Microphthalmia in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes and Treatment
Dogs suffering from microphthalmia have a prominent third eyelid which can be seen in puppies as soon as they open their eyes. In many breeds it is accompanied by cataracts.
The eyes will appear smaller and recessed into their sockets.
Cataracts in puppies can be progressive, or can be re-absorbed, resulting in greater vision. With a dog's heightened sense of smell, it is easy to miss the signs of poor vision.
Although this is a genetic disease, passed on from one or both parents, it can also occur if the mother is given certain medications whilst pregnant.
The internal structure of the eye is also abnormal so little can be done to treat the condition.
There is no treatment for this condition. Resulting conditions, such as cataracts, can sometimes be treated, but not the underlying cause and it can eventually result in complete blindness.
Blind dogs, or those with severely impaired vision, need a special environment in which to feel secure. Furniture should never be moved about, regular exercise routes should be maintained, and great care should be taken not to startle the dog.
A blind dog can be trained to respond to certain noises, such as bells, also to the feel of certain surfaces. For instance, if you had a step that the dog cannot see, putting a particular rug along the top of that one step will help him to know that it is there.
Giant breeds which are susceptible to this condition, include the Akita and the St Bernard.
The condition appears more likely to occur in merle coloured dogs, especially those with prominently white fur.
A good breeder will never breed from a dog with this condition.
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