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Visual impairment in older dogs

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A pet in old age can lead an active life and feel good. But his immunity is no longer as strong as in his younger years. Eye health should be monitored especially carefully. We have collected recommendations to help you keep your finger on the pulse in this matter.

Fragile longevity
Miniature dogs can live up to 20 years. Larger pets live a little less. Whatever breed your pet is, from about seven to eight years you need to keep its health under special control.

Veterinarians emphasize that a dog’s eyes are subjected to great tests during aging. Timely prevention can save your pet from eye problems. Feed your pet correctly, vaccinate annually, and regularly perform parasite treatments. Show your pet to your veterinarian twice a year, even if there are no complaints.

One of the diseases that complicate the organs of vision is the plague of carnivores. Preventive vaccination against it is supposed to be done every year. Another disease (not contagious, but also leading to changes in the eyes) is diabetes, therefore regular monitoring of health with the help of medical examination is an important point in maintaining eye health in an elderly dog.

Loss of vision in dogs is possible against the background of brain diseases when the eyeball is not affected. In such cases, it is necessary to visit a veterinary ophthalmologist. The doctor will be able to see the condition of the fundus through an ophthalmoscope. So you can detect a retinal disease that threatens blindness.

Visual impairment in older dogs
Alarming symptoms
Pedigree dogs are more vulnerable to eye diseases. Hereditary diseases are more difficult to treat than diseases that appeared during life on initially healthy organs of vision.

Pay attention to the breed characteristics of your four-legged friend. Veterinarians say that owners of spaniels, huskies, Yorkshire terriers and Labradors turn to them more often because of eye problems. Brachycephalics (French Bulldogs, Pugs, and other breeds) have bulging eyes, which increases the risk of injury. But belonging to the breed is not a sentence, but a call to more carefully monitor the health of their wards.

The main thing is not to let eye problems of your pets take their course. Some symptoms signal that the dog needs to be urgently seen by a veterinary ophthalmologist. It:

redness of the eyes

swelling of the eyelids,

lacrimation

other noticeable discharge from the eyes.

If a pet develops photophobia, the eyes react negatively to light, if a four-legged friend scratches his eye, take him to a doctor immediately.

Diseases of the eyes of older dogs
Here are a few common visual ailments that bother older pets.

Cataracts are a common eye condition in older dogs. This is a disease of the lens – the biological lens inside the eye. When the lens loses its transparency and elasticity, the lens becomes cloudy. This is a cataract. The unnatural lightening of the pupil of the pet will tell you about the onset of the disease, the eye will begin to glow smoky. Such manifestations provoke visual impairment, the pet may be disoriented in space.
Cataract treatment is prescribed exclusively by a doctor; self-administration of drugs can only aggravate the situation. Your veterinarian may prescribe medication to slow the progression of the disease or refer you to surgery that will restore your vision completely. During the operation, the surgeon will replace the biological lens in the dog’s eye with an artificial one.

Neoplasms in the eye area should be removed while they are small. It should not be allowed that the scar after the removal of the wart on the eyelid is more than a quarter of a century-long. This can narrow the palpebral fissure and affect the quality of vision.
In elderly brachycephalics, the secretion of the lacrimal glands decreases, and the palpebral fissure becomes wider due to a decrease in the tone of the eyelids. All this makes the eye vulnerable, without taking the necessary measures, the case can end up with dry keratitis. The cornea can be protected with a special moisturizing gel. If it comes to treatment, surgery may be required to reduce the palpebral fissure.
In older dogs, the outer corneal epithelium becomes thinner. Against the background of dry eyes, the risk of the formation of erosive ulcers of the corneal epithelium increases. This problem is solved surgically, and one of the methods is a corneal transplant.
As with humans, dogs may experience muscle fiber degeneration as they age. This can lead to the fact that the pupil will not quickly narrow and dilate when changing lighting, as it should. Therefore, you should pay attention to the lighting and its changes when you go outside with the dog. Try to avoid being in direct sunlight.
What if my pet loses sight?
Several behavioral signs can help identify vision loss in dogs. If we are talking about a decrease in vision in one eye, then the pet will walk with one side and nest
It is natural to turn his head so that he can see everything with the eye with which he sees better. The dog begins to bump into objects, is afraid to stay in an unfamiliar place, moves with caution – this may mean that the pet suffers from progressive blindness.

But even if your pet has lost its sight, with a caring owner, he will be able to continue to lead an almost full life. Hearing, smell and touch help dogs navigate the familiar home environment without problems. Be patient. Older dogs adapt to life with blindness more slowly than younger dogs.

Visual impairment in older dogs
If all efforts to restore your pet’s eyesight have failed, then a few simple rules will help you support your pet and protect you from dangers. Do not let your dog go without a leash, do not let him out into unfenced areas. Your four-legged friend without sight is more vulnerable and will not be able to stand up for himself when meeting enemies. At home, create a safe space, exclude the possibility of a pet falling from a height and injury from thorny plants, sharp corners of furniture.

We wish your pets health and well-being at any age!

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