Category Archives: Dog Injury

Blindness Temporarily Thwarted

Buffy, my one-eyed cocker spaniel, acted normal on Sunday morning, even asking me to throw her ball. But ten minutes later, she stood still with her head down. She stepped cautiously forward and bumped her nose into the bathroom door, then the wall, then the corner. She sniffed everything. I waved my hand in front of her face. She blinked once, likely feeling the air moving. But her eye showed no movement.

Buffy with one eye. Photo by Rachel Elizabeth Seed.

She was blind.

The veterinary ophthalmologist had warned me of this possibility since Buffy tested positive for a genetic predisposition for glaucoma.

Buffy ironically developed glaucoma in her right eye the day after her checkup, when her intraocular pressure changed from a normal level of 10 to 37 mm Hg several days later. A pressure above 35 mm Hg is thought to feel similar to a migraine headache. Buffy lost her vision in the right eye, but it was hard to tell since she could still see with her left eye. But for the entire weekend, she voluntarily stayed in her crate or hid in the corner, clearly not feeling well. The details of this post are here.

Human glaucoma medications also treat canine glaucoma, but the drugs have a short-term effect, sometimes lasting only a few weeks. Within four weeks, the pressure in Buffy’s blind right eye had risen to 30. With a long, out-of-town weekend planned for the Fourth of July, I was afraid Buffy would be in pain while I was gone, so I decided to get her eye removed. You can read about that here.

The ophthalmologist said Buffy would likely lose sight in her other eye (left) within 6 to 18 months. Buffy is only 8 ½ years old, so she likely would be blind for years.

I prepared as best I could.

  • I ordered Muffin’s Halo, which is a band in front of the dog’s head to guide the dog and protect her from bumping into things.

    Cocker with Milo's Halo

    Buffy wearing Muffin’s Halo

  • I used a harness, since there was some evidence that using a collar could raise ocular pressure when the dog pulled.
    • Buffy hated her harness, and she normally doesn’t pull since she often stays behind me. This causes the harness rides up on her back. I needed to buy one with a front clip. The vet said that a regular collar would not raise her intraocular pressure for long, so she didn’t need a harness.
  • I tried to reduce stress – although Buffy didn’t seem to have too much stress in her life.
    • But this is where I may have failed. The day before, I had taken Buffy to the Puppy Up Chicago walk where we met Sandra from Dolly the Doxie and Kristin from the Daily Pip.
      • Temperatures were in the upper 80s and there was little shade by the gathering, although the 2-mile walk was about 40% shaded.
      • The Puppy Up crowd was well prepared with frequent watering stations for dogs and people.
      • I had offered Buffy water several times and she drank some, but she’s not a big water drinker. After the walk, I waited in the shade for a few minutes, but then decided we were both too hot, so I left. The air-conditioned car took a few minutes to cool, but not too long. Buffy panted more heavily than I’d ever seen her and for at least 20 minutes, much longer than I expected given that the car cooled and she had a vent blowing on her. She had lost her Puppy Up bandana, which I hadn’t realized until I was several miles away in heavy traffic. Buffy finally cooled down and the rest of the day she seemed normal.

Could the heat from the exertion have caused her blindness less than 24 hours later?

I found Muffin’s Halo and placed it on Buffy. It gave her immediate confidence as cabinets and walls touched the halo portion and not her face. Stairs though were still a problem as she stumbled down one step to get out the back door onto our deck. I carried her down the remaining four steps to the backyard.

My husband came into the kitchen and suggested that I give Buffy the anti-glaucoma medication that he takes, Latanoprost. Buffy had taken this medication in her blind right eye back in June, but did not have a current prescription for it since that eye had been removed. Buffy was still taking Dorzolamide (anti-glaucoma) and NeoPolyDexamethasone (antibiotic/anti-inflammatory) in her remaining eye.

I didn’t go to an emergency vet, since there wasn’t much they could do and Buffy was not in pain. We had nothing to lose since she was already blind. So I put a drop of Latanoprost in her eye.

A half hour later, Buffy could see!

