Sooo... I started 2014 with a positive outlook. 2013 had been so crummy that I figured, things could only get better. Unfortunately, yet another hurdle was put in front of me. Around Christmastime I noticed my dog, Beamer, was acting unusual. I noticed he was eating and drinking a lot more and was a lot less active and borderline lethargic. Shortly after I noticed the change in behavior, I also noticed a bump on his belly so I took him in to see the vet.
When Lexie was sick, I was taking her in to have blood work run about once a month, sometimes more, sometimes less. So I wasn't looking forward to going back, but I needed to make sure nothing serious was wrong. The doctor told me some things I already knew, (that he has a faint heart murmur) and some things I didn't (that his teeth are in pretty bad shape and should probably be looked at). And, after evaluating the bump I had found, found that it was nothing to be concerned about. The excess eating and drinking seemed to be a none issue. So that wrapped up that appointment.
Fast forward to about two weeks later. It's the morning and I'm getting ready for work and every morning before I leave, I give Beamer a little piece of chicken as his "bye-bye treat". I reached down to hand him the chicken and he looked right past it and seemed to be sniffing around for it. My heart sank. He obviously couldn't see the chicken that was right in front of his face. I thought, "that can't be right, he must have something in his eye or something". After a couple days I realized, he's definitely not seeing things so I, again, took him to the vet. While there, they ran through some routine testing to check his vision. Afterward the vet told me "it appears he's pretty much 100% blind". WHAT?! He was JUST here... he was JUST fine. He's only eight years old! (Very young for his bread.) I had brought my mom to the appointment and we just turned to each other, baffled by what we were being told. The vet recommended we see a specialist and referred us.
I went home, devastated. What do you mean he's blind?? I just couldn't wrap my head about it. I, of course, immediately started researching. I found out about this thing called SARDS, or sudden acquired retinal degeneration syndrome, which, as it sounds basically leaves dogs blind in a matter of days or weeks. The symptoms seemed to line up perfectly with Beamers, even stating that it's most often found in dachshunds.
When we met with the specialist, I'm not going to lie, I wasn't real impressed with her but, she did in fact reference SARDS. I don't know why, but I was keeping hope alive that maybe a specialist would be able to tell me, don't worry, there's a procedure we can do to correct his vision, or even give him SOME vision back. But, no such luck.
Truth be told, I think I've taken the whole thing harder than Beamer has. He's been getting around pretty well, bumping into things here and there. It breaks my heart every time but, at this point, there's no sense being devastated over it, it's just the way things are now, another hurdle to jump over.
One day I'll be on the other side of all of this and I'll be a stronger person because of it but, for the time being, it has definitely been rough. Because of the excess eating, he has been putting on a lot of weight which, like in humans, is unhealthy and can lead to things like diabetes and heart disease. Because of the excess drinking he is also going to the bathroom ALL the time. I keep joking that I might as well have a baby soon because I'm already getting up several times a night to take him out to go to the bathroom.
If anyone reading this has any experience with SARDS or with blindness in a pet in general, I would love any sort of tips and advice. This has been quite a struggle but, luckily, I've had a good support system of people who care and are willing to help in any way they can and I am so thankful for that.