Blindness in dogs is hard to notice because they use their other senses to compensate. Our vets from Clovis offer tips to spot early signs of vision loss and what to do if you suspect your dog is going blind.
Spotting Vision Problems in Dogs
Dogs are amazing creatures and are considered as close friends and family members by many people. If your dog's eyesight decreases over time, it may take a while for you to notice. However, dogs that are visually impaired or blind tend to memorize the layout of your home and can navigate around obstacles with ease. It's important to be aware of the initial symptoms of blindness in your dog so that you can get them diagnosed and treated as soon as possible, which may help to prolong their vision.
Symptoms of Vision Problems
Dogs may experience vision loss due to various reasons such as aging, an injury, or other health problems.
Here are some common signs and symptoms of vision loss that you may notice in your furry friend:
- Pawing at the eyes or face
- Eyes become cloudy
- Bumping into objects
- Changes in behavior that indicate anxiety or hesitation in new places
- Reluctance to go up or down stairs, or jump onto furniture
- Swollen, puffy or inflamed eyes
- Obvious eye irritation or pawing at face
- Confused, dazed, easily startled
Possible Cause of Dog Vision Issues
As dogs age, they may experience different levels of vision loss, ranging from minor to complete blindness. This can also happen due to genetic factors, sickness, or injury. However, blindness in dogs may not always be the main problem but rather a sign of an underlying condition, such as heart disease, kidney or liver disorders, or other systemic diseases.
Conditions That May Cause Blindness in Dogs
When dogs have cataracts, their eyes become cloudy and this can prevent light from reaching the back of their eye. It's important to catch cataracts early so that your dog can get surgery to help keep their eyesight.
Diabetes is quite common in dogs, especially in older large breed dogs, female dogs that are breeding, dogs with poor nutrition, and overweight dogs. Dogs with diabetes are likely to develop cataracts, which can cause complete or partial blindness in over 75% of cases.
Glaucoma is a painful condition that can harm your dog's eyes. However, it can be treated. Early diagnosis is essential for the best treatment results. Your dog may have glaucoma if you notice a yellow or green discharge from their eyes, dilated pupils, bloodshot eyes, or if they have a delayed reaction to bright light. If you see any of these symptoms, contact your vet as soon as possible. Remember that if left untreated, glaucoma can cause partial or complete blindness.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) is an inherited condition that slowly damages the retina, which can lead to blindness in both eyes. Because of its slow progression, it can be hard to notice, and your dog may adjust to their vision loss. PRA doesn't cause pain, but it can cause the retina to deteriorate over time.
Sudden Acquired Retinal Degeneration Syndrome (SARDS)
Sudden Acquired Retinal Degeneration Syndrome (SARDS) is a condition that damages the retina and causes blindness in both eyes. Unlike PRA, which also harms the retina, SARDS leads to blindness rapidly, often within days or weeks. This is especially tough for dogs since they don't have much time to adjust to the sudden loss of vision.
Treatment of Vision Problems in Dogs
Talk to your vet if you think your dog is having trouble seeing. Vision problems usually don't go away by themselves, and getting help early is important to prevent your dog from losing sight. Your dog's vision problems could be a sign of a bigger health problem, so it's important to have your vet examine them thoroughly. By scheduling an appointment with your vet, you can take steps to prevent any further issues and possibly even save your dog's eyesight.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.