Partial or complete loss of eyesight in pets is mainly due to three reasons. One, it could be a condition suffered since birth.
Second, it could be caused due to a sudden illness or injury and last but not least, blindness may be gradual as a result of eye infections such as glaucoma. Loss of eyesight can affect any pet, despite the age or breed. However, older pets are more susceptible to blindness compared to others.
Other than the above discussed causes of blindness, the following can also trigger loss of eyesight in pets:
• Diabetes mellitus.
• Taurine deficiency – Blindness due to this cannot be reversed and may go unnoticed until it’s too late.
• Uveodermatologic Syndrome – This condition results when a pet’s body fights its melanocytes resulting in uveitis, a condition which ultimately leads to loss of eyesight.
• Sudden Acquired Retinal Degeneration Syndrome (SARDS) – This is condition is a major cause of female dogs between the age of 7-14years. The onset of SARDS can occur as fast as overnight and causes destruction of the retinal rods and cones. Prior to blindness, dogs show increased appetite and thirst.
• Progressive Retinal Atrophy – It is an inheritable disease which mainly affects dogs. Cats can also suffer from this condition, though at a lesser extent. Dog breeds susceptible to PRA include Norwegian Elkhounds, Cocker Spaniels, Poodles, Irish Setters and Border Collies. Persian, Bengal and Abyssinian cats are likely to suffer from PRA. In pets born with PRA, the retinal rods and cones don’t mature as they should but instead start degenerating at an early age, thus causing blindness.
Some pets might be able to hide a pending loss of sight well. As a result, it may be difficult to pinpoint the tell-tale signs. It can help to be on the lookout of the following signs:
• Abnormally large eye pupils and excessive tearing
• Increased general disorientation and clumsiness
• Misjudging heights
• Confusion when exposed to a new environment
• Constant bumping into stuff
Preventing blindness as a result of hereditary genes is not possible. But preventing blindness due to other factors is entirely possible. Here’s how to go about it.
• Schedule regular visits to a veterinary clinic in Briarcliff, NY to examine your pet’s eyes.
• Maintain a proper diet. Foods that are high in carbohydrates and made specifically for your pet species should be the top nutrition priority to reduce the chances of diabetes mellitus.
• Fresh foods rich in Vitamin C & E, antioxidants, lycopene, astaxanthin and beta-carotene can go a long way in promoting your pet’s eye health.
• Maintain your pet’s hormone levels as this may reduce chances of contracting an adrenal disease, a condition linked to SARDS.
There’s a lot you can do for your partially or completely blind pet. This mainly centers on maintaining routine that your pet is already used to. Make your home as safe as it can be for your pet by placing barriers around the pool, the stairs and covering sharp objects. These will potentially reduce the number of accidents at home.