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Sudden Blindness in Older Dogs- Causes and Symptoms


As your dog grows older, you will come across various challenges. Aging has a lot of impact on the health of your beloved pet and one of the problems that is quite commonly seen is sudden blindness. This problem may occur due to various diseases or ailments. If your dog is suffering from diabetes, you will find the problem of blindness and cataract. Many times, kidney failure problem is seen in the dogs that in turn results in hypertension. The combined effect of these problems may result in retinal detachment. One of the causes that is relatively unknown and responsible for the sudden blindness in dogs is SARDS or Sudden Acquired Retinal Degeneration Syndrome.

What is SARDS?

 The disease, also referred to as Sudden Acquired Retinal Degeneration Syndrome is a frustrating ailment or a disease which usually occurs due to aging. This problem is seen mostly in dogs aged 8.5 years, particularly in breeds like Miniature Schnauzers and Dachshunds. Many other dogs that may suffer from this problem are Brittany Spaniels, Pugs and Maltese. Also, it has been seen that female dogs are more predisposed to suffer from this disease than males. In this disease, the retina’s visual cell layer that comprises of cones and rods gets totally destroyed and ultimately results in blindness. It is interesting to note that losing sight is a sudden problem. Many times, just in a matter of a day, the dog may lose its eyesight. The owners may witness a sudden loss of appetite and drinking. Their ability to smell and hearing also decreases.

Causes of SARDS


 There is no clarity about the different reasons and causes behind SARDS. According to the vets, there is deterioration in the cones and rods of the retina, which is also referred to as apoptosis or cell death. The major cause, whether autoimmune, inflammatory or allergic behind this problem is not known. Also, identifying this problem is very difficult as there is no change in the looks of retina and most of the times; the change is overnight or sudden. Also, there is no indication of inflammation and the dogs do not react to immunity related treatment that proves that it is due to a non-immune cause.

 Symptoms of SARDS

One of the most common symptoms of this disease is the inability of the dogs to navigate around the area where they used to roam around every day. If you find them bumping into things or move in a very cautious way, you can make out that there is a problem. Another major problem that is found associated with this disease is that the blindness as a result of this problem is permanent, though, intermittent sight is reported in young dogs suffering from the disease.

If your dog suffers from SARDS, you will need to be very supportive of your dog and make its life as comfortable as possible. The life quality deteriorates at a fast pace, thus, as a dog owner, you need to take certain steps that help the dog to live with this disease with a frustrating condition, in as a comfortable way as possible.


Swati takes pride of being a dog lover. Her current passions include blogging, writing and collecting dog pictures of various breeds. She is an active member of stray dog care society.

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