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Pra (progressive Retinal Atrophy)


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Guest MnMDogs

I just took Mork to the eye doctor to have his left eye checked out (I poked him in the eye during a play session). She did an entire exam, and in addition to the scratched cornea he was diagnosed with PRA, a degenerative disease that is un treatable, and he will be completely blind within a year. At least I think that's what she said. I kind of zoned out when I heard my baby boy was going blind. She reassured me that dogs do very well with this, and it's good that he has other dogs at home.

 

Please tell me this is true. I guess I just want reassurance that our boy can and will live a normal and happy life, even with the loss of his vision. Does anyone have first hand experience with this or something similar?

 

 

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Guest team_weasel

A friend of ours has a dog that is blind. She is doing really well. How long has Mork been in your home? By the time his eyesight fails, he will know where objects, doors, hallways, etc, are located. Keep furniture in the same place and keep him off stairs (use babygates). If you have another dog in your home, he will follow the lead of the other, as does my friend's dog.

 

Your Mork will adjust fine..

 

:bighug

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There are several GTers whose dogs have this condition. Because they go blind progressively, it's not a big shock to them. Their other senses pick up.

 

Just be careful not to shift your furniture around too much ;)

Jennifer and Beamish (an unnamed Irish-born Racer) DOB: October 30, 2011

 

Forever and always missing my "Vowels", Icarus, Atlas, Orion, Uber, and Miss Echo, and Mojito.

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Guest EmilyAnne

Our dear Alfalfa was blind for the last four years of his life. He did just fine! He even still romped and played. :) It was very important not to move anything and keep the floor/yard clear. One time we moved the plastic jungle gym in the yard, and poor Alfalfa ran smack into that jungle gym at full speed! He was more cautious for the next while, checking to make sure that we had not moved the plastic jungle gym. On walks, when there was a step, I taught him the meaning of 'down' and 'up'. He would put one paw forward to feel where the step was, then he would go ahead and do the step. He trusted me to always let him know when there was a step. For our stairs at our house, he would listen to Riley our other dog go down first, listening intently, Riley always gave a howl at the bottom of the stairs, and then Alflafa would come down. He did just fine! :)

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Guest MnMDogs

Thanks, everyone. I know logically he will be fine, I just want to be reassured.

 

The problem we're facing is that we just moved (3 months ago) from the home where he lived for 3 years. Now we're with family until we find a house to buy, and we probably won't be moving for 2 - 3 months. I just hope that he has enough vision to adjust to the new home. I guess I will try to start teaching him down and up now.

 

Thanks again. I didn't realize how hard this would hit me. It was just a complete surprise, and my emotions have taken over.

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Guest Tenderhearts

We had a client (also a friend of mine who had me helping with field trials she hosted) with a Springer Spaniel who was diagnosed with PRA. As the others have said, it is a gradual loss, and dogs do adapt very well. She made sure that furniture was never moved around, and of course he was familiar with the layout of the house long before he ever lost his sight.

 

I believe Rachel's (Brindles) Julio also has PRA if I remember correctly.

 

I can try and find some resources such as books on blind dogs through my network of contacts if that would help :grouphug :grouphug :grouphug :grouphug

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Guest EmilyAnne

Your dog does not need to be able to see the house to adapt to it. He will just slowly and cautiously figure out the layout through other senses, and then do just fine! :)

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Guest act2redux
Thanks, everyone. I know logically he will be fine, I just want to be reassured.

 

The problem we're facing is that we just moved (3 months ago) from the home where he lived for 3 years. Now we're with family until we find a house to buy, and we probably won't be moving for 2 - 3 months. I just hope that he has enough vision to adjust to the new home. I guess I will try to start teaching him down and up now.

 

Thanks again. I didn't realize how hard this would hit me. It was just a complete surprise, and my emotions have taken over.

 

You know, I read an article recently that talked aboutusing scent to mark things like corners, the top of stairs, etc. They recommended you use something like a drop of mint at the top of the stairs down near your mid calf area, where the fuzzy kids can smell it. They talked like the dogs begin to connect the scents with "stairs" or what ever you are marking and begin to use that info in addition to / instead of their sight. It so made sense to me and obviously since we're talking about dogs, the scent doesn't have to be overpowering..just consistant. I'm guessing that you might need to re-apply it periodically

Good luck!

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Guest MnMDogs

Thank you thank you thank you...for the reassurances and experiences. It's still a shock for us, and we really just want to make sure this boy stays the happy goofball he is.

 

Thanks, everyone. I know logically he will be fine, I just want to be reassured.

