Murphy’s Story with SARDS

I wanted to share a little bit about our dog Murphy. He is a beautiful 6 year old French Brittany Spaniel who lost his eyesight 2 weeks ago. He was diagnosed with SARDS. We have had Murphy since he was a puppy. He is very intelligent. He is our baby. Before his diagnosis Murphy loved to play games, chase squirrels and chipmunks, fetch, run around the yard, steal socks, have zoomies, and play with his toys. It has been heartbreaking watching our once energetic, full of life dog lose his spirit.

Over the course of a few days we noticed Murphy starting to bump into things, unable to track his treats, have no desire to play, and was hesitant to go up and down the stairs. We knew things were bad when he fell into our pool (he is not a lover of water). The diagnosis was confirmed by a veterinarian ophthalmologist a week after his symptoms started. We were devastated.

Since his diagnosis, Murphy has become a shell of himself. He no longer wants to play, moves with trepidation, and lays around. We take him on daily walks around our neighborhood and yard hoping he will start to feel comfortable with a routine. We implemented some scent training in the house as well as started teaching new commands. We are still in the early stages of his blindness but are hopeful he will adapt quickly.
Thank you for reading Murphy’s Story.

One thought on “Murphy’s Story with SARDS

  1. Chris

    Thank you for sharing Murphy’s story. I know what you all are going through….my sweet Bichon mix named Bella was diagnosed in October 2014 with SARDs. Bella’s vets advised that we not change the layout of furniture in the house or move things that she is familiar with. It’s been very hard watching her bump into furniture when she wanders off her mental path however it’s one way she re-learns how to move about the house using her mind’s eye. I am amazed at how she is able to jump up onto certain furniture. She uses her nose to “feel” the edge of the furniture and will then maneuver to the middle and safely jump up. She also can find the opening to her dog house by finding the edges and then moving so many steps to the middle to find the opening. She almost seems to count steps as she walks down the hall and knows exactly where the opening to the bedroom where she sleeps is! I have propped pillows up wherever I notice Bella tends to bump into, like doorway openings, I will use a leash to lead her around the house if she gets too excited and wanders too fast and into harms way like furniture. I also use rugs and mats to help her find her food and water bowl. When she feels the mat, she knows she’s at the “dinner table.” Murphy will learn this too.

    It is not surprising that our dogs will now move with caution. Her vet also said that dogs’ eyes are not as good as their sense of smell and hearing so those will get more sharp to compensate for the vision loss and they do! She can hear me quietly opening her food container and the treat jar. I also make all her food as a precaution against process foods that may have contributed or caused SARDs.

    Lastly, I purchased a stroller so that I can take Bella outdoors. She loves to ride in it and enjoy her sniffs in the same way she did when she could see! With the stroller, I no longer worry about her falling off a curb or bumping into something that will hurt her if I happen to look the other way. When we get to her favorite spot on our walk, I let her out to sniff around so she can pick up the daily neighborhood news!

    I wish you and your sweet Murphy all the best.

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