Dr Julie Schell  BSc(Hons), DVM, CVA, CVCHM, CVC


Regular,  twice yearly veterinary examinations are important as your veterinarian can pick up on issues that you were not aware of.  Even blindness as many pets are blind without their owners even knowing.  If you suspect that your pet is blind, for sure bring him or her to your veterinarian immediately.  Sometimes when the underlying cause is discovered, pets can regain some or even all of their vision.  Sometimes their vision improves as if they can see changes in light, and shadows.  Other times, unfortunately their vision cannot be regained.  The great news is that pets are extremely adaptable.

The most common way to for cats to develop blindness is due to systemic hypertension, otherwise known as high blood pressure.  High blood pressure may be linked to kidney disease, however some cats develop high blood pressure due to an idiopathic primary problem and have no underlying kidney disease.

The most common way for dogs to become blind is through the development of concurrent diabetes mellitus.  Treatment includes treating the diabetes and options to restore vision include cataract removal surgery by the veterinary ophthalmologists (eye specialists) here in Calgary.

Always remember that blind pets can still have excellent quality of life and longevity.  So, definitely keep up hope!

There are many ways to help your pet adapt to their blindness while they are being treated and healed:

1) Dogs and cats are extremely flexible, intelligent animals with excellent memories.  They use their sense of smell, hearing and feeling especially well if they lose their vision. They can memorize the location of furniture in the house very well.  Thus, when you do have to change the position of furniture, do it very slowly and gradually.

2) For cats, keep their litter boxes in the same position.

3) Have water bowls in several areas of the house in easily accessible places.  A water drinking fountain for pets is excellent because the noise will attract the pet.

4) For dogs, using a body harness or a Gentle Leader Head Halter can help guide the pet while on walks.  For cats that go on walks, a body harness is useful as the cat learns to understand where to walk based on the gentle pressures it feels.

5) You can teach your pet more verbal commands- he or she will listen closely to you and learn what you are trying to communicate.

6) Continue to give your blind pet new toys, safe chew toys, vegetables to chew, and puzzles/games as these are stimulating and your pet will know and appreciate them.

7) Bring them to your veterinarian at least twice yearly for monitoring.  Also bring them if you suspect eye injury.  Sometimes blind dogs may bump into things and injure their eyes.  It is important that the eyes remain comfortable and free from glaucoma and scratches.

8) Consider for dogs- Doggles are protective eye goggles to help prevent dogs from injuries to their eyes.

If you have any questions, please contact us at, via email or by phone.


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