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Old 07-16-2018, 02:29 AM   #1
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Exclamation 10 year old Yorkie with failing eyesight and arthritis

Hello friends, it's been awhile again.
In the time we've been absent from the forum, my lovely Jenna has begun to lose her eyesight. We've moved from where we lived in Alaska, I and my kids are now living in the southwest Oregon coastal region. I'm starting to see Jenna getting a bit old and creaky, she still gets around alright, but the first year we were here I noticed she was acting oddly: peeing in the house mostly and ear scratching so took her to a local vet for a checkup. While receiving treatment for mild otitis, the vet noticed her irises weren't responding normally and pronounced her functionally blind. I was shocked because her eyes appeared normal to me, but I could see that they had "corners" to them instead of rounded edges and they were slow to respond to light changes.


So I sought a second opinion from a different clinic that had an ophthalmologist on board. She said Jenna was still sighted, just a bit diminished. I was so relieved.


However, she was given ketorolac drops to use to "prevent worsening of her condition and possible glaucoma development."
I was skeptical and did not begin the drops for 6 months. I've begun working for the first time in 27 years and had little time for research, but did what I could. Nothing I saw said that drops would stop the progression of her disease; which was determined to be nuclear sclerosis with some retinal degeneration and cataracts forming.



I did begin the drops last October, but all it seems to have done is accelerate the cataract's progression. She is almost completely occluded in her left eye now (70%) and the right is going. She can't find me if I am standing right next to her, I'm not sure she isn't going deaf also. She cries a lot and gets frantic when I have to go to work. It disturbs me that this is affecting her separation anxiety as well, she's worse than she's ever been. The only time she is calm is when I am with her. My work week makes that impossible.


She's also been prescribed OcuGlo supplements, but you can imagine my increased skepticism.


She is not a candidate for surgery due to her iris deterioration.


Is there anything else I can do to help my baby? I have been told I could get yet another opinion,which will mean traveling to either Portland or U.C. Davis, California. My schedule currently doesn't allow for that kind of trip and I don't really have reliable transport.



However, I want to give Jenna every chance. Perhaps there is something here at YT that I haven't heard of yet that may help? Any experience here with this kind of condition? I'll add that she's taken a few falls since her eyes have worsened and we're having the devil's own time keeping her from hurting herself because she doesn't realize how vulnerable she is. Luckily she hasn't been badly hurt and I intend for her never to be.


I want her around for quite a few more years yet. We're also looking for a better food for her, she was vegetarian for the last 5 years and is finally eating meat again after life threatening vasculitis in 2013. I do wonder if meat may have accelerated her issues as she was better before returning to eating it, but she gets such joy from her "chicken tidbits." She is still eating DVPNB kibble but has lost 3 pounds since coming here in 2016. I have to fight to keep weight on her.


All bloods and urinalysis come back normal. No obvious issues except the eyes and possible arthritis. She has been prescribed metacam for any pain, but I try not to give her much of that. I used it for years for my rabbits' aches and pains and I know dogs don't synthesize it as well as bunnies do...but even they could only tolerate so much daily dosing before I had to get them stomach medication to protect them from ulcers. Add to that, I lost my Mack Husky and one cat years ago to kidney failure and I have two cats currently suffering from it. I don't want to press my luck.



Thank you all for reading and for any and all replies.
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Last edited by Jenna AK; 07-16-2018 at 02:33 AM.
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Old 07-16-2018, 05:47 AM   #2
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I cant really help with the eye sight. Callie is 11 and has had 3 knee surgeries in her life and has arthritis and we give metacam every day and have for close to two years and there has been no change in her blood work and it as been a miracle for her because no she is jumping and running again. In she her from arthritis then do give her the meds and just keep an eye on the blood work there is no need in her being uncomfortable. With her sight being bad in order to keep her from getting hurt you may need to look at an exercise pen or keeping her in a safe room when you cant watch her. If her anxiety is really bad there are meds that can significantly help with that. Several years ago Calliehad Togo on one for a few months and then never needed them again. Im wondering if weight is an age thing because Callie has lost a significant amount to. We fear cancer but blood work nor X-rays showed any at this time. When our babies get older its hard but we must do what is best for them and keep them comfortable.
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Old 07-17-2018, 04:29 AM   #3
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Good to see you here .

I'm so sorry to hear about everything little Jenna is going through. I can share some experience about eye issues. Our beloved Wylie had juvenile cataracts (but no diabetes, it was very odd) - starting at, gosh, I think age 5ish...?!!! His sight didn't get super bad until maybe 4yrs later, and he was almost totally blind the last couple years of his life. He did *amazingly*, even though blind - these little ones memorize spaces and can do incredibly well.

The *most* important thing to do for cataracts to prevent inflammation that will lead to glaucoma -- this is just SO key and important. Most vets prescribe Flurbiprofen drops for this - it's an anti-inflammatory. The drops you're using are also anti-inflam, but you may want to ask if one is better than the other for any reason. In addition, many dogs w/ cataracts have extremely dry eyes -- that can be confirmed with a simple Schirmer test. For that level of dry eye, the ophthalmologist will start having you use Optimmune; then if dry eye worsens over time - they'll move you up to Tacrolimus.

For arthritis -- this can be very painful, and keep in mind that dogs can and will mask a lot of pain they're in, so you may be only seeing a bit of what is actually a lot of pain. I would consult with a good vet about giving Dausaquin (get on Amazon, not from vet), regular pain meds and/or NSAIDS (anti-inflam); and, I'd definitely explore Adequan injections bc they truly can be a miracle.

For her fear and anxiety, maybe create a safe little space for her...has that been tried? And perhaps purchase a Thundershirt off of ebay. And worse case, don't be afraid to use prescription meds for a kiddo who is undergoing extreme stress and anxiety; meds can truly help them and it's well worth it if it improves their quality of life.

Wishing you the very best and please keep us posted.
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