Title says it all, really: Yesterday I went to work in the mornng and she was fine AFAICT. I came home in the evening and she was blind.
Lucy has lupus. (Who knew dogs could even get lupus?) She’s been doing well and off medications; her blood work was last checked in July and was fine.
Except apparently she hasn’t been fine. Her blood platelet levels fell so drastically that she began hemorrhaging into her eyes, which filled with blood. “Sudden onset glaucoma,” they call it. In less than six hours, she was completely blind. The pressure of the fluid destroys the structures of the eye. I’ve been told there is no change of her recovering any sight in her right eye, and a small chance of her recovering partial vision in her left, but they aren’t hopeful of that. Meanwhile, her blood platelet level is so low she could stroke out at any time or die of another type of internal hemorrhage.
Since 8 pm last night it’s been: Seven hours at the ER vet; four hours at her regular vet; three types of pills; two types of eye drops; two shots; 900+ US dollars and the meter’s still running as we have to go back to the vet again this late afternoon to see if the platelet levels have risen at all or not. If not, there’s talk of sending her to a University vet hospital 150 miles away for a series of blood transfusions, which frankly is where I think I’ll be drawing the line, so it’s not out of the question that by the end of the day I’ll have to put her to sleep.
She’s sleeping at my feet right now. When she’s awake she’s anxious to know where I am. When she tries to get around she walks into walls. But she’s trusting and sweet, as always.
In November of 1995, the year I graduated from college, our family dog went blind “overnight.” His retinas detached (I think that’s what my mom said). At the end of the summer of 1996, my mom and step-father seperated on their way to a divorce. My mom kept the dog for a year or so, but then moved into a place that didn’t allow pets. The dog went off to live with my grandmother. My grandmother was always a “dogs go outside” kind of lady. That obviously was not an option for the old boy. When, I visited her for Thanksgiving, I found that she had confined him to a back room because she said he bothered her cats. I doubt that. He was blind - totally blind - and bumped into furniture, knocking things over - i.e., he bothered her. I took him with me when I left. At the time I was in law school. He shared my apartment with me, my roommate, and my roommatee’s golden. The next year, I had three roommates. Each one of them had a dog. He tolerated the other animals. By this time he was 14. He had adjusted to blindness. He knew his way around to food and water, and would even jump up, and more suprisingly, down from furniture. Every now and then, he’d get stuck in a corner, and I would have to turn him around. He moved his head like Stevie Wonder. He died in the winter of 2000, just passed his seventeenth birthday. Toward the end he mostly slept. Still, five good extra years with him. I got him when I was in third grade. I was eight. He died a year after I was admitted to practice law.
I hope your dog makes it. There’s still a lot of good about a blind dog.
Thanks, guys. Sorry to be so dramatic with the thread. It’s not so terrible, I guess; it’s just been a long day and I’m really tired. whole bean, thanks for your story – a bit of possible light at the end of the tunnel.
Is there anything that can be done about her platelet level, is it working? If that can be corrected and monitored, then, as the others have said, dogs can adjust to blindness quite well. You just can’t rearrange furniture like you used to.
I am with you at drawing the line at blood transfusions, not if they don’t know how to fix the platelet problem and she’ll have to be away from you and in a vet hospital in a continuing adaptation to decreased quality of life, it’s no way to live, but our dogs don’t like vets/vet hospitals. Bring her home and settle her in, and see if the vet hospital can recommend a mobile vet who can euthanize at home. That is what we will do when the time comes for our boy, I hope. One last good day and a peaceful fear free slip into sleep.
It sucks. We love them so much, they give us so much, and it feels like there is so little we can really do.
My dog Mira went slowly deaf (started around age 8) and was stone deaf a couple of years later. Soon after her vision started to go. She was completely blind and deaf for 3 years, but you honestly wouldn’t have known it. She knew the entire house layout and how to get around without bumping into anything at all, and still loooooooooooooved getting a tap on the ‘shoulder’ in a certain way* that meant we’d give her skritchins.
Our dog Ziggy is doing the same thing (both Cocker Spaniels, which are prone to ear issues and each started getting bad vision just because they were getting old) and he’s, well, dumber than Mira… but even he knows the hand signals and different ways of tapping.
As long as you’re there for your dog, she’ll be okay with being blind, if the shots and all help. Dogs can adapt well, especially when you and they figure out new ways to get stuff done.
Mira had to be put to sleep when she was 16 and it was so hard, but as long as you’re there with her, she’ll feel you and smell you and hear you there. That’ll mean the world to her. Crap, now I’m tearing up.
First we didn’t realize she was deaf because we had unconsciously done hand gestures when we had said a command; she’d not hear us, but see the hand gesture and know what to do. Then when she started to lose her vision, we’d do different taps/strokes on different parts of her body so she could figure those out. She was a smart lil doggie.