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Blindness in Dogs

By: Dr. Noelle McNabb

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Veterinary care should include tests to establish a diagnosis and subsequent treatment. Diagnostic tests are essential in determining the exact cause of the blindness. Tests may include:

  • Complete physical examination and history

  • 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 to evaluate the electrical responses of the retina to light stimulation

  • Visually evoked response test to detect abnormality within the optic nerve or visual center of the brain

  • Specific serologic tests to evaluate the cause and identify any related problems

  • Corneal and conjunctival cell samples for cell analysis and specific tests to determine the presence of infection or inflammation

  • Specialized imaging tests of the eye and skull, such as ultrasound examinations, MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) or CT (computed tomography) scans

  • Cerebral spinal fluid tap to collect a sample of fluid surrounding the spinal cord and brain with a small needle


    Successful treatment depends on obtaining an accurate diagnosis.

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