Samantha – the one eyed wonder!

SamanthaShortly after moving 1,000 miles to North Carolina, my now husband and I began fostering an 8 year old mini poodle mix nearly 3 years ago from a local shelter. She had kennel cough and we thought we had no risk of wanting to adopt her. Jared (my other half) had grown up without any pets after his childhood German Shepherd passed away when he was 5. I grew up with cats and larger, mostly outdoor dogs and never saw myself owning a little dog. Needless to say, after a week of fostering her, we fell in love. Samantha was unlike any other little dog I had met. (I should mention that I have been a veterinary technician for several years.) We failed with our first foster ever and never looked back!

Sam did not come without any health concerns. As a poodle mix, she had awful dental disease, arthritis, and severe environmental allergies. We fixed up her mouth and began medications to control the allergies and arthritis. It was noted that she had cataracts in both eyes (worse on the right side.) Nothing I didn’t see on a regular basis with other poodle-oids at work. Several blood panels were run on a regular basis to rule out any metabolic cause to the cataracts and thankfully, they all always returned normal. Therefore, Jared and I decided not to have cataract surgery done on either eye and things went along very well.


About a month ago, I noticed Sam was not eating as well and her right eye seemed to have reddening on the sclera (the white of the eye) and the eyeball itself was suddenly slightly enlarged. I took her to work with me and we realized quickly that she had eye pressures 2.5 (58 mmHg) times what they should be. After consulting with an ophthalmology specialist, it was determined that the new Glaucoma was caused by her cataract not allowing the naturally produced liquids within the eyeball to be released. Therefore, the fluids kept backing up and increasing the pressure. It was decided that we would try Dorzolamide and Prednisolone Acetate three times daily. After 2 weeks, her pressures had dropped as low as 23 mmHg but then slowly creeped up again. So we added Latanoprost once daily per the opthamologist. This did not help at all. Two weeks ago, we consulted the opthamologist one final time and her suggestion was to remove the damaged eye (the right one) and do cataract surgery on the healthier one(left.)

So today, Sam had her right eye removed. I don’t know how many times I have discussed enucleations with clients (or even amputations) and never did I imagine it would be this hard for myself. It was probably one of the most awful decisions I have ever made, even in knowing it was the right decision for her. But they have a way of telling us they’re grateful. For example, when you’re at work crying over your beautiful dog because this happened to her as she is recovering from anesthesia and her tail starts wagging… Or now as she lays on the couch next to me curled up and sleeping more soundly than I think she has in a few weeks.

5 thoughts on “Samantha – the one eyed wonder!

  1. Thanks so much for posting your story Kathy. Little Samantha is such a cutie! I had a poodle X when I was a kid and she just reminds me of her.

    One positive thing that has come of it, is that you will be able to better assist clients in the same position in the future.

    1. That’s been a thought I have had. It has not been a fun experience, but it has been one to learn from.

  2. Sam is soo cute! Don’t think your decision was a bad one. My husband and I just went through this same issue with our female basset. It all happened so quickly with our Elly. Now here we are, a month after her eye removal, and she has definitely shown us we did the right thing. It took her quite a while to get back to her spunky self, which reallym worried me, but now she’s playing again. Playing with her stuffed baby and our other basset. Don’t get me wrong, I’m terrified of the day we have to go through this again with her remaining eye since the glaucoma has already started in it, but for now I’m much happier for her. And she definitely seems way happier. Everyone tried telling me that dogs adjust better than we do and I didn’t think that was the case until now. Don’t worry, it will get easier for all of you. 🙂

  3. She is such a cutie. It is so hard watching our babies go through this sad disease. Our 4 year old Siberian Husky had his eye removed 3 months ago. I didn’t deal with the diagnosis very good. I cried and cried for weeks. It broke my heart. Our two sons are grown and they don’t need Mom anymore. Kodie has became my baby. I am so attached to him. We did the meds for 8 months. We had his eye removed the end of March. Doggies are amazing. After it healed, he was his old self again. He doesn’t care that he only has one eye. His other eye is also affected. We put a drop in it twice a day. I pray that it holds out for a long time. It will break my heart for sure when we have to have that one removed. But, again we will get through it. I hope she is healing and becoming her old self every day. Keep us updated. This is a caring group. We all care about each other and our furbabies.

  4. She is a sweetie! I have not gone thru eye removal with my Tina, but still know the sadness of her cataracts that I see when I look in her eyes. It will be a year this fall that she went totally blind. And she accepted it and has thrived not seeing her world! Weird but maybe because she was abused as a pup, now not seeing the fearful sighted world is calming. And given her a sense of pride- she has very few pee/poop accidents now and her tail is up and wagging. And she is happy. We love her, so this is the best for her. Things will settle down, they just know how to do it and handle it better than us!

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