September 16, 2009

Medical news, canine edition

Such is life with older dogs. Last May I mentioned how our 13-year old Cocker, Zeus, has been doing much better on his heart medication. He's still doing great, though he's gone mostly deaf in the past few months. Not really a big deal since he was a pretty oblivious guy anyway. A few weeks ago I took Kira, our 10-year old dog (seen below demonstrating her ability to drink from water bottes) in for what we thought was another routine eye infection (it's a problem with Cockers).

However, the vet noticed that her lens had shifted in her eyeball, which was a sign that something else was up. We took her into the university vet school, where they have eye specialists, and she was diagnosed with glaucoma. From the deterioration of her retina they guessed that she had been blind in that eye for months - we had no idea! She's been getting around so well that we couldn't even tell.

They describe the pain from Glaucoma as like having a dull headache all the time in humans, though they don't know exactly how it affects dogs. Kira has been a very itchy lady for almost a year now, scratching and chewing on herself all the time without any apparent skin problems (or response to anti-itch creams/shampoos/meds, etc), so it could be that it's due to stress. She has some of the precursors for it in her other eye and will probably be completely blind in a year or so, even with treatment to slow it down. I took her back today and while her good eye was doing just fine, there was little change in her blind eye - the pressure is three times bigger than it should be - so we're going to have it surgically removed for her comfort, possibly as soon as tomorrow. We're sad for her, but glad that she's going to feel a lot better without the constant pain, and glad that she has time to adjust to losing her vision.


Blythe said...

Good luck with her surgery! I bet she'll be feeling better in no time. :)