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 Post subject: Another Journey with SARDS
PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2012 6:48 pm 
Four weeks ago tonight my beloved Snow White was clearly having vision problems. I knew almost immediately what it must be. I spent the entire next day at my regular veterinarian, ruling out cushings and other issues, and the veterinary ophthalmologist with her. The diagnosis was what I feared. SARDS. Sudden Acquired Retinal Degeneration Syndrome.

Devastation. For those that don't know SARDS takes a dogs vision nearly overnight. They go from seeing to blackness. there is no light, no shadows no blurry vision, no time to adjust, just normal vision to absolutely nothing. It's like the dog has it's eyes removed.

I had been up nearly all the night before scouring anything I could find regarding treatment. This was not my first rodeo with this disease. Moonie was diagnosed with it years before her death (hers came with cushings, SW did not). I knew there was no real treatment. There has been some success at the University of Iowa with human Immunoglobin but there wasn't much info on it other than a couple of dogs who had been successfully treated. The eyesight never comes back but can be held 'as is' for a time with it.

There was also some talk of Prednisone and Doxycycline. I had already asked my regular vet for it and she was happy to comply although she didn't know dosage for this. The eye doc gave me the correct dose. After her exam confirming the SARDS I questioned the vet about a hereditary factor. She unequivocally stated there is no predisposition of any breed, let alone a hereditary link. I stated it must be my bad luck that this is the second dog I've had with this disease then. She was dumbfounded. She said she would look into it further. There are only 4000 dogs a year diagnosed in North America with this disease. At our two week checkup she reconfirmed the no hereditary connection. She said she checked all her literature, and nothing indicates even a predisposition cockers.

Here is where I offer hope to anyone whose dog might be diagnosed with this awful disease. I was counting vision by the twelve hour increments grateful for any time I had left with my girl living a normal life. 12 hours stretched to 24 and then a week and I am thrilled to say 4 weeks later Snow White still has functional vision. She passed a maze test with flying colors at her two week checkup at the eye doc, where it literally brought tears to my eyes to watch her maneuver around the obstacles like a seeing dog (and quite proud when she was in a sit stay and came flying through that maze when I said Snow White COME!). This drug regimen has given Snow White at the very least time to adjust to her blindness, at the best, months, hopefully a year with at least some vision. The eye doc said the longest she's seen a dog keep vision without treatments was a couple of days (though it seems to me it took Moonie 10-14 days to go completely blind)

She's still taking prednisone and will for at least another six weeks until her next checkup. She has trouble adjusting from bright light to room light,in fact I was sure she had lost all vision one day when she came in from outside bumping into everything, but I realized later it's the adjustment. Otherwise she is doing well. The eye doc said this might allow her to keep her sight for 'months' she has never seen years. I hope Snow White is the first one that makes it years. Having this precious girl lose her sight at 6.5 years is heartbreaking. Anyone who has ever met her will tell you she is the best ambassador this breed could have. For this to happen to her is just so unfair.

http://www.eyevet.ca/sards.html


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 Post subject: Re: Another Journey with SARDS
PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2012 7:19 pm 
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Sending positive thoughts for both you and Snow White.


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 Post subject: Re: Another Journey with SARDS
PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2012 7:24 pm 
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So sorry Julie I hope she holds onto sight for years also.


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 Post subject: Re: Another Journey with SARDS
PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2012 7:43 pm 
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Snow White and your other dogs...are all blessed to have the best dog mom ever. Her spirit will overcome whatever disability she has, with your help. I would trust few people with my girls....but you and Mike are in that exclusive club :wnk Snow White was the first of your dogs I saw in person, ..saw her show at Bremerton at Peninsula Dog Fanciers, I think with Stephanie Kaul...and her beauty and grace astounded me.

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 Post subject: Re: Another Journey with SARDS
PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2012 8:12 pm 
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Julie,
I am so sorry to hear this about Snow White. Positive thoughts and prayers for you and your family (humans and dogs).

