The Old Blind Dog & Other Sight Problems
An old blind dog - Many Causes, Many Ways to Deal.
The lack of visual perception is referred to as blindness. This can be due to a variety of neurological or physiological factors. To be classified as legally blind, there must be a severe level of visual impairment. This lack of sight can be caused by diseases such as glaucoma and macular degeneration. Injuries can also cause the ability to see to be lost. Sometimes it is congenital.
In the old dog there is the presence of age related blindness. Our canine companions are living longer and longer due to improvements in disease prevention and treatment. This extension of their lifespan has created the need for awareness about many of the issues facing older dogs.
Blindness is one potential issue for an old dog. Age related blindness can occur as a result of cataracts. Many older dogs develop this problem which is characterized by what appear to be cloudy eyes. Symptoms that a cataract is causing vision problems would include clumsiness or bumping into furniture. If your pet is exhibiting any of these behavioural signs, a visit to the veterinarian is in order. There is treatment available for cataracts.
Glaucoma is another cause of blindness in a dog of advanced age. This can be a painful condition, unlike in humans when it is usually painless, and involves excess fluid pressure in the eye. Symptoms include tearing, an enlarged eyeball, obvious irritation and the tipping of the head to one side. This is a serious condition and requires immediate treatment.
Age related blindness can also be attributed to progressive retinal atrophy (PRA). This disease results in the gradual deterioration of the retina resulting in partial or complete loss of sight. Symptoms include difficulty seeing at night evidenced by reluctance to venture outside at night and dilated pupils. The dog may also become clumsier and move more cautiously.
Fortunately, the life of an old blind dog can be managed by its owner. A pet with age related blindness can still have a happy and healthy life with some modifications by their owners. If your pet has problems seeing at night, leave lights on throughout the night. Always keep food, water and toys in the same spot so your pet can find it. Be diligent about obstacles in the home keeping paths clear. Realize that your dog will want to be close to you. You are their source of safety and security. Blindness does not equal the end of life for a dog. It is a manageable condition for both you and your faithful companion.
Although my old dog Pippa's eye sight is relatively good for her age I have noticed that it is not as good as it was and she now tends to identify people much more by scent.
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