The hits keep coming. 2021, has brought our family some highs, and some extreme lows. Our shy and nervous nelly Lily Blossom is most certainly going blind. Here is what the Veterinary Eye Clinic said exactly:
Lily Blossom’s recent vision loss is due to sudden acquired retinal degeneration. Ophthalmic examination revealed that Lily Blossom had markedly reduced vision responses in both eyes. She still had some light perception and shadow vision, but minimal functional vision. Pupillary light responses were present but decreased. No anatomical changes were noted in either eye. Electroretinography revealed that Lily Blossom had a marked decrease in photoreceptor function in both eyes. These findings confirmed that her vision loss was not secondary to a central lesion but due to sudden retinal degeneration.
Vision loss occurs due to loss of function and death of the photoreceptor cells in the retina that capture light. The cause of the disease is unknown. Unfortunately, the loss of vision is permanent in most patients. The disease is not painful. Lily Blossom’s increased appetite and weight gain is also part of this disease.
Our sweet Lily Blossom turned 8 this year, and if we’re being perfectly honest and transparent, we’re upset by the news. We’re sad. We’re nervous. We’re scared. I worry if we’ll be successfully able to meet the new challenges ahead of us. Above of all, we just want continue to give Lily a wonderful and extraordinary life, and pray we have the skill set and resources to do so.
Thankfully, I have known and photographed many special needs dachshunds (blind and paralyzed) over the years, and luckily the precious pooches that I’ve known, despite their physical limitation, remain cheerful and jolly.
If there’s a singular silver lining; it’s Emily Sue. About three years ago, we got word from Emily’s rescue organization that one of Emily’s littermates was going blind. Worried that perhaps it was heredity, we wanted to have Emily checked. We started with our regular vet, and he was unable to offer anything conclusive, and instead recommended the aforementioned eye clinic. At the time, we were consumed Rufus’ constant care and delayed our visit. And then there was a global pandemic. Boo.
Finally, after all of this time, we made our trip to the canine eye doctor. Emily seemingly has some advanced cloudiness in her eyes, but the doctor confirmed her vision is perfect for her age. She turns 10 this month. Yay!
Okay friends, this is where we need your help. What can you tell us!? In the comments here or on social media, please share your favorite resources, websites, etc. that can help ease Lily’s transition from sight to blindness (for both her humans and our hounds). It’s heartbreaking for me, because I imagine it’s hard to have one’s world just gradually go dark (permanently) — but perhaps that me applying our human standards and expectations. Maybe Lily’s canine perspective is different. Only time will tell. Wish us luck, and your continued love and support is appreciated (probably now more than ever).
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My Emmy was diagnosed with SARDS two years ago. She does very well. I think it is harder on us humans than them. Emmy is 13 years old, (chocolate & tan.) The blindness is now secondary to Cushing’s diagnosed last year. It was a almost a year getting the medication to the correct dosage. Dachshunds are one of the breeds prone to SARDS. Hugs! You can do this!
My boy had SARDS concurrent with Cushing’s. The Cushing’s was harder to cope with (for me) than his blindness. He would use the water fountains in the front and side yard to triangulate his location! It was amazing to see him adjust so well. He did better than me, for sure.
My Sammy went blind, not sure whether it was SARDS, think so. Your diagnosis sounds much like his. You photographed dear Sammy and spent the day with Sophie and him. He did well. It’s good that Emily Sue is with Ms. Lily Blossom. They help each other. She will “map” her world and adjust.
Best to You and Yours.
Hi Johnny, my Davy Jones had SARDS. He went blind in a three day period. I learned a ton about how to work with him, and we had another almost two years together with him completely blind. I am happy to share what I know. I have a great book if you want it, a Blind Dog leash, and a visor for eye protection. You will be amazed at how well she does. Davy Jones astounded me daily with what he would do. The first two things you should know are 1) dound is very important now. You can wear bells and put a bell on Emily Sue. That way Lilly will know where you are. She will navigate by smell and sound now. Also, teach her a HALT or STOP command so you get get her to freeze in place. This will be so helpful. Oh, also put a tiny dab of clove oil on corners of furniture, table legs, cabinet corners, then lead her around the floorplan showing her each corner. She will build a map that way. Don’t move anything around! Call me if you like, or email me. There’s more I can share. Much love!
Lynn & Bentley