Parker has always been a pretty low-maintenance Pom. Sure, he has his issues- he had bilateral patella surgery at 6 months old, the occasional seizure for which no neurologist has found an explanation, he was diagnosed with IVDD about 3 years ago- but for the most part he’s always been pretty easy to care for. That’s why the past 3 months of never-ending eye issues has been so strange to deal with!
It all started the morning of May 20th. Things were a flurry at my Mom’s house getting ready for our at-home wedding celebration. We got up super early and Parker was dragging. He plays super hard with Mom’s 5 dogs, so perhaps he was just sore.
He jumped on the bed so we could have our morning belly scratches and I saw it- a blinky left eye and green discharge. He was scratching furiously at his face. We went into semi panic mode- being in the veterinary field I know that eyes aren’t something you want to wait on too long. Thankfully there was a local vet open early that day that accepted weekends.
At first Parker’s eye seemed to be better. He wasn’t as painful or blinky. Then a few days later it came back with a vengeance. You could tell he just felt yucky as well. I packed Parker up and took him to work with me, where we repeated the tests and added another one- tonometry. You know that puff of air the eye doctor shoots at your eye? That’s tonometry. It measures the pressure inside of the eye to check for glaucoma, a painful and debilitating eye disease.
This time Parker’s eye stain showed that he had an ulcer on his eye, so we switched his medications to ones that would heal it. Alas, the next week it was the same. Blinky, ouchy, better- but just not RIGHT yet. So I made an appointment at our local veterinary ophthalmologist.
Dr. Wasserman at Eye Care for Animals was wonderful. He spent what seemed like forever examining both of Parker’s eyes, putting in different drops and telling me what he was seeing. We heard some good news- the ulcer was healed, his right eye looks great. The bad news- he couldn’t see behind the inflammation on the surface of Parker’s left eye to the back of his eye and retina. Parker also didn’t have any menace response in his left eye. This means if the doctor would move his hand towards Parker’s left eye he wouldn’t blink. Basically, he seemed to be blind in that eye, but we couldn’t get the whole picture until the inflammation was gone. Another medication change and re-check two weeks later was prescribed.
Within a few days I could see the inflammation in his eye going away. It was less cloudy and the blepharospasms (blinking) were gone! I was really excited for our second appointment. Parker was feeling great, his eye looked amazing as well. I definitely noticed what seem to be some issues with sight when it came to his left eye, but as we all know this isn’t my first blind dog rodeo!
I was excited for the re-check, considering how great Parker’s eye looked. But, I was worried that he may still not be able to see in the back of his eye, and if he could what he potentially could find in the back of his eye. And I was right to be nervous. It turns out Parker has a tear in his retina.
The retina is the layer on the back of the eye that has cells that are sensitive to light and trigger nerve impulses via the optic nerve to the brain. That explains why he had no menace response- he can’t see much, if at all, from his left eye. There was also blood behind his eye, which could be caused by trauma, high blood pressure, tick borne disease or a whole host of other issues that I don’t even want to think about.
So I packed Parker up and took him to work with me after his appointment. He had a big day! Full blood panel and internal organ function screening, tonometry, blood pressure screening, tick borne disease screening.
It all came back normal. Everything was perfect for my senior man. Now we wait to find out more from Dr. W- is it auto-immune or idiopathic? Right now Parker is feeling great, his eye is looking totally normal, so we wait for more info from the Doc before his check up in 2 months!