Tuesday, January 3, 2012

SARDS disease, asking for help.

Hi to all my friends.  My friend Paige has been diagnosed with SARDS disease.  Here is her humans email to My Vickie.  Has anyone gone thru this and would you be willing to give us some thoughts on the subject and how you handled it.


Anyway, Paige survived auto immune disease 2 years ago and was doing well. A week or so before Xmas she started bumping into things a little. Then on Xmas day, it was obvious she couldn’t see and was falling off the curb on a walk and running into things in the house. We took her to St. George with us after Xmas (which was always do every 2 weeks) and she did pretty well. The day after Xmas I took her to the vet and he thinks she has SARDS disease (Sudden Acquired Retinal Degeneration) where the retina just stops working. Now we are home and helping Paige map our house so she can get around. She is doing quite well. We put in a doggie door into the house (we always had the doggie door into the garage), put outdoor runners through the garage so she can follow them to the doggie door, and put cinnamon scent on the runners and the doggie doors to help her. She has an appointment tomorrow with a dog eye specialist in Sunset to get a more professional diagnosis.

My question is, do you know of any of your clients or friends dealing with this issue? If so, maybe you could give me some sources or ideas to help us through this. I have gone to the Internet for ideas and it has been very helpful, but I truly don’t know how happy she can be and I guess that’s what makes me so sad. Am I doing her any favors by keeping her going in this condition?

If you have a lot of insight to this please email My Vickie.  We are crushed with worry about Paige.    jamiesyra@msn.com  


rottrover said...

Using scent to help her is the best. Also not to "feel sorry" for her and treat her differently, so she remains confident. I don't know if you follow Wilf in France, but he lost his eyesight during the last year and is doing very well. He has other problems, but his blindness doesn't seem to be the major one. He walks daily off leash!

♥♥♥ The OP Pack ♥♥♥ said...

We don't know anything about SARDS but Mom once had a blind dog who lived for several years with no sight (no eyes actually) and did fine.

Paws crossed for Paige to be OK.

Woos - Phantom, Thunder, Ciara, and Lightning

rottrover said...

I think it was sometime in the fall or winter of 2010. Maybe more recently. His steroids caused diabetes and that caused pretty sudden blindness. You'd never know would you?

~Kim at Golden Pines~ said...

I've heard of this, and I am pretty sure there is a dog right now that the rescue that I work with, has a dog that has SARDS. Let me check with the foster home and find out if that is what it was--If so, I'll ask if they're willing to give any thoughts. Paws crossed that Paige is okay...

sprinkles said...

I've never heard of SARDS before. When I was a kid, we had a blind dog. We had no clue she was blind whatsoever until we moved and she kept walking into things.

Once she figured out the new place though, she was fine. She lived for several years after that with no problems.

Angus said...

Hi . Thanks for stopping by. Let me reassure you and tell you a little bit about our experience with blindness. Wilf was diagnosed with cancer fourteen months ago, then with diabetes at this time last year, and then he went blind some seven or eight months ago. Now his sense of smell is failing .

To begin with all of us were at a loss to know what to do. Complete loss of sight seemed such a daunting and devastating development. One that we weren't prepared for. Now , more than half a year on , our old friend navigates his way around almost as if he had 20 /20 vision.

1)Be reassured. Dogs generate and retain an amazing mental map of their surroundings. Sight is important but the triumvirate of smell, touch and hearing combine to provide them with a real sense of where they are .

Live with the furniture exactly as it is and they'll navigate just fine.

Put a strong attractive scent, like chicken stock, on the ground near the water bowl so that they can find it whenever they want .

Be 100% certain they'll know how to get to the kitchen in double quick time.

2) Be patient. The switch from visual to non-visual navigation takes time. Less time than you'd imagine but a tangible amount of time nonetheless. Three or four weeks of transition for both dog and owner . At this stage soothing words , and a lot of tickles, are an owners greatest gift to a blind dog. Simple but true - Depression and uncertainty are dispelled by applying touch and encouragement .

3) Most of all keep to the old routines. You know he is blind. He knows that something has changed. That's no reason not to carry on as before. Walk the old walks. Christen the old fire hydrants . Strengthen the command 'Stop !'. Use lots and lots of treats as reinforcement.

Time consuming and initially unsettling.But after a while both dog and owner find ways to cope and thrive.

God bless.

The Heartbeats said...

