Everyone laughs at the irony of our story. After years of working in dog rescue, I decided I would buy a puppy. I’d always loved Bouviers, so I did all the research and found a sweet little Bouvie puppy that I brought home at 8 weeks old.
His name is Hugo. He is brindle, and at 4 months, he is a 45lb mass of hair and teeth.
When we were outside one day I noticed his eye was slightly cloudy. JUST cloudy. He didn’t squint or paw at it, there was no discharge, no signs of pain or discomfort, but having been in rescue, I recognized it as glaucoma and took him to the University Vet Hospital where he was seen by their team of canine opthamologists.
They diagnosed him with Primary Glaucoma. He was just about 4 months old.
Dr Thomas Chen DVM, MS, DipACVO wrote the following:
“On examination of the left eye, we diagnosed Hugo with Glaucoma, a complete retinal detachment, anterior uveitis, and lens abnormalities (cataract, subluxation). This constellation of signs in a dog with Hugo’s history is strongly suggestive of congenital or developmental abnormalities. The right eye, in addition, has multifocal retinal folds consistent with retinal dysplasia. My suspicion is that Hugo had more severe (compared to the right eye) retinal dysplasia in the left eye that resulted in a detachment. The detachment in combination with the changes in the lens have resulted in this eye being blind and a risk for future glaucoma”.
We left with two different eye drops that had to be given throughout the day, and a stunned hollow feeling – the kind you get when you know your life has just been radically changed – that you’re on some strange, new and challenging path that you never ever anticipated.
So here we are. It’s been a few weeks since our initial visit, and I feel hopeful. Everyone seems to think he will undoubtedly go blind in both eyes before he is a year old, and they might be right, but I feel optimistic. Hugo might lose vision in both eyes, but for right now he can see with his right eye. He is not in pain. He runs and plays and rolls and acts every bit his age, which is great but difficult when it comes to the drops. I wish there were an oral medication that I could give him, but I don’t know of one yet.
I also feel hopeful because he is young, and he is learning to adjust early. Throughout the day when I’m with him, I try to teach him commands that will be useful if/when he loses vision in the other eye – all those words like STEP DOWN, STOP, BACK UP, etc. And I have the chance to read everything I can get my hands on and embrace all sorts of modalities for treatment and prevention – everything from herbal supplements like bilberry to acupuncture, aromatherapy and more.
The irony of the situation is priceless I think, because not ONLY is Hugo the only purebred dog I have ever bought, (I had always felt uncomfortable about buying purebreds because of all the congenital health problems), but I also have an older dog named Opie who came to me with one eye. He belonged to a hoarder in his past life and developed an eye infection that was too far advanced to fix with medication. So Opie has always been my supremely awesome one eyed dog. He’s an Akita – Boxer – Pit mix and has the personality that reminds me of Scrooge once he sees the ghost of Christmas Future.
So now with Hugo, I like to think that between the two dogs, they have one complete set of vision. I like to keep things light, but I can’t help but to wonder what greater meaning this has. I plan to take Hugo through the training that would allow me to take him into hospitals. Perhaps he could visit children with vision problems. His hair is so soft and long and he doesn’t shed, so I can imagine the kids rolling all over the bed with him as they feel their way around his massive, fluffy body. I’d like this. I think he would too. But I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I would like it even more if he could maintain vision in his other eye, if for no other reason than because it somehow seems unfair for a puppy to be going through all this.
But, here we are. And as I write this, things are stable. I’d love to know of any tips or tricks, cures, supplements, voodoo or spells that I could conjure to make him better. I figure it never hurts to try 🙂
I look forward to hearing from you all and reading your stories. Thanks so much for letting us be part of your group!