 

The problem we're facing is that we just moved (3 months ago) from the home where he lived for 3 years. Now we're with family until we find a house to buy, and we probably won't be moving for 2 - 3 months. I just hope that he has enough vision to adjust to the new home. I guess I will try to start teaching him down and up now.

 

Thanks again. I didn't realize how hard this would hit me. It was just a complete surprise, and my emotions have taken over.

 

You know, I read an article recently that talked aboutusing scent to mark things like corners, the top of stairs, etc. They recommended you use something like a drop of mint at the top of the stairs down near your mid calf area, where the fuzzy kids can smell it. They talked like the dogs begin to connect the scents with "stairs" or what ever you are marking and begin to use that info in addition to / instead of their sight. It so made sense to me and obviously since we're talking about dogs, the scent doesn't have to be overpowering..just consistant. I'm guessing that you might need to re-apply it periodically

Good luck!

 

What a wonderful suggestion! Considering he just sniffed out my apple (unbitten) in my office down the hall and around the corner, I think he would respond very well to this.

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Guest greyladydown

Our non-grey had PRA. First he lost his night vision, then eventually he became totally blind. Our specialist suggested that we give him Lutein to slow the progression of the disease. I think it helped in the beginning stages.

 

There are some things that we did for our dog while he was losing his vision. We added lights to the backyard kennel, we made sure we brightly lit the stairways and put down white mats on the dark wood floors so he could navigate better. He was not happy about being blind, but he did adjust. He was alpha, and he was still able to keep the new greyhounds in line.

 

Feel free to PM me if you'd like to talk more, or just need a shoulder to cry on.

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Guest greyaspet

I had a foster that had PRA, he was only 2. The night vision goes first and they adjust amazing well.

Koty's owner would bring him to our reunions and although by this time Koty was totally blind I would say "Where's my Kotman" and he would turn his head and wag his tail searching for me.

He died last year of bone cancer but he was able to adjust to being blind very well.

Sheila

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Guest sidewaysfallin

You can also try doggles when he does go blind, so he doesnt bump into the corners of tables and the such and hurt his eye if you are worried about that.

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My 90# greyhound Lynch is blind and has been since he was just over 2 years of age. He does VERY VERY well. We moved 2000 miles away when he was 6 (he's 8 now) and he did very well with the motels on the way and learned his new house and yard very quickly. He's only gotten injured one time due to his PRA and that was a bump on the nose with a small scratch that healed in about 2 days.

Lynce is a bit shy and even more so with being blind, but he's a trooper and does very well. In fact, if you were to see him meandering around the house, you'd never know he was blind.

The commands I've taught him are: step up, step down, watch your head, back up, STOP, go on, stay, come, and then all the normals ones we teach our dogs such as drop it, NO, etc.

I really would do a blind dog again some day when I have fewer dogs, it's really not a big deal. In fact, mostly I would suggest you treat him normally just like you have been. Other than teaching some special commands don't treat them too differently.

Being a seeing eye person for your dog is a good thing, you'll bond even more closely with the dog than you already have. :)

 

Oh, and the house where we lived in Ohio had full sets of carpeted stairs. Lynch did the stairs all by himself without a problem. He also jumped over baby gates occasionally. He also did the deck steps a time or two, he prefered the carpeted ones though. :)

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My Rocky had PRA for 6 years and did greyt. I swear he could hear better than the rest of the bunch. It did help b/c he always had another dog with him and he and Hans were inseperable, they would run and play like crazy. Rocky did greyt even when we would travel and stay at hotels or inlaws. I did teach him several commands that have been stated. Rocky was the smartest dog I have owned besides my Scooter so he learned quickly. I have had a deaf dog as well and I believe Rocky being blind was easier to adapt to. No one who came to our house unless they knew Rocky was blind would have ever known. He would track the sound source with his ears and go in that direction. I loved that dog so much. I would not hesitate at all to adopt a blind dog. He will do fine and so will you. It is a shock but he will have a wonderful life even with this. You will be surprised at how well he will do.

scootersig_A4.jpg

 

Pam with greys Avril, Dalton & Zeus & Diddy the dachshund & Miss Buzz the kitty

Devotion, Jingle Bells, Rocky, Hans, Harbor, Lennon, NoLa, Scooter, Naomi and Scout at the bridge

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My Smooth Coat Collie was diagnosed with PRA when she was 2 1/2 and she is now 7 and is not completely blind. Her vision loss has been much more gradual than is typical. She has now lost all vision in her Right eye. Her night vision did go first and she doesn't like going out at night. We have a bright back porch light and are going to install a light that lights up a small section of the yard. In the daytime she does well. She is struggling some now because our Border Collie mix went to the bridge this summer and she was the Collies eyes and confidence. I never realized how much she depended on her until she was gone and Sabrian went into major depression and was more afraid to move. She was gaining her confidence back and then experienced the vision loss in her right eye and became hesitant again, but she will adjust again I am sure. The only times she gets really stressed are if I take her to a strange place like a friends yard and let her off leash or when we move things around to put up the Christmas tree. You will be amazed how quickly your boy will adjust.

