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Eyes

1560 Views 32 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  Goldenchildzara
Hi everyone!
I have about a 7 month old golden, zara. I have noted some changes in her eyes. However, I am not sure if this is just because now that she knows how to sit, I am able to brush her teeth and get a bit closer to her face and haven’t noticed this before or if this is something I should worry about. (I will admit I am a bit neurotic about things as she’s my first pup, but I just want to make sure she is happy and healthy!)

She seems to see fine - can catch treats out of the air, watches birds in the sky, chases flies and ants, not bumping into furniture, will walk around in a dark room etc. I’ve just never seen eyes that reflect the way hers do. And it is only at particular angles of light do her eyes reflect like this!

Any info would help. She is going to the vet in 1 wk to have to looked at but any additional info or questions prior to then would be greatly appreciated!!
Dog Dog breed Carnivore Jaw Ear

Dog Dog breed Carnivore Fawn Companion dog
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There is something in that second picture that I find odd. It may just be the light, but it reminds me of the cloudiness that I saw in my pup's eyes when he developed cataracts at one year of age. Oddly enough, he too has always had extremely reflective eyes - so much so I had asked the ophthalmologist if it could be related to his eye problems/cataracts and she said no, cataracts would make his eyes LESS reflective than a normal dog. Which they did as they worsened over time, but the light still would catch in his eyes more than my other dog who has "normal" eyes, even though I could see the cloudiness in front of them.

I second the opinions to get your dog into an ophthalmologist, not a regular vet. Based on the progression, I think my normal vet probably missed the fact that my dog had the beginnings of cataracts at a very young age. It was relatively advanced by the time I got him to an ophthalmologist.
 

· Kristy
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What does inflammation mean? Like what is the diagnosis associated with that?
Goldens are at risk for more than one eye problem. These problems typically present in older dogs, but not always - which is why we recommended that you have someone who is not a regular vet see your puppy. Inflammation can be caused by an infection, allergies or an injury, it's a result of the body's immune system. I am not trying to alarm you, I am very optimistic that the age of the dog and lack of other symptoms works in your favor. Based on my own life experience and how important our eyes are, I am sharing that if this were my dog, I'd be wasting no time getting to the bottom of the mystery.
 

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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
Goldens are at risk for more than one eye problem. These problems typically present in older dogs, but not always - which is why we recommended that you have someone who is not a regular vet see your puppy. Inflammation can be caused by an infection, allergies or an injury, it's a result of the body's immune system. I am not trying to alarm you, I am very optimistic that the age of the dog and lack of other symptoms works in your favor. Based on my own life experience and how important our eyes are, I am sharing that if this were my dog, I'd be wasting no time getting to the bottom of the mystery.
Thank you! I appreciate all of your info and advice! She has an appt with the regular vet to get the referral. And hopefully if he feels that there is a problem they can get her in sooner rather than later at the eye doc. I will call to also ask for a OFA exam at least to get my foot in the door if the wait time is long. There’s only one ophthalmologist vet near me which is still 2 hours away. but yes, I am doing everything I can currently to get her evaluated!
 

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I do hope your puppy's eyes are fine. By the time mine had very visible cataracts, you could really tell he had vision problems (losing the ball while chasing it, unable to catch treats), so it's great that you haven't noticed any difficulties with her seeing things. The scary thing was that his cataracts developed so quickly, that it was only a week or so after he was diagnosed that the lens capsule ruptured in one of his eyes causing damage to the retina and intense inflammation. So if you are seeing something that seems new, that would be concerning. I hope it's nothing. 🤞
 

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I do hope your puppy's eyes are fine. By the time mine had very visible cataracts, you could really tell he had vision problems (losing the ball while chasing it, unable to catch treats), so it's great that you haven't noticed any difficulties with her seeing things. The scary thing was that his cataracts developed so quickly, that it was only a week or so after he was diagnosed that the lens capsule ruptured in one of his eyes causing damage to the retina and intense inflammation. So if you are seeing something that seems new, that would be concerning. I hope it's nothing. 🤞
Is
I do hope your puppy's eyes are fine. By the time mine had very visible cataracts, you could really tell he had vision problems (losing the ball while chasing it, unable to catch treats), so it's great that you haven't noticed any difficulties with her seeing things. The scary thing was that his cataracts developed so quickly, that it was only a week or so after he was diagnosed that the lens capsule ruptured in one of his eyes causing damage to the retina and intense inflammation. So if you are seeing something that seems new, that would be concerning. I hope it's nothing. 🤞
is this similar to what his eyes looked like?
 

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Cataracts can come in many forms. Most don’t cause vision issues at all. If they do, it’s usually in old age and it’s a slow progression. The scenario described above is pretty rare. At least from breeders who get eyes checked every year according to the GRCA Code of Ethics.

My boy Rocket has cataracts. He was diagnosed with them at 4, but was probably born with them. He’s 7 now and is totally fine. His vision is unaffected, but we do an OFA check every year for progression.

I honestly don’t think there is any reason to panic. Get in to an ophthalmologist as soon as you can, but don’t spend the wait time worrying about her. It won’t change anything and it will only make things worse for you.
 

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Is

is this similar to what his eyes looked like?
Based on the second picture in your original post, that blue cloudiness is similar to what he had. But it can be hard to tell from a picture, depending on how the light is hitting the dog's eyes.

