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Hi Friends, our 10 year old Sheltie had a stroke yesterday and is now completely blind. We took her to the vet but they pretty much said there is nothing they can do for her but that she can live happily even though she is now blind. I tried to get answers as to whether the blindness is possibly temporary but they didn't know or tell us the likelihood. So, first, has anyone had a dog who went blind from a stroke, but later got her sight back? And secondly, what can we do to help our dog adjust to being blind? She seems extremely depressed so far. She will eat, but doesn't want to do much else but lie on her bed. We are giving her tons of love, but she seems really down. Any advice is MUCH appreciated!

Love, Matilda's human <3
 

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Medically, its probably impossible to know for sure how permanent her blindness is, or if she may regain even partial vision. I do know several dogs that are completely blind, and they do adapt, and as long as things stay in the same place, manage to navigate though the house successfully. Outside, she will learn to quickly respond to your directional input through her leash, at least that's what I have seen in other dogs. She is depressed because she has no idea what happened to her, and how to cope. Give her your continued love, IMO she will slowly respond and become more interested in what's going on around her.
 

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My elderly dog Shadow had a stroke that left him blind. What my vet told me is that they typically will regain everything they are going to within a month. That I would see a lot of improvement for the first couple weeks then it would start tapering off. I found that he was right, while the dizziness, nausea, and head tilt went away, the blindness was permanent.

I do hope that your girl does at least regain part of her sight, if not all of it. Right now it's going to be a wait and see game.

Shadow was very stressed by his lack of sight, and he was anxious, he slowly, ever so slowly, adjusted, and got to where he'd even run when we first left the yard to go on our walks. Some tips I can give you is to not rearrange your furniture, she likely has your house's layout memorized and just has to realize she can do it. Keep the floor free from things she can trip over, don't leave things out in the middle of the floor etc. Get down on her eye level and look for things she could poke her eyes on, or run into and hurt herself. You'll need to pad those things or remove them all together, do that for the house and yard (if you have a yard). If you have any stairs block them off, only allow her access to them when you are right there with her, Shadow fell down my deck steps despite my being there with him, I had turned to open the door and he wandered to them and fell down them just that fast. Resist the urge to run and automatically help her when she gets into a bit of trouble, she needs to learn that she can do things and that she can figure things out, her learning that will help restore her confidence.

Let me know if you have any questions. Good luck to you and your girl.
 

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I've had a lot of dogs that reached old age, and a number of them had strokes. Most of them saw some improvement, but all where left with some kind of slight 'glitch' in either their sight, hearing, finer motor control in their muscles, or in the way their brains functioned.

Two of my dogs would get like 'stuck' in making turning motions...one while trying to go to bed would frantically spin and spin, but couldn't get herself to just lay down. Once I stopped her she was fine. The other dog would get up and could never just go straight in the direction she wanted to go, she would make a loose turn two or three times before finally heading where she wanted to be.

The blindness one of my dogs experienced wasn't complete and I think some of it came back a little bit. With strokes it's really hard to say what the final verdict will be...one just has to wait a few weeks and see how the brain recovers.

As for your dog, she might not be depressed...you could be reading into it more than what's there. She might still be in kind of a 'stunned' state from the stroke itself and that has nothing to do with 'emotional' stuff like depression. All of my dogs were rather 'quiet' for some days after having strokes. There could be even some headache type pain that is just keeping them quiet...and also yes, adjusting to the lack of sight is also part of it I'm sure. I'm not saying there is some depression, but just that there could be other things involved with the quietness.

I've had several blind dogs, and they really do adjust to being blind just fine. You Must, though... keep all walking paths in the house clear of obstacles, make sure shoes and books, and other things are kept clear of the 'lanes' your dog ends up using in the house to go from one place to another. I had one blind dog that use to actually skip, at a fast pace through the house, she couldn't see, but in her brain, she knew the paths and could go through the house as fast as a dog with sight.

I had a niece and my sis come live with me for a month and I finally blew my top with them after telling them time and time again, to not take of their shoes and leave them where the corner of the hall and the living room was at, because Shilo cut that corner all the time and she tripped over them more than once. They knew I was dead serious when I said the next time I saw shoes laying there they were going into the trash when I left for work the next day...meaning I was taking the trash to work and throwing it in that dumpster. Good luck getting their shoes back. They put their shoes in a different area after that.

Try to talk to her normally as much as you can and not with a 'you poor dog' tone of voice. Dog's pick up on woeful tones and often it confuses them as they know you are upset, but they don't know why you are upset...so it stresses them a bit. This is just my personal opinion, but, I'm basing it off of dogs I've seen that were ok, but then looked stressed after someone started to cry for them, or talk in a tone that the dog knew something was 'wrong'.

