A dog lover has praised a dedicated ophthalmology referral vets after being told her pedigree Welsh terrier would be left blind due to the dangerous eye condition glaucoma.
Experts at Eye Vet, in Cheshire, kept beloved pet Cleo pain-free and extended her sight for 18 months, however Karen Williams, from Flintshire in Wales, was initially left dismayed when Cleo then needed to have both eyes removed as a result of the intense pressure on her optic nerves caused by glaucoma.
Karen has chosen Glaucoma Awareness Week (6 to 12 March) to highlight Cleo’s plight and raise awareness of the dangers of the condition – but also to encourage owners who find themselves in a similar situation.
Karen has also expressed her gratitude to the ophthalmology experts at Linnaeus-owned Eye Vet who cared for little Cleo and helped her to enjoy pain-free vision for as long as possible. She explained: “When Cleo was two, we noticed a strange blueish colour to her eyes and we were horrified when vets told us she had inherited glaucoma.
“She was put on medication and later underwent surgery which helped keep her pain free and save her sight for another 18 months, but in December last year we had to take the very hard decision to have both eyes removed.
“The experts at Eye Vet have been excellent throughout, always taking the time to explain any glaucoma treatments or operations that we could have to save her sight for as long as possible.
“We didn’t know what to expect, but Cleo is a very patient and loving girl and she has showed us what to do. She still loves chasing balls and walking on her extended lead. Often, people don’t even realise she is blind. She has shown that dogs losing their sight can, and do, adapt. The postman still gets barked at, as do the local cats, so we still have our wonderful Cleo who is just the same as she was!
“My advice to people with pets in a similar situation as Cleo is to train them with commands such as ‘stop, up and down’, as I really think this helped Cleo adapt to her new life much easier.”
Cleo’s glaucoma treatment was led by Iona Mathieson, an advanced practitioner in ophthalmology at Eye Vet in Sutton Weaver. Iona recalled: “We first saw Cleo for her inherited glaucoma back in June 2020. She had previously been given medication by her vets but it had a minimal effect.
“We carried out an ultrasound scan which showed the drainage angle in her eyes was closed, so the only way to try to give her more time with her vision was through combined laser and shunt surgery. I explained to Karen that the long-term chance of success was poor but she was keen to give Cleo every chance of keeping her vision for as long as possible.
“I operated and used a laser to reduce the production of the intra-ocular fluid and inserted a shunt inside each eye to open up drainage from the eyes. Cleo was then visual and comfortable until December 2021. Cleo enjoyed an extra 18 months of sight but by December last year her intra-ocular pressure rose again, causing blindness and pain, so we had no option but to remove her eyes.
“She recovered well from surgery and, despite being blind, she is now happy without sight and enjoying her life back with her owner. She’s a remarkable dog.”
Eye Vet Referrals is a fully equipped referral clinic with cutting edge ophthalmic equipment which enables them to provide gold standard veterinary care. For more information visit their website.