Top Ten Dog Health Guides
Treatment and Prognosis for Blindness in Dogs
Most authorities recommend against administering systemic corticosteroids as a form of empirical therapy – which is treatment before the precise cause of the condition is determined - because premature administration of drugs that suppress the dog’s immune system (like steroids) may make it more difficult to diagnose neoplasia (cancer) and other inflammatory disorders, and may actually prompt the proliferation of infectious diseases. The primary cause of a dog’s blindness must be identified for effective treatment or management to begin. In some cases, especially if the vision loss is irreversible and the dog is painful, removal of the affected eye (which is called “enucleation”) may be a viable alternative.
The prognosis for dogs with vision loss is highly variable and depends almost entirely on the underlying cause of the condition. For example, dogs that are born blind (have congenital blindness) probably will never be able to see. On the other hand, dogs that develop acute vision loss may have their sight restored, especially if there is rapid diagnosis and aggressive treatment of the cause of their vision loss. Unfortunately, in many cases, blindness is irreversible. However, most causes of blindness are rarely fatal, and affected dogs usually are able to live relatively normal, full and functional lives.