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  • Writer's pictureVera Marney

KEEPING THE WORLD BIG FOR A BLIND DOG (Part 2) - From having sight in one eye to nothing at all

Updated: Jan 19

Well, it's been a while since Part 1 where I tell the story of how Logan, my American Cocker Spaniel, was diagnosed with cataracts late in 2021 at just 5 years old and how he ended up losing his eye in April 2022 after the cataract surgery caused glaucoma that procedures and medication couldn't control.

It was a big shock and indeed, for Logan, and me too, a big adjustment. Logan lost quite a bit of confidence after losing one half of his sight so rapidly. He coped, but he definitely took a bit of time to get used to his new reduced field of vision.

For me, it was also a big change and it affected me mentally a lot more than I expected... in fact it turned into quite a substantial grieving process that lasted many weeks.

In time, Logan and I got on with things, we returned to our normal daily routine, went back to agility (which to our amazement he was still able to do perfectly well!) and obedience training... hoping desperately that his second eye wouldn't deteriorate too quickly.

As the weeks and months went passed, there were just tiny moments here and there that indicated that things were indeed deteriorating. There was one particular situation that I remember where on a walk where everything seemed normal, Logan suddenly stopped dead and kept staring into thin air... There was nothing there to look at, so the only thing I could imagine was that something was happening in his eye, perhaps seeing strange shapes, stars, lights... This lasted perhaps a minute or two, and all was fine again after that, though I did feel that another small part of his vision went in that episode.

There was another time where I got home from work, switched the lights on and Logan was disorientated bumping into kitchen cupboards, the door and me seemingly being completely blind. Within an hour however, all was fine again, and he had no further issues and there was no need to take him to the vet.

Over Christmas 2022 I was laid up in bed with a very bad back and was out of action with dog training for about a months. When we went back to agility, Logan's performance started showing subtle signs of deteriorating vision. Over the next few weeks, I had to start giving him more and more verbal help on the courses.

I realised then that I had to start preparing him for a complete loss of vision by adding verbal cues to behaviours that I would be able to use to help him in every day life. I have a fair amount of experience helping visually impaired people, which means I understand Logan's point of view (excuse the pun) and how I can best help him adjust to and navigate a world where eyes can't be used anymore.

In the end it was April 2023 where we had to give up agility training altogether as his vision was getting so poor that it wasn't safe anymore. It was a huge disappointment, but we knew that his eye was on borrowed time, though it happened a lot quicker than I expected.

One day in July 2023, I came home from work in the evening, and all of Logan's vision was completely gone, he was totally blind. He bumped into the kitchen cabinets, door frames etc. and this time, there was no recovery this time. I booked an urgent appointment with his ophthalmologist the very next morning, we got an immediate appointment, he got an immediate ultrasound on his eye (thank god for all the training for him to keep still for procedures, so he didn't need any sedation) and it turned out that his retina had detached in addition to everything else that was going on in his eye. There was an option to possibly reattach the retina to save some of his sight, but after talking to an ophthalmologist that specialises in that procedure, I have decided not to go ahead with that as there are too many things wrong with the eye and the chance of success are relatively low. And within 3 days, Logan had completely adjusted to having no sight at all and just got on with life.

Look out for Part 3 which I will do as a separate post describing how Logan is getting on as a blind dog and what I do to help him as much as I can to keep his world as big as possible.

Blind Black American Cocker Spaniel wearing his harness.
Logan wearing his "I'm blind" harness

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