When Night Fell Over Ben – living with a blind dog

When we think about blindness in connection with dogs, automatically the loyal guard dog for the blind people comes to mind. But, how is it when the blind one is the dog and not his human companion? Are we as loyal to our dog as he is to us in case of disability?

I am a writer and would like to share this extraordinary experience with readers who might, some day, be confronted with the same situation as I am now. As the saying goes: shit happens!

Two years ago, my dog Ben suddenly suffered from a severe eye irritation. As we had been painting and decorating including skimming our walls at that time, creating  a lot of dust and fumes, we first tried to wash his eyes out with warm black tea, with milk, and with eye drops provided by our vet. After two days, we had to take him to our vet again as his condition seemed to worsen, where after some tests we were told that Ben suffered from Glaucoma and, for further examination and treatment, needed to be referred to a specialist veterinary clinic in Newmarket. At this point we found out that our pet insurance did not cover us as Glaucoma was an inherited disease.

Before the appointment at Newmarket, I sat down and checked through the internet about reasons for Glaucoma in dogs, about prognosis and treatment. I remembered a family member who also had suffered from Glaucoma and after an eye operation and applying  eye drops she was fine. The vet in Newmarket, whose name was Ben, the same as my dog, sat down and explained the full scale of what from now on was going to happen to our dog. This was when it finally sank in, the whole tragedy of this inherited disease; that there was no cure for it (unlike for humans); that in the forseeable future our lovely dog Ben would be completely blind and his eyes would have to be removed.

For 2 years, we applied eye drops every 8 hours to regulate the inner eye pressure and when his left eye finally was totally blind, we thought, good that he still has his right eye. When trgedy strikes, we humans tend to lie to ourselves to come to terms with reality.

Last week, while on a long walk through the fields along a river, suddenly Ben had disppeared. All we could hear was a terrible scream from the bottom of the river bank and there he was – our Ben had followed my other two dogs as usual, only that they had stopped at the river bank and he had fallen in as he could not see the end of the sloped border of the embankment. After a muddy, wet rescue by my partner Eric, we realised that the time had come for our Ben to completely rely on our help if he was to survive uninjured everyday challenges of his dog life. We needed advise and made an appointment with our vet.

If you are interested and would like to share our experience with a blind dog follow my blog I will update weekly. I am not a vet or a specialist for Glaucoma in dogs, but I love my dogs and if my writing helps to prevent suffering in dogs, I would be happy. Glaucoma is an inherited disease and can often be prevented by breeders if eye checks for inherited diseases are done regularly down the line of their dogs. 








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