Wee Leo Loses Sight

Leo - Blind DogMy Shih Tzu, Leo is 8 years old. He had been a little clumsy the past 6 months or so, like falling when jumping from his favorite perch on the sofa, or leaping from the steps two or three before the bottom and falling. In January, he was sitting in my friend’s lap when he rose up to jump down, caught a nail in her sweater and fell to the floor hitting his head really hard. He didn’t yelp, just looked a little stunned, but seemed normal that night.

I noticed worsening vision every day and after 3 days took him to the vet and she confirmed the pupils were not responding at all. He has not improved. He seems to be able to see bright daylight, as at the top step of the deck he doesn’t hesitate in daylight but at night even with lights on he freezes up, creeps one leg at a time. There are four steps at my front door and back door, so it’s steps no matter what to go potty. If handing him a treat, he bumps his muzzle into it several times before mouthing it. I keep him on leash outside at all times, have not moved any furniture in the house and he seems to navigate moderately well, bumping only a few times in each trip through the living area.

LeoMy biggest concern now is the night time. He has been in the same wire crate, with a water bottle attached to it, every night of his life. Before the blindness he would even go into it of his own accord during the daytime to nap, and at night when I’d say ‘it’s bedtime’ he’d get up and walk directly to the crate. He stayed quietly all night every night. The past two weeks he has been reluctant to enter the crate and has to be helped in, and in the wee hours he wakes me with his heavy panting, whining, pawing and basically acting like a panic attack. He won’t drink until I let him out of the crate, he wanders around the room and comes back to the crate and then drinks.

Apparently there is some brain damage beyond the blindness. So far his temperment has not changed, still very gentle, loving, and loves for visitors to baby talk and pet him. He stays crated in the living room at night, with a gate to keep him from going down the hallway in the daytime into the bedroom carpeted areas (which he is notorious for peeing on, even right after a long walk and many pit-stops!) I could easily just let him stay loose in the living area at night, but I travel frequently to visit children and friends, and can’t just let him stay loose at night in other homes. Any suggestions for the nighttime bug-a-boo???

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