals in general have an amazing ability to cope with short-comings. Your dog can learn how to deal with its lack of vision, but I am sure you can do things to help it out. For instance pair sounds with visual commands.

-p
Old 03-20-06, 01:56 AM
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I don't have any experience to offer, but I will say I'm pleased and impressed that you're sticking with your dog for the long haul and making plans for his safety and comfort. Too many people discard theit pets when some minor adversity hits, and what your dog is facing is (to me, at least) pretty severe and scary. Getting another dog now might be a good idea - I've heard of dogs that become like "guide dogs" to other blind dogs through close companionship. If you go that route, I'd recommend a low-key breed.

Best of luck to you and Josephus. He's lucky to have you.
Old 03-20-06, 02:00 AM
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I know there's a seeing eye dog joke but I'll leave that to Groucho.


Good luck with this-I'm sure he'll adapt well to his affliction and his sense of smell be even a valuable skill.

Our dog has cataracts but can still seem okay. However he's pretty much deaf but he's still doing fine. BTW, he's 16 years old and a 30 pound dog so we're surprised he's still around.
Old 03-20-06, 10:37 AM
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Okay first, you don't have to worry about your dog coping. Dogs have whiskers on their faces and throats that aid in feeling their way around, just like cats do, and even sighted dogs rely on their whiskers.

Second, she has an olfactory sense that is a million times stronger than yours and can also rely upon that for navigating.

You can still walk her. Just be aware of her surroundings. She will not feel comfortable if you come upon another dog. Let people know she is blind and for them to keep their dogs away from her.

She will also hear you just fine.

I test for glaucoma on dogs and cats every day. It's part of the comprehensive exam package the hospital offers. Glaucoma is the number one cause of blindness in dogs because when the pressure gets really bad the eye has to be removed. Unfortunately Glaucoma is common in some of the smaller breeds, particularly the breeds with buggy eyes like Shih Tsus, Pugs, King Charles Spaniels and Italian Greyhounds. I am not sure if Glaucoma is something that is inherited, but I do know that a lot of show dogs are tested for congenital eye problems within their breeds.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) IS a congenital problem in most breeds. And before you say mutts are healthier, yes they can get PRA, too. I've seen it a number of times.
Old 03-20-06, 10:51 AM
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I've known a few blind pets and they were fine. Just remember you can't go around the house rearranging furniture on a whim, woman.

Last edited by AGuyNamedMike; 03-20-06 at 11:09 AM.
Old 03-20-06, 11:00 AM
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He's such a cutie, Melba. I hope he does ok.
Old 03-20-06, 01:31 PM
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Originally Posted by mllefoo
Okay first, you don't have to worry about your dog coping. Dogs have whiskers on their faces and throats that aid in feeling their way around, just like cats do, and even sighted dogs rely on their whiskers.

Second, she has an olfactory sense that is a million times stronger than yours and can also rely upon that for navigating.

You can still walk her. Just be aware of her surroundings. She will not feel comfortable if you come upon another dog. Let people know she is blind and for them to keep their dogs away from her.

She will also hear you just fine.

I test for glaucoma on dogs and cats every day. It's part of the comprehensive exam package the hospital offers. Glaucoma is the number one cause of blindness in dogs because when the pressure gets really bad the eye has to be removed. Unfortunately Glaucoma is common in some of the smaller breeds, particularly the breeds with buggy eyes like Shih Tsus, Pugs, King Charles Spaniels and Italian Greyhounds. I am not sure if Glaucoma is something that is inherited, but I do know that a lot of show dogs are tested for congenital eye problems within their breeds.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) IS a congenital problem in most breeds. And before you say mutts are healthier, yes they can get PRA, too. I've seen it a number of times.
He doesn't have glaucoma. He just doesn't have any blood supply at all running to his retina. He also doesn't have PRA, which is common in his breed. His blood vessels just died off. We may have linked it back to bad breeding.
Old 03-20-06, 01:32 PM
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Originally Posted by AGuyNamedMike
I've known a few blind pets and they were fine. Just remember you can't go around the house rearranging furniture on a whim, woman.
Darnit Mike. You ruin everything.
Old 03-20-06, 01:37 PM
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oh, he's such a cutie!
Old 03-20-06, 02:09 PM
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Vanilla by his food? This is a dog. They have a keen sense of smell. I'm sure he'll find his food just fine without any silly odors to guide him.

And you say that he's in perfect shape neurologically. If that's true, what accounts for the seizures?
Old 03-20-06, 02:21 PM
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I have no experience with blind animals but had a friend with a cat who had to get one of it's legs amputated. The animal compensated and lived a long healthy life as animals are very adaptive. I'd suggest putting padding on sharp corners for a while till the dog learns the layout and using scent & audio cues now while the dog still has some sight so it can get used to the before going through a traumatic surgery. Good Luck.
Old 03-20-06, 02:25 PM
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When I was a kid, I had a Cocker Spaniel who, in the later years of his life, was both deaf and blind, and he compensated. Lived like that for the last 3 years of his life.