Cataracts can come in many forms. Most don’t cause vision issues at all. If they do, it’s usually in old age and it’s a slow progression. The scenario described above is pretty rare. At least from breeders who get eyes checked every year according to the GRCA Code of Ethics.
I still never got a great answer on why my young dog developed essentially old age cataracts. His parents + grandparents all have normal eyes and he is out a repeat litter from a reputable breeder. His breeder had never heard of this happening, and I believe them.

One ophthalmologist thought it was genetic from some combination of recessive genes. The ophthalmologist that did his surgery said he saw a case like this "once a week" (bearing in mind he is the surgeon that all dogs with eye problems get referred to in the PNW) and thought it was NOT genetic, but rather due to inflammation in the womb. Whether the dam had a fever at some point, or his theory was that fetal resorption can sometimes also cause things to go wrong in the other pups. I have had to let the mystery go and move on, at this point. The surgery was successful, with both lenses being replaced and one eye needing retinal surgery as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #29 ·
Based on the second picture in your original post, that blue cloudiness is similar to what he had. But it can be hard to tell from a picture, depending on how the light is hitting the dog's eyes.



I still never got a great answer on why my young dog developed essentially old age cataracts. His parents + grandparents all have normal eyes and he is out a repeat litter from a reputable breeder. His breeder had never heard of this happening, and I believe them.

One ophthalmologist thought it was genetic from some combination of recessive genes. The ophthalmologist that did his surgery said he saw a case like this "once a week" (bearing in mind he is the surgeon that all dogs with eye problems get referred to in the PNW) and thought it was NOT genetic, but rather due to inflammation in the womb. Whether the dam had a fever at some point, or his theory was that fetal resorption can sometimes also cause things to go wrong in the other pups. I have had to let the mystery go and move on, at this point. The surgery was successful, with both lenses being replaced and one eye needing retinal surgery as well.
Out of curiosity, approximately how much was the surgery?
 

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Out of curiosity, approximately how much was the surgery?
The surgery itself was about $5500. If my memory serves, it would have been ~$1500 less if his lens capsule hadn't ruptured causing damage to the retina. I was lucky to have pet insurance, which covered 80% of the costs. This was in Seattle, so I'm sure the cost varies based on region.

Edit to add that the surgeon was fantastic and stressed that dogs can live a good and full life with vision loss. There was no pressure at all, given the substantial financial commitment. That being said, I would have paid it regardless and done anything to save my boy's eyes. It was a huge ordeal but SO worth it. He was not mildly affected, he was going to go completely blind in both eyes in a matter of weeks.

However, as Arkansasgold said, this is a very rare thing to happen. Please don't worry too much! You aren't seeing vision impairment, which is a great sign.
 

· Kate
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Dog breed Eyelash Carnivore Liver Fawn


^^^ So I was curious and dug through pictures to see if I could find one that showed the cataracts that our first golden had.

The eye on the right side of the picture shows a glimpse of his cataract. Best way to describe it is looking in his eyes you could see a cloudiness deep in them. This was unrelated to a light shining in there or not. He was about 3 years old in this picture. He had been dx with cataracts by our vet when he was about 2 years old. He was about 3 years old when he started showing the more obvious signs of kidney problems (anorexic, reluctant to exercise, etc). He lived three more years after this.

He had renal failure related to an under-developed/deformed kidney.

It's a toss up whether he had cataracts because of the kidneys or if he was born with cataracts separate from the effects. I believe it was separate because his cataracts basically remained the same. He never got the full blue clouded look that I've seen with dogs with serious cataracts needing surgery.

The reflection in the eye on the left side isn't really something to worry about - most pictures from the first 2 dogs I had were taken using crappy throwaway cameras. Our dogs generally looked like characters from little orphan annie (so did most of our pics when we were kids - except we had red eyes LOL).
 

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Just a point of clarification, OFA is NOT a full Eye exam. Personally if I was concerned, I would make appt ith eye doc or get that referral to the eye doc for a full exam. Not everything can be seen or diagnosed in an OFA exam.
I’ve had goldens with corneal distrophy and entropion, so I’m used to regular exams versus OFA exams.
One thing you can do is get DNA testing done to eliminate PRA and other inherited diseases that can be picked up in DNA testing. Embark is one company that will do the testing. It’s any easy test with just a cheek swab that doesn’t require a vet visit.
 

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Just a follow up! She was evaluated by the regular vet today, in order to get a referral to the ophthalmologist. He did note the upside down Y, which are the suture lines of her lens. This is where the lens forms and fuses together. He said that typically you are not able to see the suture line as prominently, but he was not concerned as she has no symptoms.
The blue discoloration of her eyes he noted in bright light but did not see any abnormalities on fundoscopic exam and said that it is likely just how light reflects off of her tapetum, the part of the eye that helps with night vision. He recommended that we do see an ophthalmologist as cataracts can form along the suture lines, as the can with any dog, but just to monitor and that there is nothing urgent. I told him that we are getting the OFA exam done in the meantime while we wait for the ophthalmologist as they are booking out several months in advance. I will continue to post updates as I get more info but for now, there is nothing urgently wrong as she has no signs or symptoms of vision/eye issues!
 
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