Recently, I noticed that when I photographed R in the sunlight, his eyes glowed green, as if I'd used a flash. But I hadn't. That was my first clue that something was not normal with his eyes.
That caused me to panic about his eyesight. Our regular vet saw him on Monday, and she started him on meds to take down the inflammation and the pressure inside his eyes. She prepared us for bad news - saying that she suspected that he had glaucoma.
Fast forward to yesterday - we got an emergency appointment with a veterinary ophthalmologist. He confirmed what our vet had suspected. His tests showed R to already be mostly blind in his left eye. Perhaps you can see in the photo above that his left eye looked worst.
Moreover, the tests showed that he has glaucoma in his right eye but it hasn't progressed so far yet. Thankfully, R can still see with his right eye.
His glaucoma is due to a genetic defect in the system for draining fluid from inside his eyes. This progression toward blindness was inevitable, set into motion on the very day that R was born. Sadly, this disease can't be seen until it has become very bad.
We have quite a journey ahead of us. R will join Shyla in needing multiple meds throughout every single day. We don't mind at all because these meds might help him a lot. The hopes are: 1) that we can slow the progression of the glaucoma in his right ("good") eye, thereby delaying the onset of total blindness, and 2) that we can keep the intraocular pressure from getting so high in either eye that he needs his eye(s) removed. The left eye's vision cannot be saved - it will remain blind - but he might keep the eye if we can control that pressure.
R does not seem to be in pain. Controlling the pressure inside his eyes is the key to preventing pain.
I have sat here staring at my computer screen for a long time, trying to figure out how to articulate how we feel. I always go through phases in coping with this type of news but I already know what our life will look like as we move forward.
We will follow R's lead. He isn't upset, depressed, or angry. He's still the happy-go-lucky dog who we've always loved. The vet put no constraints on what he's allowed to do. The vet's only caution was about dealing with dark areas where lack of visual depth of field might make R stumble and get hurt.
So, we'll keep on doing the stuff that he loves. In fact, just last week, we visited one of our dogs' favorite lakes. R took flying leaps into the water like SuperDog!
And he fetched tennis balls from the water.
He sprinted through the water, splashing around like the puppy that he is, at heart.
We all had a wonderful time, including his sister.