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Partial Blindness in Dogs

 Submitted by Michael Adams on February 25, 2010

Partial blindness is characterized by a progressive decline in vision. Sometimes, one eye may have a complete loss of vision, while the dog can still see through the other eye. It is generally very difficult to diagnose both blindness and partial dog blindness because they have such a heightened sense of smell and hearing.

On account of this acute sense of hearing and smell, they tend to memorize their surroundings and especially in a closed, home environment, they can completely make up for their loss of vision with their other senses. Owners thus don’t realize that their pets are partially or completely blind until there is a sudden change in the dog’s surroundings that confuse him/her. There are several other symptoms that may indicate a dog’s loss of vision.

For instance, if your dog is having trouble locating his/her food, if he/she is increasingly clumsy, is afraid to step outdoors at night and tends to get lost frequently, then he/she is most probably suffering from a partial or complete loss of vision. Partial blindness and complete blindness tend to develop in older dogs and are generally caused by glaucoma, cataract or progressive retinal atrophy (PRA). These disorders cause a progressive decline in vision and can thus be treated if diagnosed at an early stage. It is thus absolutely essential to get your dog evaluated by a veterinarian as soon as possible if you suspect partial or complete vision decline. Treatment will be most effective if you determine the underlying cause of partial blindness in your pet.

In addition, you can care for your blind or partially blind dog with patience and a few simple tips. Ensure that you don’t rearrange your pet’s everyday environment frequently. Confine him/her in a safe place where things will remain in a fixed, pre - assigned spot (especially food and water bowls and toys). Ensure that there is no large furniture or big object that your pet may trip over in his immediate surroundings. Always keep a watch on your dog as you don’t know when he/she may require your help. Always leave the lights on at night, as this will help dogs with partial blindness immensely. Pets and owners will experience lower levels of stress when pets are confined in a safe area in the house. Always make sure that there are barricades placed over potentially dangerous places at home, like the hot tub, pools, staircases and balconies.

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