Buffy, my 8-year-old cocker spaniel has glaucoma. She cannot see things right in front of her or at a distance. Somehow she manages to not bump into furniture or people. When she does that, then I know she is blind. It has happened before, but we have been lucky at bringing her eye pressure down.
It won’t last. At some point, she will lose her vision completely and due to the high pressure, her remaining eye will need removal. High eye pressure makes the dog feel like she has a migraine headache.
Last June Buffy became blind in her right eye due to high pressure, and it was removed.
On December 22, her ocular pressure rose in her left eye and she became non-visual. Fortunately, a trip to the veterinary ophthalmologist saved her sight by using a needle to release the pressure. If her pressure had risen even eight hours later, she would have had to suffer with a migraine and blindness through the entire long holiday weekend. Lucky Buffy—well sort of she regained only a portion of her site, but at least she can still see and her eye pressure is still normal.
Buffy is enjoying playing, at least on a more limited (and frustrating) basis. Some things I have learned are:
- Keep playing. Just because your dog has limited vision, she still wants attention and play. Your dog will let you know when she cannot play.
- Use squeaky toys.
- Large stuffed animals are usually better than balls, since the dog is more likely to bump into it and find it.
- I had been playing in a smaller room with bright light, but Buffy has shown me she can often find balls that go in other rooms and in the dark. She just keeps her nose (and ears) near the ground and she eventually bumps into the toy.
- Scenting a ball with vanilla (a trick recommended for blind dogs) didn’t work for Buffy.
- Soft squeaky balls are better when they can bounce off a wall so the she is more likely to see it moving.
- Don’t give up! I sometimes sit at the computer and work while Buffy searches. Often a few minutes later she will have the ball in her mouth. She’s quite persistent and will usually find it—it just takes a while.
I do have a Muffin’s halo for when the day comes and she is completely blind, but for now, it’s sitting on the shelf. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that she can see for many months to come!
Does anyone else have ideas on how to play with a dog with limited vision? Please comment below.
You can read more about Buffy’s experiences with glaucoma below.