It doesn’t mean you have to spend hours every day revolving your life around your dog. You don’t even have to do these things every day (though some of them you certainly could). But making a little bit of time goes a long way in creating balance in your relationship with your dog and will filter into other areas of your life too…
Dogs, just like people, can potentially develop a plethora of ocular (eye) problems. Some of these problems can immediately affect your dog’s vision, while others, if left untreated, can negatively impact your dog’s vision over time. It is always strongly advised that any ocular problems be evaluated immediately by your veterinarian. While your regular veterinarian is equipped to treat many ocular diseases, there are some cases that may require referral to a veterinary ophthalmology specialist. To get the lowdown on canine eye issues, I’ve consulted my veterinarian friend Dr. Alisha Selzner from Companion Pet Hospital in Fishkill.
The eye is a very complex structure, with many different anatomical parts and functions. Therefore, it’s best left to the professionals who understand this anatomy and can assess the eyes in an educated manner.
Dr. Alisha Selzner of Companion Pet Hospital in Fishkill is dedicated to helping people understand how to work with their senior pets. “I always tell people that age is not a disease. Unfortunately, as we age and as our pets age, we start to accumulate more problems that have to be managed in order to maintain a good quality of life. Geriatric dogs can be prone to arthritis, loss of hearing, ocular conditions that lead to loss of vision, kidney failure, heart disease (leaky heart valves, thickened heart muscle, weakened heart muscle), thyroid conditions, cancerous processes, and other issues as well.”
One such condition that can be common in older dogs is Geriatric Dog Vestibular Disease or Idiopathic Vestibular disease. What exactly does this mean? Dr. Selzner explains, “In general, vestibular disease is similar to vertigo in people. A dog’s balance and sense of orientation in space can be altered. Patients with vestibular disease often have a head tilt, nystagmus (abnormal horizontal eye movements), and may vomit or decline to eat due to nausea associated with dizziness. Vestibular disease can be linked with an inner or middle ear infection, or in rare circumstances can be due to a brain tumor. However, the most common form of vestibular disease in dogs is Idiopathic or Geriatric Dog Vestibular disease, which occurs in senior pets for an unknown reason.”
I once had a woman at an event tell me that her dog was a disaster but that training him was such an “inconvenience.” She had a family to care for, two young kids, and no time to invest in training her dog. I understand that life can be busy, especially with young kids and a job, but I had to wonder… is this “inconvenience” worth resulting in a dog who can’t control himself around the kids, is destroying items in your home repeatedly, and that you can’t take out of the house? To me that doesn’t sound like a family dog; it sounds more like a family having a dog because they like the appeal of having a dog around but don’t really understand what is involved in making the dog a part of their family.