|If Dogs Could Talk|
Donít Lose Sight: Vision Tests For DogsBy Amber Keiper
Imagine waking up one day and finding your life is dark - literally. Your vision is blurred and your eyes have difficulty adjusting to light and dark. How would you feel? How different would your life be?
For many people and pets, this is how the beginning stages of blindness feels.
Leading Causes of Canine Blindness
Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness in the United States 1 and while it is estimated that over 2.2 million Americans have glaucoma, only half of them know they have it 2.
And humans are not the only ones who can contract this disease. Our dogs are just as susceptible to glaucoma and blindness as we are. That is why it is so important to have regular vision tests done – because while glaucoma is not preventable (as many people often believe) it is treatable if caught early enough.
Besides glaucoma, there are many other causes of canine blindness, such as: cataracts, damage to the eye, inflammation or pressure to the retina or optic nerve, severe corneal disease or trauma, sudden acquired retinal degeneration syndrome (SARDS), and uveitis.
There are also certain dog breeds that are naturally inclined to suffer from blindness which include the:
Signs And Symptoms Of Blindness
While some dogs may experience sudden blindness, it is far more common for blindness to develop over time.
Here are some signs to watch out for in your dog:
If you begin to notice any of the above-mentioned symptoms, it is a good idea to create a written record of the occurrence. Document the date, time and duration of each occurrence as well as a detailed description of the behaviors you’re seeing. If the symptoms become more apparent or if you suspect the condition is getting worse, it’s time to take your dog to the vet for a proper diagnosis.
Other physical signs of blindness include redness or blood in the eyes, dilated pupils, cloudiness in the eyes, and damage to the eye or surrounding areas.
Diagnosing & Treating Dog Blindness
The best way to determine if your pet is experiencing blindness is to have your veterinarian conduct a vision test on your dog.
The first thing your veterinarian will do is a complete physical examination. This is similar to your pet’s annual check-up with a few notable differences. First, your vet will want to do some blood tests and a urinalysis to determine your pet’s overall health as well as rule out things like canine diabetes and hypertension (both of which can cause blindness).
Then there is the vision test.
There are various forms of vision tests that a veterinarian could conduct. They may exam the dilation rate of your pet’s eyes when exposed to light and darkness. Another vision test method is called the “cotton ball test” which is pretty simple in that your vet will drop a cotton ball right at the edge of your dog’s field of vision to see if they react. Finally there is the “menace response” or blink test which basically observes whether your dog blinks in reaction to an object moving towards him quickly. In this test, the eyes are checked separately to determine whether one eye is weaker than the other.
Once your veterinarian determines the cause of your dog’s blindness, they will discuss with you the various treatment options available. Some standard treatment methods include medicated eye drops, therapy, steroids, or surgery.
There have also been quite a few medical discoveries in both human and canine ophthalmology over the years that have improved the possibilities in treating our pets for blindness. In 2007, a research team from Iowa State University, led by Dr. Sinisa Grozdanic discovered that an experimental treatment using intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg) was able to treat and reverse blindness in two dogs that suffered from SARDS3. Intravenous immunoglobulin is a human blood product that contains antibodies from the plasma of thousands of blood donors. It is used to treat immune deficiencies, inflammatory diseases and autoimmune diseases.
Of course there are also some natural alternatives out there that are recommended for preventing and treating canine blindness. Here are some quick tips:
For more information about canine blindness, visit the American College of Veterinary Ophtamologists website at www.acvo.org.
1: American Optometric Association, www.aoa.org, 2008 2: The Eye Diseases Prevalence Research Group, Arch Ophthalmol. 2004 3: Iowa State University (2007, May 31). Blind Dogs Can See After New Treatment For A Sudden Onset Blinding Disease. ScienceDaily. Retrieved June 13, 2012, from http://www.sciencedaily.com¨ /releases/2007/05/070531094241.htm
Amber Keiper is the Marketing Assistant and Raw Diet Educator for BARF World Inc.. She and her husband have two former rescue animals that are now healthy and proud "BARF brats" - a terrier mix named Chewbacca ("Chewy") and a tabby mix named Chiquita ("Chiqui"). For more articles like these and to learn more about the benefits of raw food for your pets, sign up for The Intelligent Pet monthly e-zine at www.barfworld.com.
|Bark Out Loud|
Facebook Saves Stray Dog
A community effort in Memphis, TN, partially orchestrated through Facebook, helped to save the life of the stray dog (pictured right) that had a plastic container stuck to its head. The pup was in danger of starvation and was not able to defend itself in the proper situation.
Luckily this story has a happy ending and shows that selfless acts still do exist.
Read more on this community rescue HERE
Wags of Wisdom:"Spread the diaper in the position of the diamond with you at bat. Then fold second base down to home and set the baby on the pitcher's mound. Put first base and third together, bring up home plate and pin the three together. Of course, in case of rain, you gotta call the game and start all over again." ~Jimmy Piersal, on how to diaper a baby, 1968
It would seem that something which means poverty, disorder and violence every single day should be avoided entirely, but the desire to beget children is a natural urge. ~Phyllis Diller