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Pearl Tjoa
Pearl Tjoa, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 51
Experience:  Veterinarian with over 6 years experience in Small Animal Emergency and General Practice
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I have a 2 month old rat terrier. yesterday afternoon he was

Customer Question

I have a 2 month old rat terrier. yesterday afternoon he was acting very weird, couldn't see, this morning he was fine, this afternoon he did it again,. took him to the vet and the vet stated he was blind. he wouldn't follow light, hand gestures or anything. what would cause temporary blindness like that?
JA: I'll do all I can to help. What is wrong with the terrier?
Customer: he could not see yesterday, this morning he was running and playing and was fine, now he can't see again
JA: Strange behavior is often perplexing. I'm sure the Veterinarian can help you. What is the terrier's name?
Customer: BoBo
JA: Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about Boob?
Customer: no ma'am...the vet says his heart rate and everthing is perfect, he just can't see suddenly
JA: OK. Got it. I'm sending you to a secure page on JustAnswer so you can place the $5 fully-refundable deposit now. While you're filling out that form, I'll tell the Veterinarian about your situation and then connect you two.
Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Pearl Tjoa replied 6 months ago.

Hi, I'm Dr. Pearl and I will try to answer your question. Were any tests or treatments done while you were at the vet yesterday?

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
No ma'am
Expert:  Pearl Tjoa replied 6 months ago.

There could be a number of causes to temporary blindness. Most likely, it is due to something that is affecting the brain. For example, if there was an undetected seizure, low blood sugar, some sort of toxin that may still be around, or an abnormality he was born with.

Expert:  Pearl Tjoa replied 6 months ago.

Does he seem sick in any other way? Does this seem to resolve with feeding, or if he has not eaten in a while?

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
No ma'am not sick in any other way
Expert:  Pearl Tjoa replied 6 months ago.

In case of low sugar, I would try to put some karo syrup on his lips or allow him to eat and see if there is any improvement.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
He doesn't seem to want to eat. His head is constantly moving.
Expert:  Pearl Tjoa replied 6 months ago.

That sounds like a "seizurelike" event. You can try to put some sugar water or karo syrup in his mouth (just a small amount) and see if that helps.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
When you shine the light in his eyes it's not reflecting back
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Would the light reflect back if this was a seizure like event
Expert:  Pearl Tjoa replied 6 months ago.

With a seizure, they are not likely aware of you, and may not respond to light. He is probably not aware of you at the moment if he is having a seizure. It is hard to tell if this will be a temporary event this time around. I would recommend if he does not respond to sugar to bring him back to the vet to see if they can do some labwork. I would be worried about other diseases he may be born with that can be affecting his brain or an organ. Liver disease (since a puppy, one they are born with) can also be a cause of this type of symptom.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
If it was temporary blindness would the light reflect back when shined in his eyes? His eyes have also taken on a gray glassy look to them when they used to be brown
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
He is aware people are around. When my daughter walked inside he ran into the door trying to come in with her
Expert:  Pearl Tjoa replied 6 months ago.

The light can reflect back only if you are shining directly into the tapetum, which is in the very back of the eyes. This is not affected by "cortical" or brain related blindness. This is only related to blindness directly in the eye. It may or may not reflect back depending on how you are holding the light and where you are looking, so this is not a great test to see whether or not he is blind. It is better to just wave and see if there is a response. Temporariness is also not determined by anything physical.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
The vet shined the light in his eyes.
Expert:  Pearl Tjoa replied 6 months ago.

The vet was probably looking for pupillary light reflex, which is the pupil size constricting or becoming smaller in response to the light. If this happens, it basically tells you that the blindness is not in the eye itself, but the brain (the brain is not getting messages from the eyes).

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
what exactly does that mean? Could it be temporary because of low blood sugar?
Expert:  Pearl Tjoa replied 6 months ago.

Besides a low blood sugar, which is the only cause you can try to treat yourself by feeding or supplying sugar, there are so many causes for this condition. I would recommend that if he does not respond to eating or sugar, to have him seen for a full workup, staring with labwork. This may be enough to point you to the cause. If labwork comes back normal, you may elect to continue with a neurological workup that may include ultrasound or CT/MRI which would be more costly.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Thank you for your help
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Would sugar help immediately?
Expert:  Pearl Tjoa replied 6 months ago.

You are very welcome. Usually within minutes.

Expert:  Pearl Tjoa replied 6 months ago.

The brain needs sugar to function, and it can get it very quickly once consumed. Do no forcefeed too aggressively to avoid choking, but try to supply small amounts on the side of the mouth. Do you have any other questions for me?

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Sugar doesn't seem to have helped.
Expert:  Pearl Tjoa replied 6 months ago.

I am sorry to hear that. :( Unfortunately at this point, I would try to get him in for some labwork. On the opposite spectrum, if he has "hepatic encephalopathy" which is a liver shunt, they can have problems clearing out toxins when they eat and high amounts of food can cause temporary brain issues including blindness or abnormal behavior. This would require a very thorough workup, but is common in small breed dogs. These are just the more common problems, but there could be others. Hopefully your veterinarian will be able to help you find out what the cause is. I hope this information helps you. Do you have any other questions for me?

Expert:  Pearl Tjoa replied 6 months ago.

If you cannot get him in to the vet right away for testing, here is what I would recommend. Because he does not seem to be ill in any other way, and the blindness did come and go, my top guess would be that he has a liver shunt because he did not respond to sugar, and the other causes are less common. I would recommend that until you can get him in, give him small frequent meals. For example, divide the amount you usually feed for the day into 6 to 8 meals so he is not eating too much at any one time. If this seems to help his condition, it may give you an idea that there may be a toxin-clearing issue (or in his case the likelihood of a liver shunt). Does that make sense?

Expert:  Pearl Tjoa replied 5 months ago.

Hi, just wanted to follow up and see how Bobo was doing. Hopefully he is doing okay!