A close-up of a blind brindle dog

Blindness is not uncommon in cats and especially in dogs. Blindness can occur rapidly, as with an injury, or over time when a pet develops macular degeneration. Since, like us, sight is a necessity for navigating the world, when a pet goes blind it can be frightening and can create several situations that will need to be changed in order for them to cope.

The team at Animal Family Veterinary Care wants to explain why some pets go blind, what you can do about it, and how to help a blind pet thrive despite their obstacles.

Blindness in Pets: Causes and Conditions

Blindness is associated with many diseases. Some pets are even born with blindness from being genetically predisposed to certain illnesses or conditions present at birth. Since we can’t outline every condition that can lead to blindness, here are a few more common causes.

Glaucoma  – This disease causes high pressure in the eye, which compresses the optic nerve responsible for sight.

Cataracts  – A cataract is a clouding of the lens that affects vision. It can cause blindness when not treated and generally is seen in dogs and cats over the age of 8 years.

Diabetes Diabetic dogs will often develop cataracts that can cause limited vision and blindness. 

Sudden Acquired Retinal Degeneration (SARD) This is a condition that develops rapidly and can cause blindness within a few weeks. Unfortunately, it is yet unknown why SARD happens.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy This is an inherited condition and vision loss occurs over time. 

Injury to the Eye Blindness can be a result of an injury resulting from an obstruction in the eye, sudden blow to the eye, or any other accident that results in eye damage.

Other causes of blindness are kidney disease, untreated dry eye, and severe entropion, which causes a pet’s eyelids to turn inward.

Signs that Your Pet Is Experiencing Vision Loss

Vision loss may not seem obvious at first, especially when it is a condition that is progressive. Annual wellness examinations can diagnose a condition early, as your veterinarian will test your pet’s hearing and vision while being examined.

Some things to be alert to that can signal vision problems:

  • Bumping into things, general clumsiness
  • Your pet startles easily
  • Sudden aggression
  • Unable to find bowls or treats
  • Recent injury to the eye
  • Changes in the eyes’ appearance

Vision loss affects every aspect of a pet’s wellbeing and can diminish the quality of life of your fur friend. Your pet may be confused and suffering unnecessarily without a good diagnosis and steps to accommodate their condition. So, if you suspect changes in your furry one’s vision, please schedule an appointment. 

Ways You Can Assist When a Pet Goes Blind

If your pet has been diagnosed with eye disease, there are things you can do to create a safer, more comfortable life for them.

  • Give your pet safety by clearing space in the home to prevent accidents
  • Keep your pet’s bed, food bowls, and other items in the same place
  • Get used to giving your pet verbal cues. Talk to them more often so they feel safe and comforted
  • Keep your pet’s routine the same
  • Help your pet by giving them more scents and tactile toys and treats to focus on as a way to give them stimulation and enrichment

Animal Family Veterinary Care is here to help. We can answer any questions about what to do when a pet goes blind. Call us for a consultation.