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Blindness in Dogs

By: Dr. Noelle McNabb

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Diagnosis

Diagnostic tests are essential in determining the exact cause of the blindness. Tests may include:

  • Complete physical examination

  • Complete ophthalmic examination, including direct and indirect ophthalmoscopy, pupillary light reflex testing, slit-lamp biomicroscopy, tonometry, Schirmer tear testing, navigation of the pet through an obstacle course, visual tracking and visual placing tests, and fluorescein staining of the cornea.

  • Complete neurologic examination

    Other Diagnostic Tests

  • Complete blood count (CBC) and serum tests via blood samples
  • Blood pressure testing
  • Electroretinography
  • Visually evoked response test
  • Specific serologic tests
  • Corneal and conjunctival cell samples for cytology
  • Cerebral spinal fluid tap
  • Specialized imaging tests of the eye and skull, such as ultrasound examinations, CAT scans or MRI

    Treatment

    Successful treatment depends on obtaining an accurate diagnosis.

    Home Care

    Pets with recent onset of blindness should be evaluated by your veterinarian as soon as possible. Minimize stress and injury by confining your pet to a safe area until the cause of the problem is determined. Place barriers across staircases, over hot tubs and around pools, and restrict activity on balconies if your pet could fall through the guardrails. Do not allow dogs to run free.

    Establish a known location for the food and water bowls and guide your pet to them if necessary; do not change his environment. Use a harness or leash to walk your dog for better guidance and control.

    Do not allow your pet to scratch or rub his eye if it is painful, as this may cause further damage to the eye. Use an Elizabethan collar if necessary.

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