My Miniature Schnauzer Is Blind From Glaucoma. Facts And Information About Canine Glaucoma
My Miniature Schnauzer, Baby, With Glaucoma
Glaucoma In Dogs Is The Same Condition People Get
Glaucoma in dogs is the same as in humans. . The major difference is we humans have our eyes checked from time to time (hopefully) by an Ophthalmologist. As part of that examination, the Ophthalmologist will do a pressure test on the eyes to make the diagnosis.
There is no cure for glaucoma. Humans with glaucoma need to continue treatment for the rest of their lives. Because the disease can progress or change silently, compliance with eye medications and eye examinations are essential, as treatment may need to be adjusted periodically.
The major difference between glaucoma in dogs and glaucoma in humans is by the time you realize your dog has vision problems caused by glaucoma it is already too late to save the dog's vision.
Baby May Be Blind, But She Is Still Beautiful.
Some Causes Of Blindness In Dogs
There are several conditions that lead to a dog’s blindness.
Diabetes It’s estimated that one in 10 dogs worldwide will eventually become diabetic.
SARDS Perhaps the most tragic and scariest of conditions is Suddenly Acquired Retinal Degeneration Syndrome
Cataracts. This is a condition where the normally transparent lens turns cloudy preventing light from reaching the retina, can result in partial or total blindness.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) . This is an inherited condition where the cells of the retina deteriorate causing blindness.
Glaucoma. Permanent blindness can occur within hours if the pressure in the eye is high.
The Day I Realized My Dog Could Not See!
About a year ago, I noticed a white spot on my seven year old Miniature Schnauzer's left eye. I mentioned this to my Veterinarian at the time of her annual examination, but he shrugged it off, saying it was just a “Florida sunspot”. He assured me not to worry.
Six months later, the white spot seemed to be getting larger as time went on. I began to see signs Baby could not see very well. When I would throw her tennis ball, she would misjudge where the ball was. She could always catch the ball and bring it back to me. I could throw her ball from the bottom on the stairs, and she never failed to catch it in her mouth and let it drop back down to me.
When she ran right into a large trash dumpster on our daily walk, I knew beyond all doubt, my dog could not see.
I Take My Dog For A Second Opinion
As time went on, I could see her right eye appeared to be swollen and blood shot.
I took Baby to another Veterinarian for a second opinion. He advised me to take her to a Veterinary Ophthalmologist immediately!
After conducting several tests, he told me my dog had glaucoma and was blind in the right eye! After examining her left eye, he could see signs she had diminished sight in that eye also. The first tissue to die when glaucoma occurs is the optic nerve. He further explained there was nothing that could be done to save her sight. The damage had already been done. There were no signs of glaucoma in the left eye; however, he did say she has cataracts that are causing blindness in that eye. So, now my little dog is completely blind.
I Now Have Two Hard Choices To Make
The Veterinary Ophthalmologist's recommendation: Do a complete blood workup to rule out diabetes and any other underlying causes, but in the meantime try glaucoma medications in both eyes, but he warned this was only a temporary solution. While anxiously awaiting the results from the tests, I diligently used the drops.
I returned to the doctor in two weeks. All her blood work came back within normal limits. His diagnosis: glaucoma. I now had a choice of either having a procedure done called Ciliary Ablation OR Enucleation .
Ciliary Ablation: Under local anesthesia, the eye is injected with Gentamicin. Eventually the eye itself will actually shrink, but this relieves the pressure in the eye. This pressure causes great pain to the dog, I'm told.
Enucleation (eye removal) :The eye is removed and the eyelids are permanently closed.
I Decided To Have The Ciliary Ablation Done
After discussion with the Ophthalmologist I opted for the Ciliary Ablation. There is a great difference between the cost of both procedure. The Ablation would cost $268.00 versus the eye removal cost of $1,143.00. The cost for these procedures will probably differ in different parts of the U.S.
I could not bear the thought of seeing my little dog's eyelid being sewn shut after the eye was removed.
Baby had the procedure done in the office. She was only there for about an hour. I took her home with instructions to use drops in the eye, and she has to wear this protective cone until her checkup in two weeks. He was insistent about this. I have to protect the eye from infection, etc.
Baby With The Protective Cone
I Began To Prepare For My Dog's Blindness
I broke down and cried after hearing my dog was completely blind. It would have been difficult enough if she had gradually gone blind, but this happened so suddenly. I was totally unprepared.
