Blindness in Boston Terriers

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Boston Terriers become blind for a variety of reasons – injury, glaucoma, and retinal diseases. Blindness in Boston Terriers can be dealt with. A blind Boston Terrier can have a happy life with your help.

Any condition that blocks light from getting to the retina impairs a dog’s vision. Corneal diseases and cataracts fall into this category. Glaucoma, uveitis, and retinal diseases are other important causes of blindness in dogs.

Most causes of blindness will not be evident on general observation of the eye itself. But there are some signs that suggest a dog may not be seeing as well as before. For example, a visually impaired dog may step high or with great caution, tread on objects that normally are avoided, bump into furniture, and carry his nose close to the ground. The inactivity of older dogs is often attributed simply to old age, but failing eyesight may also be a cause.

One way to test eyesight is to observe the dog in a dark room in which the furniture has been rearranged. As the dog begins to walk about, see if he moves with confidence or hesitates and collides with the furniture. Turn on the lights and repeat the test. A completely blind dog will perform the same way on both tests. A dog with some sight will show more confidence when the lights are on.

A diagnosis of blindness or irreversible vision loss is not a catastrophe. The fact is that most dogs, even those with normal eyesight, do not really see very well. They rely to a greater extent on their keen senses of hearing and smell. These senses take over and actually become more acute as eyesight fails. This makes it relatively easy for visually impaired dogs to get around in areas they know. In the house, try to avoid moving furniture, because your dog will have a “mental map” of where things are. When left outdoors, confine a visually impaired dog to a fenced yard or run. Walking on a leash is safe exercise. The dog learns to rely on his owner as a “seeing-eye person.”

It is important to be aware of impending blindness while the dog is still able to see. This allows time for retraining in basic commands such as “stop,” “stay,” and “come.” When the dog actually does go blind, obedience training can be a lifesaver.

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I have Jack the Boston Terrier who is blind in one eye. He lost his eye to an injury as a puppy. He has learned to adapt. But there are many activities that he won’t do. He will not jump up or down onto unknown objects such as stools and unfamiliar beds or chairs. Jack often times does not realize that he is handicapped. He plays vigorously with a large beach ball. He tosses it in the air and runs after it and top speed. Blindness is Boston Terriers can be dealt with. Your blind dog can have a very happy life with some help from you.

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