Lynn mom to:Roper(Roper is Here),Josie the Australian Cattle Dog mix, Lacey the Corgi mix, Allie the cat and 2 skin kids and at the bridge Bailey (AA's Bailey), Snickers(Jax Snickers) , Sabrina the Collie and Sadie the Border Collie mix.

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Guest MnMDogs

I keep coming back to read your stories and suggestions. You have no idea how much this his helping to deal with this. Logically, I know he will do just fine, and you all are reassuring me of that. Emotionally...well, the thought that our big crazy counter surfer soon won't be able to see his very difficult. Although I have no doubt that his bionic nose and ears will not fail him.

 

Thank you all again.

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I've had two cocker spaniels with PRA. The second one, PC, was my competition obedience dog. On the day she finished her CDX title (invovles jumping, retrieving, heeling off lead, etc.) they just happened to have an eye clinic at the show. I took her in and asked the doc to just give me an idea of how far her vision loss had progressed. He examined her and looked at me with astonishment. He said, "Are you telling me this dog can still see?" I said I didn't know, but she finished her CDX that day with a nice score and a 2nd place ribbon! He was amazed. He said, "THIS is one VERY smart little dog!"

 

I think she did have a little vision left at that point. She learned to retrieve by sound/scent. I was always very careful to set her up at the same distance from the jumps. (I first took her to have her eyes examined when she started having some jumping problems.) Her heeling had degraded, because she adopted a position with her nose against my leg, so she had points deducted for bumping and lagging.

 

After she finishsed the CDX, we took up tracking, which she LOVED. I never competed with her because blind dogs are not allowed. (We probably could've fooled the officials, but I didn't want to take the chance.) Being allowed, even encouraged, to sniff was her idea of the perfect new job! I used to play a "FIND IT" game with her, hiding a food treat or a toy in the house and letting her go crazy searching for it. Her favorite thing to find was shrimp tails!

 

She lived with a house full of greyhounds and did very well for several years after she was blind.

 

We remodeled our house during this time. Everything was turned upside down, but she managed. Her only problem was getting stuck under the dining room table and boinking around like the ball hitting the bumpers in a pin ball machine!

Pam

GPA-Tallahassee/Southeastern Greyhound Adoption

"Fate is unalterable only in the sense that given a cause, a certain result must follow, but no cause is inevitable in itself, and man can shape his world if he does not resign himself to ignorance." Pearl S. Buck

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Mentioned in another thread: There is a pointer in my rally obedience class who is blind. She went blind in the past year, I'm pretty sure from PRA. She used to do agility so I guess she has an edge, but she does *very* well -- I would not have known she was blind except for the way she holds her head. Her owner doesn't let her do the broad jump but she does the 12" upright jump. Sweet girl.

Star aka Starz Ovation (Ronco x Oneco Maggie*, litter #48538), Coco aka Low Key (Kiowa Mon Manny x Party Hardy, litter # 59881), and mom in Illinois
We miss Reko Batman (Trouper Zeke x Marque Louisiana), 11/15/95-6/29/06, Rocco the thistledown whippet, 04/29/93-10/14/08, Reko Zema (Mo Kick x Reko Princess), 8/16/98-4/18/10, the most beautiful girl in the whole USA, my good egg Joseph aka Won by a Nose (Oneco Cufflink x Buy Back), 09/22/2003-03/01/2013, and our gentle sweet Gidget (Digitizer, Dodgem by Design x Sobe Mulberry), 1/29/2006-11/22/2014, gone much too soon. Never forgetting CJC's Buckshot, 1/2/07-10/25/10.

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There was a lab in this neighbourhood that went blind. I'm not sure why. He did lose his night vision first. He did very well, unless his humans changed things around too much. They've since moved, and he has adapted to his new surroundings too.

 

I'm sorry to hear about Mork, but I'm confident that he'll figure it out.