I busied myself researching blindness in dogs to learn all I could about glaucoma, and to prepare myself for the changes in her life (and mine).
I joined several groups of forums for people with blind dogs, and I joined a great group of FaceBook people who shared their stories of their blind dogs and helpful tips on living with a blind dog. One groups has over 3,000 members.
That gives one some idea of just how many of us are dealing with a dog that has lost their sight.
Baby Is Depressed
Owners Feel Guilty Their Dog Has Gone Blind
I am told owners of blind dogs go through the same feelings of guilt (maybe if I had just noticed the changes in the eyes sooner), the sadness, and the longing for the old dog we once knew.
The little dog who loved to play fetch, do lots of tricks (including jumping through a hoop), swimming, playing with other doggie friends, going to the dog park, and walking two miles every day is gone now. It's as though my dog died, and in her place, I have this sightless dog who is very fearful and depressed.
I am told dogs go through a period of depression. They just don't understand why their world has suddenly become dark.
I try very hard not to let her know how sad I am. We are told our feelings are transferred to our dog, so I try to be upbeat and talk to her in my most cheerful voice. Every night I roll her tennis ball to her, hoping she will go after it, but she ignores it completely. I am advised by other people with blind dogs someday she will play ball again.
I know my dog's sight can never be restored, and I am resigned to that. I will make her life as comfortable and happy as possible.
She has given me so many hours of companionship and happiness; now I have the chance to repay her in my small way.
Baby Likes To Nap On The Carpet Runner I Put Down
I Use A "Walking Stick" To Assist Me In Walking Baby
Some Of The Things I Have Done To Help My Dog With Her Blindness
Some things I've done to make life easier for Baby:
- I have pinned jingle bells to the legs of my Jeans so she will know where I am.
I laid carpet runners through the house to make paths for her.
I bought a harness for her. I won't use a collar because that would make pressure on her eyes.
I always say her name before I touch her so she is not startled.
We go the same route for our daily walks. She has “mapped” out our route very well.
I talk to her much more, and always use a cheery tone of voice.
I try very hard to allow her to do things on her own. I don't “help” her too much by picking her up to assist her. I want her to learn to be independent.
To prevent her from bumping into furniture, I never move any piece of furniture.
I keep the grass cut low in her yard so no pieces can get into her eyes.
I made a “walking stick” and use that instead of a leash. I can guide her better with the stick.
If I have to go out and she will be alone, I leave the television or radio on for her.
I have taught her many words to help her navigate easier, like: “Up” before we get to a curb, “Left” or “Right” before she bumps into a wall or any other object.
I smeared peanut butter on her doggie door so she could find it.
This Has Been A Learning Experience For Both Baby And Me
Blindness in my Miniature Schnauzer, Baby has, and continues to be, a learning experience for both of us. I know she will always live in a dark world, but I promised her I will do all I can to help her have a comfortable and happy life. So, I feed her homemade chicken and rice because she loves that. She will probably gain some weight, but I really don't care!
If you have a dog who is blind like my Miniature Schnauzer, Baby, I would encourage you to go to the available forums found on the web. Join a couple of these, and you will get good advice from people going through the same experience. I have enjoyed sharing with those people.
If you notice your dog's eyes changing in ANY way like swelling or excess redness, run, don't walk, to your Veterinarian.
When Baby Could See, She Watched For Squirrels.
In Happier Days, Baby Played With Her Tennis Ball
This Border Collie Has NO eyes, but watch her play ball.
alexadry wrote a valuable article about the symptoms of Glaucoma
- Glaucoma Symptoms and Treatment in Dogs
Glaucoma is a silent condition that can steadily take away a dog's vision. Recognizing early symptoms is very important for a better prognosis and treatment.
- My Miniature Schnauzer Has Trained Me Well
Having a dog like my Miniature Schnauzer has taught me many lessons I should have learned long ago. She has taught me patience and has contributed to my good health by her daily walk and our play.
- My Miniature Schnauzer Has Canine Intervertebral Disc Disease
Canine Intervertebral Disc Disease, or Disc Herniation: my personal exerience with my Miniature Schnauzer who has this dsease.
Have you ever had a blind dog?
© 2015 Mary Hyatt