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#6798236 - 06/19/17 09:55 PM Blind lab question
jr22dad Offline
Woodsman

Registered: 12/28/12
Posts: 112
Loc: Cypress, TX
Well, my worst fears have happened since I took my 3 yr old in for eye test before I bred her last fall. Vet said she had PRA, so I did not breed. After going back over her very strong 100% british pedigree, i noticed her grandparents were rated as "CLEAR" by the BVA. Come to find out, the BVA doesn't have to test DNA to say a dog is "CLEAR". If this was the case, there is no way my girl could be "AFFECTED". I just had DNA test done just to verify what vet saw. Sucks. She had just gotten her Jr. title last spring too.

My question, sorry for venting, is should I get another dog to keep her company for when she goes blind? I don't know that I really want to deal with 2 labs and 1 being blind. I am told by several folks that another dog is the best thing for her. It would be another lab if I did it. I'm just disappointed I won't have puppies by mine, and so is her trainer. No signs of blindness yes but I know its just a matter of time.

Thanks

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#6798264 - 06/19/17 10:31 PM Re: Blind lab question [Re: jr22dad]
bobcat1 Online   content
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 07/22/07
Posts: 2359
Loc: Sanger, Texas
Enjoy her and let her enjoy while she can.
_________________________
Bobby Barnett


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#6798319 - 06/20/17 04:28 AM Re: Blind lab question [Re: jr22dad]
Sniper John Offline
gumshoe

Registered: 08/31/05
Posts: 16557
Loc: North Texas
So sorry to hear. I know it is heartbreaking for you. Especially if it comes at a young age, but know when it comes she will not know it is not supposed to be that way. She will not feel sorry for herself. My elder Vizsla Blaze is blind and still happy as a bug. Hers was a sudden onset of cataracts caused from a tick disease. With my dog her night vision was the last to go. With PRA your dogs night vision will be the first to go.

Some tips from my experiences

When her vision starts to go (hoping it is long time from now), teach the command "careful". Right before you see your dog walk into something, off a step, etc. say the word "careful". Pretty quick she will understand to stop or slow down to avoid or work out a hazard when she hears the command.

My dog still retrieves for fun and did go on some hunts while blind before I retired her due to her age, so if your dog say used to play fetch for fun, you can still do this after she is blind to give her some stimulation. This will be an easy command if you start to teach it now while she can still see. Teach the command "near". Same as the "careful" command, but it is to let her know she is near the toy so she can slow down and search for it. Also you can scent her toy or ball with something to make it easier to find. Something noisy will help too. You will see her tilt her head and listen for the fall. My young dog Dash knows this command now just from watching me play with Blaze in the back yard. Comes in handy on a dry field dove hunt sometimes.

For walking you dog at heal or on leash by your side, you can pick up some of those silly cat bells from the pet shop. Clip one on your belt loop when you walk your dog. She will learn that is her position by your left leg.
Blaze does have some problems determining direction when called or whistled. Something about the way dogs hear. It's as if she hears echoes off objects and walls. I have had others with blind dogs tell me they see the same thing. She can overcome this if I repeat her name over and over till she homes in on my voice, or I can pat my left side over and over and she can home in on that to get her bearings on my location and come to heel.

You can also scent her bed to help her find it if that becomes a problem. Blaze hunting, like with dove hunting where I had a safe open field or hunting a stock tank. I used a textured door mat for her place and scented it with some lavender spray. The texture and scent helped her find it and feel it.

When you see her vision go, you should see her scenting ability become advanced over time. Trust me on this. Don't even think about trying to eat a snack in the house without your dog knowing. And with that, another fun game for a blind dog to give her some stimulation is to hide some treats around the room then send her to find them using her nose and using the careful/near commands.

When her vision goes your dog will eventually develop a mental map of your home and yard. When that time comes, try not to move furniture around too much or leave things out in the yard she might run into like a lawn mover for example. She will learn where those wide open spaces are and make short runs across them.

Also with a blind dog it helps to keep her food and water at the same place all the time. It will become part of her mental map like everything else.

For a blind dog, sudden movements near her head, touching her, sudden noises may startle her. Talk with other family members to be gentle with her and this includes you. Don't touch her without talking to her to let her know your about to touch her. Leave a sleeping blind dog lay. Be careful with her around neighbor kids and other dogs. No matter how gentle she was before, use some common sense. Remember she will be in the dark and will be unable to see things coming at her.

If your going to get another dog, I would not wait too long so the ages are not too far apart. Having an old blind dog and a young active dog, I did have some trouble with my young dog Dash trying to play to hard with the blind dog that had to be toned down. Blaze as was her personality even when she could see, is still somewhat independent and does not depend on Dash like you see some Blind dogs do with companion dogs. But she does like to let my young dog Dash clean her eyes for her, which creeps us out.

And yes, I would get another dog, but as much for you rather than the dog. Take your time looking and waiting for a breeding that sings to you, full health clearances of course, then jump right back into it with a new pup.

Again, I am so sorry. Take advantage of the time she has while she still can see. If it becomes overwhelming for some reason, please don't have her put down, know there are rescue groups and individuals that take pride in caring for their blind dogs.

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#6798333 - 06/20/17 05:55 AM Re: Blind lab question [Re: jr22dad]
Mike Mathena Offline
Bird Dog

Registered: 12/30/16
Posts: 306
Loc: Brazoria county
My male 'houla (my best friend) went blind when he was around 11, he came in from outside bumping into the door jamb. he was depressed only as long as we were depressed about it. They don't realize it's not supposed to happen. He was a happy dog before and after it happened. I remember taking him to the vet when it happened, he would always ride in the back seat with his front paws on the console beside me, he would act like he would bite other trucks when they passed us on the road, the bigger truck the bigger the bite. That trip to the vet he couldn't see em and i starting crying, this 80 pound dog crawled in my lap and stayed there all the way. I wrapped our glass tables with pipe insulation and we didnt rearrange the house until after her passed a few years later.

Sorry your going through this but its just another day to her.
_________________________
Go get in the woods

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#6803298 - 06/24/17 06:51 PM Re: Blind lab question [Re: jr22dad]
jr22dad Offline
Woodsman

Registered: 12/28/12
Posts: 112
Loc: Cypress, TX
Thanks for ya'lls input. I really appreciate the advice. It will be a learning experience, hopefully later than sooner. Rest assured, there is NO WAY IN HELL she will be put down.

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