Hearing and vision loss in pets can happen at any stage of their life, but these conditions are more likely to affect them when they're older. Some conditions can be treated while others are chronic in nature and can't be reversed. However, vision and hearing loss in pets is not the end of their world as long as you're ready to take on the challenges these issues present. Following is a look at these issues and why you should consult with a veterinarian if you suspect hearing or vision loss in your pet.
Understanding Vision Loss in Pets
Dogs and cats can lose their vision with age or disease. You may not notice your pet's vision loss due to the fact pets are very good at memorizing their surroundings and are capable of navigating the home as long as the layout stays the same. This can happen even when your pet has a disease or disorder that affects their vision -- you might not realize that your pet has lost a significant portion of their sight to the disease until they start acting erratic or strange, or bump into objects and walls with regularity.
Some of the causes of blindness include:
- Retinal detachment
- Nuclear sclerosis
- Progressive retinal atrophy
All of these conditions are found in both cats and dogs and some can lead to total vision loss in pets. It's best to consult with a veterinarian in Bend about the short and long-term prognosis of vision loss as it relates to a specific physical condition in your pet.
How Hearing Loss in Pets Happens
Hearing loss in pets is a normal part of the aging process, but it can also happen as the result of an existing health condition. Outside of age, deafness in dogs and cats tend to have different causes. Pets adapt to the loss of hearing without much trouble and look to other pets or people for visual cues. However, pet parents might get frustrated with their pet not always responding to them, or at all. Here's a look at what causes hearing loss in cats and dogs:
Cats can experience hearing loss through repeated infections, hypothyroidism, diabetes, tumors, cancerous growths, ear mites and polyps. If you see changes to the structure of your cat's ear, discharge, dirt or a waxy coating, your cat needs their ears checked by a veterinarian for a diagnosis.
Dogs can acquire deafness through trauma to the temporal bone that surrounds the inner ear. Some of the causes include gunshots, the loss of myelin that surrounds the nerve cells, medications that are known to be toxic to the ear, tumors in the brainstem, and degeneration of the cochlea in older dogs. Blockage of the ear canal from inflammation and scarring and debris are also known to cause deafness in dogs.
How to Manage Hearing and Vision Loss in Pets
Pets are remarkably adaptable to the loss of hearing and vision, but there are always exceptions to the rule. Try to keep changes to the flow of the house to a minimum and remember to be obvious when approaching your pet. Make noise for a blind animal and keep your voice within the range of hearing your pet has left. Totally deaf pets should always be approached with caution to avoid an accidental bite or swipe of the claws.