Standard Poodle Daisy (12/13); Greys Hildy (Braska Hildy 7/10), Toodles (BL Toodles 7/09), Opal (Jax Opal 7/08)
Missing Cora (RL Nevada 5/99-10/09), Piper (Cee Bar Easy 2/99-1/10), Tally (Thunder La La 9/99-3/10), Edie (Daring Reva 9/99-10/12), Dixie (Kiowa Secret Sue 11/01-1/13), Jessie (P's Real Time 11/98-3/13), token boy Graham (Zydeco Dancer 9/00-5/13), Cal (Back Already 12/99-11/13), Betsy (Back Kick Beth 11/98-12/13), Standard Poodles Minnie (1/99-1/14) + Perry (9/98-2/14), Annie (Do Marcia 9/03-10/14), Pink (Miss Pinky Baker 1/02-6/15), Poppy (Cmon Err Not 8/05-1/16), Kat (Jax Candy 5/05-5/17), Ivy (Jax Isis 10/07-7/21)

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There is a local bassett hound that has this condition. she's completely blind now, but she wasn't when i first met her. her owners introduced mats around the house while she still had sight, which they feel helped her adjust as her sight worsened. she is very sweet and happy and you'd never know she was blind. she plays with phene and loca, pulls while on the leash like any other dog and her family is crazy about her.

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Xavi the galgo and Peter the cat. Missing Iker the galgo ?-Feb.9/19, Treasure (USS Treasure) April 12/01-May 6/13, Phoenix (Hallo Top Son) Dec.14/99-June 4/11 and Loca (Reko Swahili) Oct.9/95 - June 1/09, Allen the boss cat, died late November, 2021, age 19.

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Guest fountainpengwen

I'm so glad so many people have been able to re-assure you with personal stories. :)

 

The ophthalmologists at OSU and MedVet, another specialty clinic in Columbus, recommend the book Living With Blind Dogs by Caroline Levin, if you're looking for a book with wonderful stories and tips.

 

I'm sorry for your diagnosis, but if a dog is going to go blind, this really is the way to do it.

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Thanks, everyone. I know logically he will be fine, I just want to be reassured.

 

The problem we're facing is that we just moved (3 months ago) from the home where he lived for 3 years. Now we're with family until we find a house to buy, and we probably won't be moving for 2 - 3 months. I just hope that he has enough vision to adjust to the new home. I guess I will try to start teaching him down and up now.

 

Thanks again. I didn't realize how hard this would hit me. It was just a complete surprise, and my emotions have taken over.

 

I'm so sorry :( The stories here are so inspirational, and I hope that you feel encouraged by them. :grouphug :grouphug

Mom to Daisy (1999-2012), LB (aka Little Bit), and Sammy James (aka Sammy or Buddy)

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I'm sorry to hear about this dx, but as others have said, dogs adapt amazingly well.

 

In addition to the suggestions and comments from the others, I'd like to add just two things.

 

First, dog vision isn't the same as ours to start with. It's less colour sensitive - a LOT less colour sensitive. The spectrum goes from blue to yellow with various degrees of greyish in between, and even the blues and yellows are not seen as bright colours - this is why dogs were thought to be colour-blind for a long time. And it's very 'grainy' compared to ours. Dogs don't have ability to see sharp detail as we do - people are very visual creatures and rely on our vision in a way that dogs - even sighthounds - do not. Sighthound eyes have an interesting feature, which is a band of specialised cells that run across the retina from side to side but these are used only for tracking movement. So you can see why the loss of their vision doesn't bother them in the same way that it bothers us.

 

Secondly, one thing dogs DO rely on more than most people realise, is their vibrissae, or whiskers. Your boy will use these vibrissae to help him find his way around the house without bumping into things. He will use them to avoid bumping into his food bowl when he goes to eat, and to find the edges of the stairs, doorways, table legs etc. You won't even notice him doing it, but he will. So NEVER LET ANYONE TRIM THEM!

 

Try not to worry. Many people have had dogs who were almost completely blind and they hadn't noticed, because the dog just quietly adapted. ;)

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The plural of anecdote is not data

Brambleberry Greyhounds My Etsy Shop

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My greyhound Sully has PRA and is mostly blind at 7 years old...he does very well, and as silverfish pointed out, people who don't know him would not know...he has adapted extremely well. I was actually way more concerned about it than he was. I'm just adding his name to the many other happy, well adjusted blind dogs. :)

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I'm sorry about your boy's diagnosis. I don't have personal experience but friends of mine adopted an older blind greyhound (PRA) within the last year. She may see this and respond. :) Anyway, he has done amazingly well adjusting to the loss of his previous home, being returned to a kennel situation and then being re-homed. He just goes with the flow. They did some reading and research, and were fortunate to be able to contact the owners of some of his littermates who have lost their sight due to PRA and they were an excellent source of information and comfort to them.

 

I don't know if you've checked into it, but there are message forums dedicated specifically to blind dogs and they could also be a good resource for you. I know Yahoo has one that's been around for about 10 years and has over 3,000 members. I'm sure there are lots of others out there as well. http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/blinddogs/

Cynthia, & Cristiano, galgo
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