If you are a dog owner, you will be able to attest to the fact that your pup is more than just a pet but a part of the family. For this reason, it's really important that you keep on top of all your dog's health issues so he can live the longest and healthiest life possible. But in many cases, it can be hard to know what you are looking for because canine health is something totally separate to human health.
Something that is fairly common in dogs is a deterioration or loss of vision. Unlike humans who tend to lose their eyesight because of old age, this can happen to a dog at any early age because of an infection or a hereditary disease. For this reason, you need to know the tell-tale signs of a loss of vision. Here's what you should be looking out for:
Difficulty seeing in the dark
Of course, it's always best to catch deteriorating vision in its early stages so that your pet can undergo veterinary care and stand the best chance of having his vision corrected. A dog will normally have trouble seeing in the dark at first, so this is something to look out for. While loss of vision can be easier to notice in normal daylight, in the dark this isn't the case, and you'll have to actively test for it.
Something you can do is sit with your dog in a dark room, move some furniture around, call your dog over, and see if he can navigate his way around the various obstacles in the room.
You may also pick up on this if your dog is unusually hesitant about entering a dark room or an unknown space.
Redness, wateriness, and rubbing
Glaucoma is something that can affect your dog completely out of nowhere, and it's important to catch the signs of glaucoma as soon as you can because it has to be treated quickly in order to prevent total vision loss.
Glaucoma is essentially an excessive production of liquid from the eye that can prevent vision. For this reason, it's a good idea to look out for wateriness in the eyes, crustiness that develops around the eyes, rubbing of the eyes with his paws, and redness. Glaucoma normally affects both eyes, but it can be present in just one.
When it's caught in time, cells producing excessive liquid can be killed. If the glaucoma is in an advanced stage, however, the eye might need to be removed.
Inability to find common items
There are certain objects in the home or garden that your dog will have more of a connection with than others. Think of objects such as their water bowl or a squeaky toy that they've had since they were a puppy. A key sign that something is not quite right with your dog's vision is if they suddenly have trouble finding these items.
Probably the easiest way to test this is with your dog's food bowl because they need to eat. They might habitually find the food bowl because it's always in the same place, so move it to a different location and see how long it takes them to find it. If your dog finds the food by smell alone, they may exhibit a sense of surprise that they have stumbled upon their food, so that is something to look out for.
Of course, the best thing that you can do if you suspect that your dog has impaired vision is to take them to your local veterinarian as soon as possible so that everything can be done to ensure that his eyesight is corrected or improved or that you are given tools to manage his vision. For more information, contact a local veterinary clinic.