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How To Recognize Vision Loss in Dogs

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Sometimes it is challenging to realize a pet dog is losing its vision. That’s because, unlike humans, dogs do not rely on sight as readily as other senses, like hearing and smell. A pup who is slowly going blind might be able to navigate quite well, as the other senses enable the dog to adapt to changes in eyesight, advises the American Kennel Club.

Pet parents who are concerned their dogs may be losing their vision can learn the risk factors for vision loss and keep an eye out for potential signs that such loss is present.

Breed risk

Certain breeds are at higher risk for health issues that can lead to vision loss. For example, cataracts are the leading cause of blindness in Cocker Spaniels, says HandicappedPets.com. Both Golden Retrievers and Labrador Retrievers are genetically predisposed to progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), which can cause blindness. Due to recessive genes, Siberian huskies can be susceptible to eye issues, including corneal dystrophy. Boston terriers may develop cherry eye, a condition caused by a prolapsed eyelid.

Pet owners should speak with their veterinarians to learn if their dogs have a genetic predisposition to eye diseases and conditions that may lead to blindness.

Conditions that cause blindness

Dogs who have had a cataract, which is a clouding of the eye that stops light from reaching the retina, may slowly lose their vision. Diabetes also can cause full or partial blindness. Glaucoma, PRA and sudden acquired retinal degeneration syndrome (SARDS) all can lead to blindness in one or both eyes. If dogs have been diagnosed with these issues, it’s best to work with a vet to carefully monitor and/or treat them, if possible.

Signs of diminished eyesight

Vision deterioration can produce certain signs, including:

· Cloudy appearance of the eye or eyes.

· Improper pupil response to light and darkness.

· Difficulty focusing on items or people’s faces. Some dogs may have to come much closer to recognize a person’s features.

· The dog seems dazed and confused, or gets surprised by someone suddenly when entering a room.

· Hesitancy running or moving around, or changes in mobility. The dog may no longer want to go up and down stairs.

· Difficulty finding the food bowl, as well as weight loss from not eating.

· Behavioral changes, such as acting more anxious, sullen or even scared.

Vision loss can occur in dogs, particularly aging canines. Pet owners can be attuned to signs of diminishing vision and take steps to help their furry friends. PE234826

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