Blindness in Dogs – A list of causes and symptoms & treatment guide

A Complete Guide to Blindness in Dogs…

Unfortunately blindness in dogs is more common than you might actually think.

The causes of this problem may be due to a variety of reasons and your pooch may even be born that way.

However, it is much more common for dogs to develop vision loss over the cause of a few months  – similar to when humans lose their sight.

Below we have listed some of the most common causes of blindness and vision problems in dogs…

1. Inflammation of the retina.

2. Infection of the retina.

3. Detachment of the retina.

4. Glaucoma.

5. Disease affecting the cornea.

6. Cataracts.

7. Your dog may suffer from an injury to the eye which may cause sight problems.

8. Disease or diseases affecting the occipital cortex.

9. Posteria and Anterior uveitis.

10. Cushings disease can also affect your dog’s sight – leading to cataracts (a misty covering of the eye lens).

11. Strokes are also a cause of blindness in dogs – this can happen suddenly either leading to a temporary state of blindness or it may lead to permanent loss of sight.

12. Loss of sight can also be caused by disease affecting the optic nerve.

How do vets determine whether your pooch is blind…?

For a vet to diagnose whether your dog is blind he or she will need to perform a few tests on your pooch.

1. The first stage to determine whether your dog has lost his sight is for the vet to check that their is no illness that is causing the loss of sight. Consequently the vet will need to perform…

2. A physical examination to check that their are no physical causes to the loss of sight.

3. The vet will then need to perform am opthalmic examination – but this depends on whether the vet is qualified in this area to do it (otherwise your dog will be referred to the necessary practitioner).

4. Finally the vet will need to perform a neurological examination.

5. The vet may also take some blood.

6. The vet may also decide to take some cerebral spinal fluid and perform tests.

7. The vet may also decide to perform a CT or MRI scan on your dog to further examine the causes and help diagnosis.

8. Sometimes a simple test is also performed in the veterinary surgery – this is when vet uses a threatening gesture directly in front of your dog – if your dog then blinks then this will help to determine whether your dog has completely lost his sight. Blindness in dogs and puppies is as debilitating as it is in humans and can seriously affect a pets life.

Treatment for blindness in dogs and puppies…

Unfortunately the treatment for blindness depends completely on the diagnosis. However, the most common cause of blindness in dogs is a nerve disease called Optic Neuritis.

Causes of Optic Neuritis can include meningitis which inflames the eye, distemper, infection or a tumor.

Unfortunately in a recent study, 12 dogs that were treated for the underlying causes of their loss of sight – 5 of the 12 were still left blind after the treatment.

If your dog has suffered a retinal detachment then he will need to be treated fast. The reason for this is that the lack of blood to the eye will cause the sight and eye to deteriorate rapidly. If the detachment is only partial or your vet manages to catch the problem early then some sight may be preserved – speed is the key.

If you found this page useful why not take a look at our page dedicated to the many different types of eye problems to affect dogs.

Did you know?

1. To determine how much sight a dog has lost the vet may also set up a small obstacle course in the surgery and watch and monitor how well your dog copes with the obstacles.

2.Sometimes specific conditions can cause your dog to have problems seeing at night – one condition that is associated with this problem is Progressive Retinal Atrophy – by watching your dog move around at night this may help you to determine whether your dog has developed vision problems.

Take a look at the video below on how to care for a dog that is blind.

How you can help a a dog that is visually impaired...

It is true that once a dog starts to lose his sight all of the other senses become sharper and more sensitive.

In fact dogs that are visually impaired are actually far more able to manage than you may think, they just have to rely on their sense of smell and hearing a little more than they did before.

Below is a brief guide on what you can do to help your visionally impaired dog…

1. Make sure you let your dog know how well he is doing. Give him lots of praise and plenty of rewards to let him know how well he is adjusting to life without sight.

2. Try using simple commands that your dog can remember. Speak clearly and use the same commands every-time.

3. Make sure that you have your dog’s ears examined on a regular basis as your pooch will rely more and more on his hearing.

4. Make sure that the area around the House is free of difficult obstacles. Keep the floor plan around the House the same as this will keep everything nice and familiar for your pooch.

5. When you do leave the House make sure that your dog is attached to a leash. Remember that other cyclists and drivers will not be able to determine if your dog is able to see or not.

6. When you do leave the House make sure that you leave the radio on as this will stop your dog from feeling isolated or developing separation anxiety.