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Mia Carter
Mia Carter, Animal Expert
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 822
Experience:  Specializing in the training and care of ill pets and special needs animals! Mom of 22 pets!
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Can dogs go blind If so how does this happen How do I ...

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Can dogs go blind? If so how does this happen? How do I tell? Can this be fixed?
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Mia Carter replied 8 years ago.
Hello there.

There's all sorts of things that can cause blindness in dogs. There are diseases and illnesses that affect the structure of the eye, like glaucoma or cataracts - leading to blindness. Injury is a very common cause, where the structures such as the lens or optic nerve are damaged. Impacts to the head can also cause blindness, either by damaging the part of the brain that handles vision or an impact to the side of the head can cause the eye to literally pop out of the head (protrusion), which damages the optic nerve in one or even both eyes. Infection can also cause damage.

There's a few ways to determine if a dog is blind in one or both eyes. In the case of vision loss in one eye, the dog may walk close to and bump into walls on the blind side (it's the equivalent of taking out your passenger's side mirror on your car because you didn't realize you were as close to whatever object broke the mirror). You can also test reactions to visual stimuli, although this can be difficult since dog's compensate with their sense of smell. One way is to drop cotton swabs on the very edge of the dog's vision field and see if they respond.

Blindness can also be diagnosed by the reaction of the pupils to light. In bright light, the pupils get smaller, In dim light, the pupils dilate to allow in more light. If a dog is blind, you will see little or no reaction. The eyes also both react in essentially the same way and a response in one triggers the same response in the other, so in a dog with one blind eye, you can shine a flash light in the blind eye, and the opposite eye will not react. This means that light isn't being processed by the blind eye, so the opposite eye doesn't react because the bad eye isn't seeing the light.

As for whether blindness can be fixed, it depends on the exact problem. In many cases, surgery or medication can help repair some of the damage or problem. But even if your dog is blind in both eyes, I think you'll find that it's not all that noticeable, as they compensate incredibly well with their other senses.

And as always, your vet can perform examinations to confirm whether your dog is suffering from blindness.

Here's a few links to learn more:
http://www.petplace.com/dogs/blindness-in-dogs/page1.aspx
http://www.amorak.net/ArticlesCaringForBlind&VisuallyImpairedDogs.html
http://www.animed.org/dogs_and_cats_blindness.htm

Let me know if you have any additional questions!
****Please ACCEPT if my answer was helpful!***

-Mia Carter
Pet Expert
http://www.eyevet.info/blind.html
Mia Carter and 4 other Dog Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Reply to Mia Carter's Post: Thank you. What is it that I can give him to help with this? Does this effect his heath?
Expert:  Mia Carter replied 8 years ago.
Hello there.

In terms of your dog's health and the affect of blindness, a lack of vision doesn't have an adverse affect on your dog's health per se, but the cause for the blindness could have additional adverse effects. Glaucoma, for example, involves increased pressure within the eyeball, which is painful and can lead to ruptures and all sorts of other problems, so this is a situation where it would have additional adverse effects on his health. An infection is another situation where other aspects of his health could be adversely affected. So it's important to determine the exact cause of his vision loss.

In terms of giving him something to help with blindness, there's no magic medicine that can cure him, but he may be able to re-gain some vision if the cause of the blindness is something treatable. So again, it really depends on the cause.

Blindness actually doesn't affect dogs in the profound way in which it affects a human. In fact, if you meet a blind dog, you may not even realize his condition, as they compensate very well with smell and hearing. There are a few measures you will need to take in order to make his life more comfortable though.

When out in public, you need to alert people that your dog is blind if they ask to pet him. Blind dogs can startle and even lash out due to their lack of vision, so it's important for a new person to alert him to his/her presence by speaking to him and allowing him to sniff their hand before any petting occurs (which is good practice and should be done with all dogs anyways!)

Another measure that you'll need to take is to keep his environment constant. Rearranging all of the furniture one day isn't a good idea with a blind dog, as he'll navigate with his memory and other senses. If you do need to re-arrange, it should be done gradually, one piece at a time.

On walks, you'll need to lead him, so it's important that he remains at your side rather than ahead of you. You should also use caution if he's outdoors alone. He should always be in a fenced area and you'll need to provide markers, like windchimes, that can help orient him.

Your dog may also become more anxious when you're not right near him. Dogs like to know where we are within the home, so you can guide him to your location or talk to him as you leave a room so he can hear where you're going. Bells or jingling collars on other pets can also be helpful.

For more information on owning a blind dog, visit:
http://www.blinddogs.com/tips.htm
http://www.ehow.com/how_17611_train-blind-dog.html

Let me know if you have any additional questions!
****Please ACCEPT if my answer was helpful!****

-Mia Carter
Pet Expert
Mia Carter and 4 other Dog Specialists are ready to help you