Just like us, our pets can experience vision changes due to injury, disease, or even aging. Unlike people, though, pets can’t complain about their vision difficulties. They rely on us to notice there is a problem and get them the help they need. How can you tell when your pet’s vision is impaired? Watch for these common signs of trouble:
- Red eye, rubbing or scratching at the eye, tearing or discharge. This may be a sign of a corneal scratch or foreign body in the eye.
- Cloudiness or color change in the eye, which could indicate inflammation, cataract or nuclear sclerosis.
- Squinting, avoidance of sunlight or disinterest in opening the mouth; any one of these could be an indication of pain in the eye)
- Hesitation to navigate in unfamiliar surroundings. Cats can see better in the dark than dogs, but both have the ability to conceal failing vision.
- Walking into furniture that has been moved out of place in the home. Dogs compensate for vision loss with familiarity of their surroundings, so when something moves, you could see him stumble.
- Reluctance to tackle stairs. Fuzzy vision makes changing levels scarier, just as it would for us.
- Disinterest in catching or taking a favorite toy. Your pet may not be able to see the object, but waits until it is close enough to smell before taking it.
- Failure to recognize a friend until they are much closer than usual or until friend speaks. Dogs compensate for vision difficulty by relying more heavily on their hearing and sense of smell.
The presence of any one of the above symptoms should trigger a call to our office; we’ll be able to take a look and get to the bottom of the problem. The sooner vision problems are discovered, the greater the treatment options and prognosis can be. Contact us if you spot any of the above signs, or have concern about your pet’s vision.