The Latanoprost must have reduced her eye pressure enough to restore her vision. The ophthalmologist had told me back in June, that vision could return if permanent damage had not occurred, but it would be temporary.

Today, Buffy is chasing her ball, looking out the window, and going for short walks.

Enjoying her vision while she can.

Please leave a comment if you have known a dog or a person with glaucoma.

Beware of Spring Fever

The first nice days of spring have finally arrived after weeks of cold and rain. But this time of year always makes me wary for pets, especially dogs. Back when I was a young teen, on one of the first warm days in early May, my dad took our 7-month-old mixed breed puppy Rexy for a long walk. He had let him run lose to get some exercise, but the skittish dog saw some people and ran into a busy street—getting run over by a car.

Photo of Rexy

Rexy

Continue reading

Dogs, Herbicides, and Weeds, Oh My!

The weeds, the dandelions─yuck.  Should I spray an herbicide?  But what about my dogs?  How can I do this safely?   So I usually put it off until the weeds get the better of me and I just have to spray them and try to keep my dogs off of the lawn for a day, or at least try.  Most herbicides state, ‘safe’ for pets after it has dried. But are they? Here is what my research uncovered: Continue reading

Electrical Shocks while Walking your Dog?

It’s raining and you are walking your dog downtown.  Suddenly he yelps then collapses.  Puzzled you grab your dog—then you feel a burst of electricity run through you. You too could get shocked, collapse and possibly die from electrocution from contact voltage.

What is contact voltage?  Continue reading

Wobbly Gait in Dogs – Is it Serious?

Cassie tripped as she walked on the driveway, caught herself and kept walking toward me.  How many times had this happened today?  At least ten, or was it closer to twenty?  I watched her walk, awkwardly curving to the left.  My vet thought she had arthritis in opposite legs, causing her to trip and walk abnormally.  A week later, she couldn’t walk and was diagnosed with a brain tumor.  We had to put her down less than a week later as her condition deteriorated.

Ataxia or abnormal gait, takes many different forms, most of which are neurological, although there could be joint issues such as arthritis.  Continue reading

Dog on Dog Attacks

Cassie and I used to walk over three miles back and forth to work, most days every week, even through the winter. We walked residential streets and at least a dozen times a year a loose dog would approach us. I tried to avoid all encounters knowing if Cassie got into a fight, she wouldn’t stop. So as a dog approached I’d pull Cassie close to me and yell at the dog in a loud, low voice to go home, to go away, while waving my arms. This worked for almost every dog, who realized they’d have to take on me as well as my dog. Never raise your pitch when yelling at a dog – this can cause more excitement in dogs. Continue reading

If the Water’s Green – It’s not Clean – Keep your dog away.

It’s that time of year again, late summer, when the weather’s hot, the water’s stagnant, and bright green scum floats on the surface of the lake.   Take a scoop of the lake water with a clear cup. Are there green particles suspended in it? Does it look like someone dumped green paint on the lake? Likely, it’s blue-green algae or cyanobacteria–even though the water looks green. Continue reading

Dogs and Bee Stings

As I trimmed the shrub in front of my house, something stung me hard near my elbow—a yellow jacket. I swooshed it off and continued trimming trying to ignore the pain. Then I noticed another yellow jacket circling me—then another. Where were they coming from? I looked down and saw dozens of them on the vinca groundcover, pouring out of a hole in the ground. Continue reading

A Dangerous Time for Dogs – Heatstroke

Buffy in the car

Buffy in the car

It’s cool and cloudy when you park the car. You leave the windows open a crack for your best friend, who must stay behind, while you go inside a store, to pick up something quick. You get side tracked and spend much more time in the store than you anticipated, but you think, Doggie is okay, it’s cloudy and cool outside. Continue reading

Sebaceous Cysts

Cassie's sebaceous cyst on her back.

Cassie’s sebaceous cyst on her back.

A large hard scab stuck to the fur on Cassie’s back for over a month. We thought it was from rolling on rigid sharp crusts of ice and snow. A routine visit to the vet revealed the scab was harboring a sebaceous cyst.   Several more occurred on her right leg and ear. The vet shaved her fur and exposed a raw, oozing wound. Continue reading