Hazel is a Pit Bull who was abandoned. Something that might have been caused by her blindness at the time. Fortunately, Hazel was rescued before being fostered by a kind-hearted couple named Elli and Sam. They went to great lengths for the dog. This can be seen in how Elli and Sam adjusted their home so that Hazel could wander about without getting hurt. Furthermore, this can be seen in how they put some serious effort into finding her a forever home. Despite the odds, Elli and Sam succeeded, as shown by how Hazel was adopted by another kind-hearted couple named Allison and Pete. Subsequently, Hazel got surgery for her eye condition, thus enabling her to see once more. Allison and Pete didn’t just help her make a smooth recovery from the surgery. They also brought Hazel with them to visit Elli and Sam, thus enabling her to see her former foster parents for the very first time.
What Causes Blindness In Dogs?
Vision loss is a common issue for dogs. However, it is important to note that it isn’t a single problem with a single cause. Instead, vision loss can happen for a wide range of reasons. To name an example, dogs can get cataracts in much the same manner as humans. For those who are unfamiliar, this is when a part of the lens becomes cloudy. A dog’s chances of getting cataracts can increase because of factors such as trauma, radiation, genetics, diseases, and poor nutrition. As a result, older dogs have higher chances of getting cataracts. In any case, cataracts are very recognizable because the cloudiness of the lens is very evident from the outside. Moving on, glaucoma is another common cause of vision loss. Once again, it isn’t a single thing. Instead, glaucoma refers to an entire group of eye diseases that cause damage to the optic nerve. Similarly, macular degeneration is also another common cause of vision loss. It happens in older dogs because it is the aging-related damage done to a part of the retina called the macula. Other causes of vision loss include but are not limited to cancers, infections, and even high blood pressure. Some people might be surprised by the last one. If so, they should know that high blood pressure can cause the retina to outright detach from its proper place.
Unfortunately, the signs of vision loss in dogs aren’t guaranteed to be as noticeable as what interested individuals might expect. Some of the potential signs are very clear. For example, a dog might start bumping into walls. Similarly, a dog might start having problems finding their food as well as their favorite toys. Other potential signs are much less so. Often-times, a dog that is experiencing vision loss becomes more anxious. The problem is that there are a lot of things that can cause a dog to become more anxious, meaning that there is no guarantee that interested individuals will be able to connect it to vision loss. Something similar can be said for other potential signs such as increased clinginess and even increased aggression. The last one can happen because vision loss can make dogs more fearful, thus increasing their chances of lashing out as a way of keeping themselves safe. It should be mentioned that dogs aren’t as reliant on their vision as humans are. As a result, they have been known to adapt very well to vision loss on their own. When that happens, interested individuals might not realize that a dog has experienced vision loss until they either bring the dog to an unfamiliar environment or make a familiar environment into an unfamiliar environment by rearranging things. The chances of this are particularly high when the vision loss happens bit by bit rather than all of a sudden because that gives the dog more time in which to adapt.
What Can Dog Owners Do About Blindness In Dogs?
There are a number of things that interested individuals can do if they are concerned about their dog suffering from vision loss. For starters, they should bring their dog to their veterinarian for regular check-ups. By doing so, interested individuals can increase the chances of potential issues being detected sooner rather than later, thus enabling intervention sooner rather than later as well. With dogs as with humans, earlier treatment tends to make for better outcomes. Furthermore, even if earlier treatment can’t prevent vision loss, earlier detection still means more time in which for interested individuals to prepare for the new state of things.
In case it needs to be said, blind dogs are perfectly capable of living happy, healthy lives. However, there are a lot of things that can be done to make it easier for them, as shown by the mentioned example of Elli and Sam. Some of these things are relatively simple. For instance, interested individuals should put either a bell or something else capable of making noise when moved on everyone in the household. That way, the dog will be able to tell whenever someone is moving about. Other things are more complicated. For example, it is a good idea for interested individuals to teach their dog a couple of new commands to help them out. One would be “watch,” which tells them that there is something in front of them. Another would be “step,” which tells them that there are stairs in front of them. Similarly, interested individuals might want to spend some time on their dog’s eye-level to check for things that can pose a threat to them. The sharp corners are the classic example of something that can hurt blind dogs when they run into them. Unfortunately, there are plenty of others that will need to be adjusted in one way or another. On top of this, interested individuals should spend some time helping their dog establish some routine paths. One common example would be the path from their bed to their food. Another common example would be the path from their bed to the back door. Initially, interested individuals will need to guide their dog. Over time, their dog should be able to adapt to a considerable extent because of their other sense. Of course, interested individuals should make sure to keep the paths clear from that point forward.