One of my cats is blind. I think she can maybe see shadows. Anyway, she is just fine. I can't really move furniture around without showing her. She is an indoor only cat but lives happily with my other cat and random dogs. I am sure it's sad to watch but most well-loved pets are unfazed. Rolling Dog Ranch has a blog and they specialize in animals (horses, cats, dogs) with a number of disabilities, many of which include blindness.


Mamma Heartbeat

2browndawgs said...

Oh poor Paige. One suggestion I have heard for dogs that are going blind is to start using some verbal cues. For example saying "out" after you have opened the door to go outside so the dog knows the door is open and safe to pass through.

JackDaddy said...

I was going to mention Wilf, but I see that Angus has already been here.

STELLA and RORY from Down Under said...

Hi Vickie, sorry we don't know anything about SARDS but we read an article about a doggie who went blind and thought your friend might be able to correspond with them. We read about Dutchess on 'Coffee with a Canine' a few weeks ago and they have a facebook page called 'Dutchess the dog'. She is also a therapy dog. Hope this might help a little. No worries, and love, Carol

Mr. Pip said...

Gosh, I don't know anyone who has experience with SARDS. My paws are crossed tight for Paige!

Your pal, Pip

Amber DaWeenie said...

We haven't had any experience with this although we did have a blind Min Pin who did quite well.

Paws crossed that everything works out OK.

Curt Rogers said...

I wish I knew how to help, Vickie, but all I can do is think good thoughts for you and Paige and hope that the suggestions here, and work with her vet, will help.

All my best!

Maggie Mae said...

Our paws are crossed fur Paige too.

Woofs and Licks,
Maggie Mae and Max

Prancer Pie said...

Sounds like her hooman is doing all the right things. We don't know, but will offer our purrs and purrayers fur Paige and her hooman. xoxo

houndstooth said...

I think dogs recover from and adapt to blindness much faster than humans. As long as Paige is in good health otherwise, I think there are a lot of practical things that can be done that will help her to live a long happy life, even if she can't see!

Bunny and her mom

KB said...

I'm afraidn that I don't know anything about SARDS. But, I'm wondering if the human could get a phone consult with someone from a vet school, where they have specialists who know about everything. We rely on Colorado State Vet School for serious stuff. Perhaps a web search would reveal an expert in this disease at one of the vet schools in the country.

So sorry about your friend. But, as others have said, I bet that she'll figure out how to adapt - because she's a canine - and canines are amazing!

browndogcbr said...

Hi Y'all,

Been years, but have had a blind dog and a deaf dog (2 different dogs at different times). The blind dog learned to navigate quite well. You must be careful that something as simple as moving a dining chair back under the table is done every time. If you have guests, go around and be sure the chairs are pushed back under. The dog usually tells by scent if someone is sitting in the chair, but the empty chair can cause him to bump into it if moved.

Some other people have made suggestions about teaching commands so the dog knows it is safe to pass through a door, etc.

It is important to get him comfortable walking beside you on a leash. You may need or want to take him with you. If he has learned to that you are his eyes and you will stop at curbs, doors, etc and you have commands or signals to help him navigate strange areas, it will be less stressful.

Dogs noses are their number one sense, then usually their hearing. The exception is the sight hound.

BrownDog's Human

Suka said...

hey Bart,

I am furry sorry to read of your friend Paige. My paws are crossed for her, and both my human and I send her lots of love and prayers.

I am not familiar with SARDS, and neither is my human, but I have read many successful stories of blind dogs living wonderful, healthy, happy lives. So, just in case it gets worse (praying it won't), we know she will do just fine after adjusting to her new situation. Sounds like she has a lot of love and support in her life, and that is the most important.

Suka and K

The Cat From Hell said...

My Mommy's Mommy had a dog that got SARDS when she was 12, she lived until she was 16. She was a little disturbed at first, but as soon as she figured out how to get from here to there she had no problems. She even climbed up and sown spiral stairs.

Maggie and Mitch said...

We don't know anything about SARDS but our paws are crossed for Paige!

Love ya lots,
Maggie and Mitch

Anonymous said...

Oh My. Lots of good advice here and lots of love. We're sending some love, too.

Arooo, Stuart

haopee said...

Dogs are highly adaptable so it's always best to not feel sorry for them. Just pretend as if nothing has happened in order for her to not feel that something has changed. The nose is still the most important sense of a dog so as long as she can still use it, she'll do fine.

Places where they want Paige to stay should be scented for now. And they'll have to get her more acquainted just like introducing the different parts of the house to a new puppy.

I hope we get to hear good news from the doctor.

Huggies and Cheese,