blindness in dogs

How to detect blindness in dogs early?

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Blindness in dogs can have their origin in various sources. For this reason, it is important to go to the vet at the slightest suspicion of a lack of vision in the animal.

Loss of vision or blindness in dogs is a relatively common occurrence. In both dogs and cats, this can be associated with genetic problems and appear very early in the animal’s life, although it most often occurs when it reaches senescence.

It is rare to find a puppy blind from birth, as it is normal for this condition to be acquired in the adult or senior stage due to diseases or due to advanced age.

Blindness in dogs can be intraocular in origin or appear due to a central nervous system condition. Find out here how to detect blindness in dogs early. [1]

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Causes of blindness in dogs

Below we will show you the most common causes of blindness in dogs, although first it should be noted that certain breeds may have a greater predisposition to suffer from ophthalmological pathologies.

For example, breeds such as the dachshund, miniature schnauzer, and the Spanish Breton are prone to retinal degeneration, a condition that, if left untreated, can leave the animal completely blind.

During a consultation, your vet can confirm some of these problems and advise you to see a specialist in veterinary ophthalmology if necessary.


Causes of blindness in dogs
Causes of blindness in dogs

Cataracts are caused by a clouding of the lens, a lens behind the iris with which the eye can focus.

This condition can appear in animals of not very advanced age, unlike cataracts in humans. It usually occurs due to blows, injuries, chronic inflammation of the eye, diabetes, or some inherited disorder.

It can affect one or both eyes and the only treatment is surgical, as it happens in people. In this intervention, the lens is replaced by an intraocular lens.

At first glance, cataracts can be mistaken for nuclear sclerosis, which does appear in older dogs.

Sclerosis nuclear is a loss of transparency of the lens. This does occur with advancing age, as it usually appears after six to eight years of life. The lens has an iridescent or milky appearance, different from cataracts. It has no treatment, but it does not affect the vision of the animal.

To differentiate between nuclear sclerosis and cataracts, it is necessary to go to the veterinarian, to perform a good ophthalmoscopic examination on the animal.

Progressive retinal atrophy

It is a degeneration of the cells of the retina that leads to irreversible blindness. A fundus examination is necessary to establish the diagnosis. It should be noted that loss of vision in low-light environments is one of the suspicions of this condition.


It is an increase in intraocular pressure due to excess fluid inside the eyeball. If this pressure is maintained for a long time or is very high, the optic nerve can be damaged and cause blindness. There are treatments to correct glaucoma and surgery to lower intraocular pressure to preserve vision.

How to detect our pet’s blindness early?

Loss of vision can be accompanied by some type of obvious eye condition that is a sufficient sign to alert us and go to the vet, however, this is not always the case. A visually impaired animal may have some of the following signs:

  • Changes in the color of the pet’s eyes. The eyes take on a bluish or reddish hue and can produce discharge.
  • The animal walks confused.
  • You have trouble finding your food and/or water containers.
  • He becomes disoriented if the distribution of the furniture in the house is changed or when he takes him somewhere he does not know.
  • Often bumps into objects and/or people.
  • Shows atypical aggressive reactions.

Caring for a dog who is losing his sight

Caring for a dog who is losing his sight Images

In some cases, the loss of vision is irreversible and the dog must be helped to function in the environment for the rest of its life. Still, blindness is never a justification for getting rid of the animal.

Besides, taking into account that dogs are guided mainly through their smell, losing vision does not seriously reduce their quality of life if things are made easier for them with the following tips:

  • Avoid leaving furniture or other objects that are an obstacle for the dog.
  • Block access to stairs, swimming pools, windows, terraces, or other similar places through which the animal could fall.
  • Put their feeder, toys, or bed in the same place.
  • Present objects through smell as environmental enrichment.
  • Walk on a leash and do not allow other people or dogs to approach abruptly, as the animal could get scared. Let him get closer using his nose. Establish a routine when it comes to places for walks, as familiar smells will give you peace of mind.

As we have seen, the detection of blindness in dogs is relatively simple as long as the tutor pays attention to the behavior of his dog. Once this loss of sight is confirmed, a visit to the vet becomes essential.

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