Let me start off by saying that if these words will help maybe one dog get help or one person find comfort in the sheer fact that you are not alone, then this blog will have been worth it.
It all seemed to start a few months ago when we noticed that Byron just seemed sad. His tail was down, and with pugs, the tail is always their barometer for happy. There really isn’t a better word to describe how he was acting. We also started noticing at the same time a weight gain, but again it wasn’t anything that raised red flags. He always got the same measured amount of food so we just thought that he is getting older and maybe to cut back a little on the food. But that was it.
He was always a very sporty pug. The ball was his thing. We had this game that we use to play, bounce the ball and he would catch it, usually in mid air. One day we sat down to play and he started missing the ball. That was our RED FLAG! There were no other warning signs. His eyes were normal. No redness, no obvious scratches, nothing. Just one day he started having trouble seeing.
So we called the vet. The first vet we went to had great reviews. Was close to us and seemed ideal. How could we have been so wrong?
Upon looking at Byron but not really giving him a ‘thorough’ exam, he takes some blood and the results say that everything is normal but his white count was a little on the high side. Which he attributed to nerves. So he gives us a referral to see a vision specialist. So off we went that day to the K9 ophthalmologist to see what could be wrong. And get him back to being his ol’ self.
The ophthalmologist gave a thorough look in his eyes. No apparent reasons for this to happen. He is just almost totally blind. The diagnosis was SARDS ‘Sudden Acquired Retinal Degeneration Syndrome’. but because he still some slight vision left, she was suspicious that Byron may have PRA, ‘Progressive Retinal Atrophy.’ She sent us home with some antibiotics to treat any potential infectious causes and steroids to treat any optic nerve inflammation. And a piece of paper on how to cope with a blind dog.
But still there seemed like maybe there was hope. Without hope what does one really have. There were still the occasional small glimmers of Byron seeming like he could see, but those were fleeting and getting farther and farther apart…