Finding out your dog is blind is one of the hardest things to hear. Our Spaniel, Otto is such a happy energetic dog and only 3 years of age. Otto lost one eye when he was young due to secondary glaucoma. Despite having just the one eye he has always lived life to the full and at times like a true Spaniel, does everything to the extreme.
Whether chasing birds or swimming after ducks, he has been a force of nature!
After a lot of tears we came to realise that he only knows pain and the adjustment that he needs to go through. Some people assumed we might have him put down due to his diagnosis which was heartbreaking but also there was no way this was an option, no matter what we needed to do. All the worries started to kick in like ‘I won’t be able to leave him’ ‘he will hurt himself bumping into stuff around the house’ "he will live a less active life which will be so hard for him.' I found great comfort in all the amazing messages we received and wanted to give back and share out experience so far.
A week ago Otto’s remaining eye was treated with medication and we were given a programme of meds for a week to administer when we got home. The 8 drops at 10 min intervals along with pain killers was a challenge to make sure we were on top - especially as a young family. None the less of course he was our priority and we stuck to the schedule, in the hope that he might regain some sight. 3 days into the programme we woke to find he had had a pressure spike during the night and the glaucoma had returned. The eye looked cloudy and he was in severe pain. At the drop of a hat we rushed back to vets. Where he given further pain relief. At this point it was agreed that the most humane thing to do was to remove his eye.
Whilst we suspected it was coming - this news was hard to hear as we knew he removal of the eye was permanent. He would be totally blind.
Otto went in for surgery the following day and came out the same day. Despite him having his other eye out a couple of years ago - it was quite a shock seeing his eye sewn up. Swollen and it looked super painful.
Since then we have spent a lot of time adjusting to his new life. We’ve wiped away our tears and focused on how we make his life as fulfilled as possible. We did some research online and found some great reads including ‘My dog is blind but lives life to the full’ by Nicole Horsky. Which deals with both the emotional and practical challenges.
One thing we have learnt during this early transition is that each day we see remarkable improvements. Also that having to wear the dreaded post-op cone caused further hindrance to his spatial awareness, despite it being needed it is such a relief to have it off and he is navigating the house much better.
Otto is now more dependant on our voice and commands, such as ‘Step’, ‘careful’, ‘Stay’. Etc All of which he is improving on each day as he re-tunes his sense to cope with his blindness.
Whilst a heart breaking few days we can already see how we all adjust and still make sure he lives a full life. Dogs are so adaptable and if you ask me, sooo much more impressive than humans! Staying as positive and calm as possible for him has only helped both in his diagnosis and early days as a blind dog.
We will be sure to update on how his training and progress is going.
Thanks for all you help and support so far.
Otto and us