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Dog blindness

Dog Blindness Symptoms, Causes and Treatments

Canine blindness is a condition in which a dog suffers impairment of vision in both eyes.

The onset of blindness in dogs could be gradual or all of a sudden and they may suffer from either partial or total loss of site.

Blindness usually occurs in both the eyes. The eyes have a structure that receive the reflection of images and process it. However, if any of these structures are disrupted, the process becomes impaired and the dog's eyes are not able to process images.

In the case of a dog going blind gradually, the structures deteriorate over a period of time. The dog may be quite old by the time vision loss occurs. The visual pathways get broken and the brain is therefore not able to process the image.

However sudden dog blindness is also common. This is also often known as acute dog blindness. In this case, the dog loses vision in both its eyes suddenly and simultaneously, often leaving the dog confused.

Dogs are highly regarded for a number of traits – chief amongst them being their high sense of loyalty as well as the fact that provide a certain amount of protection to their owner and can be easily trained to live within a domestic environment. While they are one of the most common of all domestic animals, it is important to remember the important role that they play in our entire social structure. Dogs are regularly used for a number of dangerous as well as important roles in policing forces as well as a number of security setups. There are also a number of ‘seeing eye’ dogs that are specifically trained to help a blind individual move around and provide companionship.

However, not many people stop to think what kind of life a dog will lead if it were blind. Because of the very strong bond that an owner has with his animal, hearing that your dog suffers from puppy blindness or dog cataracts resulting in it having lost all vision can be quite heartbreaking.

The first thoughts that any owner has will usually be shrouded in grief, stress, pity and sadness as he comes to terms with the fact that the dog will not be able to see anymore. After these initial emotions, any dog owner will then start to question whether he or she can provide a high quality life to the blind dog. Studies have shown that a number of owners, as a result of a combination of these various emotions, will consider putting their dog to sleep. However, because of medicine having evolved significantly over the last few years and the fact that so much research has been performed into the study of puppy blindness, there are a number of changes that you can make around the house that will allow your puppy to have a more full and comfortable life.

Causes of Dog Blindness

  • Severe or prolonged corneal diseases,
  • Uveitis,
  • Cataracts which cause the eye lens to become opaque,
  • Inflammation of the retina due to any infection,
  • Detachment of the retina due to an injury,
  • Elevated pressure inside of the eye for a long period of time,
  • Pressure on the optic nerve due to an injury or a disease,
  • Impairment of the visual pathways,
  • Diseased occipital cortex.

Dog Blindness Signs and Symptoms

  • Clumsiness and bumping into things. The dog may also appear to be disoriented.
  • The dog is often unable to find its sleeping place, toys, food or water.
  • The dog appears to be lazy and inattentive. It begins to sleep a lot more than usual.
  • It gets easy to startle the dog. Even if the dog had a reputation of being ferocious, it starts to get scared easily.
  • Little interest is show in any playful activity or outdoor exercise.
Understanding the signs of dog blindness is important because in case of the root cause of the condition being an eyesight degenerative issue which is common in a number of breeds, the condition will develop over a period of time. Look to see if your dog moves around the house with confidence or seems a bit tentative when negotiating the furniture arrangement. In the cases of other medical ailments being the root cause of the condition such as puppy blindness after seizure as well as dog blindness after seizure, you might want to check with your veterinarian about any other problems that have developed as a direct result of the seizures. Dog cataracts are another very common problem and a prevalent cause of dog blindness.

Dog Blindness Treatments


The doctor may ask for a complete physical examination. There is also an ophthalmic examination that is necessary to find an exact cause. A neurological examination of the dog is usually advised. Tests to rule out dog diabetes blindness can also be asked for. The treatment depends completely on the cause of the blindness. Blindness can be as emotionally challenging for your pet as it may be for you. It is important to give proper dog health care during this difficult time. A pet takes some time to get accustomed to this new condition and therefore till that time, keep the dog in a safe place, where it cannot bump into things or injure itself. Place your dog's food and water in a place which is known to your dog and where it's easy for the dog to access it.The best form of dog blindness test will be to rearrange the furniture in your house, put off the lights and see if your dog is able to negotiate the rearranged furniture with ease and confidence or not. Once you have observed its movements in this phase, put on the lights and look to see again if the animal is a little tentative in his movement or even bumping into a few things. A completely blind animal will perform the same way in both phases of the exercise, while a partially blind dog will be confident with the lights on, but will have substantial trouble with the lights off. A dog with proper vision will have absolutely no trouble in either instance of the dog blindness test. Some cases of dog blindness treatment may require a significant amount of medication so it is important to consult your veterinarian at least once and have him or her perform a routine checkup on the problem. Dog cataract surgery costs can be rather expensive, however, but will likely be a necessity in case you want your pooch to see properly again.
  Submitted on September 30, 2011  

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