Animals are amazingly resillient creatures. And I'm happy to see you not giving up on your dog.
Old 03-20-06, 02:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Numanoid
Vanilla by his food? This is a dog. They have a keen sense of smell. I'm sure he'll find his food just fine without any silly odors to guide him.

And you say that he's in perfect shape neurologically. If that's true, what accounts for the seizures?
Hey, that's the board certified neurologist with 32 years of experience speaking, not me. As for the vanilla, you have to train a newly blind dog a few new tricks. I agree with you, you'd think they'd just know. but apparently that's not always the case.
Old 03-20-06, 03:35 PM
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Oh . . . I see . . . so my earlier advice wasn't enough, eh?





Old 03-20-06, 03:43 PM
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Originally Posted by talemyn
Oh . . . I see . . . so my earlier advice wasn't enough, eh?





Nooooooo! Your advice was great, perfect, excellent, just what I needed and all of that. I was looking through this book that the Vet gave me and thought I'd look for some more information on the web and then thought I'd post something here too. Where the heck have you been anyway?
Old 03-20-06, 03:58 PM
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Originally Posted by melbatoast
Nooooooo! Your advice was great, perfect, excellent, just what I needed and all of that. I was looking through this book that the Vet gave me and thought I'd look for some more information on the web and then thought I'd post something here too. Where the heck have you been anyway?
Ebb and flow . . .
Old 03-20-06, 04:04 PM
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Originally Posted by talemyn
Ebb and flow . . .
Old 03-20-06, 05:01 PM
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You could send your dog to kvrdave, he could take care of it for you!
Old 03-20-06, 05:08 PM
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Originally Posted by themovieguru
You could send your dog to kvrdave, he could take care of it for you!
Uh NO!
Old 03-20-06, 06:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Bronkster
I don't have any experience to offer, but I will say I'm pleased and impressed that you're sticking with your dog for the long haul and making plans for his safety and comfort. Too many people discard theit pets when some minor adversity hits, and what your dog is facing is (to me, at least) pretty severe and scary. Getting another dog now might be a good idea - I've heard of dogs that become like "guide dogs" to other blind dogs through close companionship. If you go that route, I'd recommend a low-key breed.

Best of luck to you and Josephus. He's lucky to have you.
I agree. So many people just give up on their pets. Good for you for sticking with the dog. I have never heard of this happening at such a young age. We had a dog with cataracts and it got worse to the point where we had to have it removed (he was 14) and he got around sufficiently with one but two, well, I dont know about that. Maybe do a search on the internet
Old 03-20-06, 06:21 PM
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Thank you guys. We really love this dog more than I can explain. He has been the best pet both of us have ever had and I can't imagine being without him. His little personality just fits in so well with our family, epecially once we had the little one. Those two are so cute together. In fact, he whines if she's at grandmas for the day.

Pets should be regarded as family in some respect. I can't stand it when people go and pick up a dog or a cat, then later decide that it's too much trouble to take care of them or they can't afford to feed them, etc. and go give them up to a shelter or a friend. That pisses me off. It's one thing to be in dire straits and have no choice but to give your pet a better life than you can provide for them, but it's another to just abandon them because you can't handle it anymore.

On the other hand, we were dreading having to spend thousands of dollars if he needed to have brain surgery or something like that. I was very happy to find out he doesn't have any lesions on his brain! We'll just have to make some minor adjustments and keep a closer eye on him.
Old 03-20-06, 07:05 PM
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Cute dog. I've known many people who have had pets that went blind and they were fine. You just have to watch over them a little more. I've never heard of a dog having it's eyes removed! That's sound terrible. Hopefully, your pooch will be ok.
Old 03-20-06, 07:21 PM
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Originally Posted by melbatoast
Pets should be regarded as family in some respect. I can't stand it when people go and pick up a dog or a cat, then later decide that it's too much trouble to take care of them or they can't afford to feed them, etc. and go give them up to a shelter or a friend. That pisses me off. It's one thing to be in dire straits and have no choice but to give your pet a better life than you can provide for them, but it's another to just abandon them because you can't handle it anymore.
Old 03-20-06, 08:45 PM
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Originally Posted by melbatoast
He has been the best pet both of us have ever had and I can't imagine being without him. His little personality just fits in so well with our family, epecially once we had the little one. Those two are so cute together. In fact, he whines if she's at grandmas for the day.
That is so true. Joe is just like one of the kids. He's also a damn good vacuum

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