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Dog going blind.

Species: Dog
Breed: Mixed breed-pit and
Age: 8-11 years
Our dog Vinnie started suddenly to become lethargic and then over a period of 4 months started to go blind. We have had his blood tested with no issues. A urine analysis with no results. His eyes were checked and the doctor say they looked fine. Then they did a tear test and the vet gave us drops and optimune ointment to put in his eyes to treat dry eye. The vet won't acknowledge that Vinnie is going blind for some reason.
Our dog is staggering and tripping and running into things. He can't see his food or treat that are right in front of him. He is suddenly going blind. We can't figure out why all of the sudden he is so different. Then we recalled that our vet recommended we put him on Trifexis. We are wondering if there is any correlation with the lethargy and low energy and mostly the blindness with this drug. That is the only change we have made to Vinnie's routine. Up till now he has NEVER had a single health issue that required a visit to the vet.

We do feed him Only Natural Pet Easy Raw pet food and have for about 4 years and supplement that with fish oil and bully sticks and the occasional avocado from our tree.

Your response is very important to us. He is my best friend and I am hurting watching him suffer.

Bill and Kris Darrah
Maui Hawaii

Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

So sorry to hear that Vinnie is going blind. This is very unlikely to be because of Trifexis. One possibility is something called SARD, Sudden Acquired Retinal Degeneration. This is a condition where the retina at the back of the eye loses it's ability to process vision. Unfortunately there is nothing that can be done about this type of condition.

There are other possibilities. A condition called optic neuritis where there is inflammation in the optic nerve can cause blindness. A tumor affecting the optic nerve is possible as well.

These things can be very difficult to diagnose. The best option that I can see would be to ask your vet for a referral to a veterinary ophthalmologist. These vets specialize in eye issues with pets and have access to other tests that general practitioners do not have.

If this is SARD (which is the most likely explanation) the good news is that it is not painful at all to Vinnie.

Dr. Marie.

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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

Customer reply:

Dr. Marie

Our vet has recommended that we put Vinnie on Pregnazone pills for a week to see if he had some inflamation or something else I guess that this would help. We are at the end of the week and he seems about the same.

1.Are you aware of any treatment for the Optic Neuritis?

2. Are there any natural paths that we could take that may help?

3. What makes you feel that the Trifexis is not a probable cause for Vinnie's symptoms?

We do have an appointment with a vet ophthalmologist in about one month. We have to fly with Vinnie to Oahu from Maui to do that.

Thanks for your response

Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Prednisone is a good idea. If there is optic neuritis then this means that the optic nerve is inflamed. The prednisone could really help. There are different types of optic neuritis. Some can be what is called, "immune mediated" which means that the immune system is attacking the nerve. If this is the case then the Prednisone will help and in some cases, long term Prednisone may keep the problem at bay. But there are many other causes as well and quite often the cause is not found. In those cases, there is no known treatment.

There are no natural treatments that I can think of.

Regarding Trifexis, I know it gets a bad rap but I think that this is internet hype. You have probably seen my blog post on potential Trifexis problems. The comments section of that post is scary with post after post of people having complaints. However, I regularly search VIN (Veterinary Information Network) where tens of thousands of vets discuss veterinary medicine and vets are not echoing this problem. Believe me, if there was a serious concern about a medication vets would be discussing it. There is the odd dog who has some vomiting after Trifexis and some do get some temporary dullness. But, blindness, optic neuritis and the like have not been noted as far as I know. If this type of thing was happening, the FDA would be on it very quickly. I personally believe that some competitors of Trifexis are posting a good number of these comments.

I'm glad to hear that you have an appointment with the ophthalmologist. Feel free to let me know what he or she says once you have had your visit. You can do that by replying to this post.

Dr. Marie.

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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.