Btw, remember that a dog's nose is probably it's most sensitive tool, so your dog will still have her hearing and that wonderful nose. Use treats and such to help train her in where her paths are...she'll already know them a little bit but letting her sniff her way around the house for a while might help. Also use audio cues more often now to help her out, and remember, she's blind, not deaf...my niece and sis would often talk louder to Shilo than to my other dog Ernie...and I would remind them her hearing is fine, she just can't see. I think that is a common thing that people often do with even other people.

I'm so sorry your dog had a stroke. I hope she recovers from the worst of it and gets some of her sight back. I wish there were some solid answers for you as to whether or not that will happen... I understand that stress of not knowing, having, like I said, a number of my elder pets who had strokes.

Stormy
 

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Using scents to help blind dogs



U can use scent to help blind-dogs navigate - especially with items that are likely to move, such as a footrest / hassock, or wheelchairs, walkers, & other mobility aids.

U only need 3 basic markers / scents:
- things that never move [fireplace hearth, kitchen or dining table, etc]
- things that may move / are likely to move
- EXIT doors to the outside world

Interior doors & stair-treads / the top & bottom spindle of the banisters, all go on the "don't move" list; only exterior doors get the special EXIT scent.

"Real" flavoring extracts are a good option for scent-marking cues, as they are non-toxic & potent in small amounts.
Vanilla, orange, & almond are ones i've used with clients' blind dogs; i generally use the citrus as the EXIT marker.
Dilute the marker U will be using with an equal amount of water - i use a teaspoon measure, pour into it [don't dip], & then mix with the same spoon; Q-tips are my 'paintbrushes'. Don't saturate the Q-tip, just wet the end.
Put vertical marks nose-high to the dog.

Mark DOORS at nose-ht on the jamb of the open edge, on both sides - a light line can cross the interior frame, too.
I also dot any raised sills or thresholds that the dog may trip over ["immobile"].

Corners [e-g, on a raised slate hearth at the fireplace] need to be marked on both sides - dots can mark straight edges.
Table legs [immobile], chair legs [movable], etc, each get dots at nose height. // Refresh the scents about every 3-weeks, altho vanilla lasts longer than the other 2.

- terry

 

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Sometimes episodes diagnosed as strokes are in fact vestibular attacks. Whatever - my new dog is almost blind. He manages so well I sometimes forget - till he walks into something or someone that wasn't there before. Also he sometimes gets spooked by strange sounds or - say - someone approaching with a push chair.
I don't know if their other senses compensate but he can fetch a ball like a seeing dog - he picks up the sound of it hitting the ground and usually locates it spot on first time. His lack of sight doesn't stop him chasing after rabbits either. He usually knows before me if there is another animal around - you can see him picking up the scent;
He certainly knows the sound of the treat jar opening and if I just pick up his collar and lead he is there. But he runs mostly off lead. I have trained him so he will stop and sit or return on my call if he is in danger of running into something.
He loves his toys and in the morning will sniff them out from wherever they have been put. His favourite is a squeaky ball and if I am not playing with him he throws it to himself!
Whoever had Ben before seems to have taught him to pick treats from the floor not the hand and I can see why. He grabs at treats and you don't want him to grab a finger instead.
Stairs were a novelty to him at first so I tempted him slowly up with a squeaky ball and a treat. He now runs up them without a second thought.
A neighbour of mine had a blind dog. You wouldn't guess he was blind either.
They would walk down a lane which the farmer sometimes closed off with a big gate but there was a narrow pedestrian access to one side. The dog would always go round that bit even if the gate was open because of course he didn't know it was open.
When I got Ben I bought some little bells to wear round my ankle so he would always know where I was. :eyeroll: Totally unnecessary But I do talk to him quite often. Good luck.
 

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Hi Friends, our 10 year old Sheltie had a stroke yesterday and is now completely blind. We took her to the vet but they pretty much said there is nothing they can do for her but that she can live happily even though she is now blind. I tried to get answers as to whether the blindness is possibly temporary but they didn't know or tell us the likelihood. So, first, has anyone had a dog who went blind from a stroke, but later got her sight back? And secondly, what can we do to help our dog adjust to being blind? She seems extremely depressed so far. She will eat, but doesn't want to do much else but lie on her bed. We are giving her tons of love, but she seems really down. Any advice is MUCH appreciated!

Love, Matilda's human <3
My dog went blind overnight at not even six years old, I can totally agree that this traumatic event does cause dogs to go into a state of depression...Our dog pretty much only wanted to sleep...I however am happy to report that after being given a vet diagnosis that SARDS caused the blindness, our dogs eye color of brown began to show again on the exact same day she regained some if not all of her eye sight..I believe she had been misdiagnosed...all bloodwork was fine at the time of the diagnosis six weeks ago so we aren’t at all sure what caused her total blindness for that period of time...it did happen during the covid pandemic and I’m not sure how much research has been done on animals relating to covid....it’s a miracle and the last six weeks of pure sadness for our sweet girl is now joy and happiness.
 

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This is quite an old thread, and with a very particular set of circumstances so I'll close it.
 
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