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Louie BN RA CGC R/W Parti 2/4/03-5/29/17
Heidi CD BN RA CGC Buff DOB: 3/31/06
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 Post subject: Re: Another Journey with SARDS
PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2012 2:46 am 
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Oh Julie that really stinks! You have had a rough few months. Prayers coming for all of you.

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 Post subject: Re: Another Journey with SARDS
PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2012 3:17 am 
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I'm so sorry to hear this, Julie. I'd never heard of this rare disorder - how tragic that you've had to deal with it twice. Hugs to Snow White!

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 Post subject: Re: Another Journey with SARDS
PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2012 3:53 am 
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So sorry to hear this.....there are no words. :sad

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 Post subject: Re: Another Journey with SARDS
PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2012 3:56 am 
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Julie, I am sorry to hear this. My hopes and prayers for the best for you and Snow White. :hp

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 Post subject: Re: Another Journey with SARDS
PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2012 4:16 am 
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Julie, I am so sorry you must go through this again.....but happy you have found a way to help her adjust. You have been through a lot lately and I hope you get some down time to relax.
Becky

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 Post subject: Re: Another Journey with SARDS
PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2012 4:38 am 
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Snow White is such a beautiful dog ...sorry to hear this happening to her.


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 Post subject: Re: Another Journey with SARDS
PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2012 5:14 am 
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So sorry to hear this....praying she has her sight for a long time yet.....

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Maya - Blue Merle born 5/28/06
Angel - White Buff rescued 4/19/09 at 4mo of age
Belle - Cocker mix rescued 6/5/13 at 8 weeks of age
^Ginger^ - Buff rescued 5/19/07 went to the bridge 5/26/13
^Lacey^ -Black Cocker always in our hearts 12/15/89-7/16/06


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 Post subject: Re: Another Journey with SARDS
PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2012 5:46 am 
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Julie, I am so sorry to hear about Snow White. Fingers, paws and whatever can be crossed for Snow White to be the dog that sets the mark for the longest time period for keeping her vision. Julie, thank you so much for the information that you provide for us in so many different areas to help us be the best cocker parents that we can be and for our babies to be healthy, happy, and the best that they can be!! :TYou

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 Post subject: Re: Another Journey with SARDS
PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2012 6:24 am 
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:sad Heartbreaking for you and Snow White!! I hope she retains her sight for as long as possible; however dogs seem to adjust miraculously to being sightless, unlike people!
Reading between the lines...if there is no genetic predisposition to SARDS then it sounds like an auto-immune type of condtion...or do they know what causes this??? :?:

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 Post subject: Re: Another Journey with SARDS
PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2012 6:31 am 
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I am very sorry, Julie, to hear about this latest problem with one of your own. :sad But, I want to thank you for sharing this unfortunate circumstance with the rest of us. :hp

We all can learn so much from one as experienced as yourself. :Clap

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 Post subject: Re: Another Journey with SARDS
PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2012 6:58 am 
Teri wrote:
:sad Heartbreaking for you and Snow White!! I hope she retains her sight for as long as possible; however dogs seem to adjust miraculously to being sightless, unlike people!
Reading between the lines...if there is no genetic predisposition to SARDS then it sounds like an auto-immune type of condtion...or do they know what causes this??? :?:


They know very little about it. I've read at least the first two google pages on it and there is no real information about what causes it. They speculate about a lot of stuff, but absolutely nothing concrete. With only 4000 dogs a year being diagnosed with it I'm guessing it will be a long time before they are able to come up with a cause, if ever. It's probably not a pressing concern unlike PRA or cataracts.


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 Post subject: Re: Another Journey with SARDS
PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2012 7:01 am 
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Julie, I'm so very sorry to hear this. It is just so sad. I hope that Snow White's the exception to the rule and retains some of her sight.
This just sucks.

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 Post subject: Re: Another Journey with SARDS
PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2012 8:01 am 
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So sorry to hear of Snow White's vision problems. My thoughts and prayers are with you both that she will go "years" without becoming blind. Please do keep us posted.

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 Post subject: Re: Another Journey with SARDS
PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2012 8:45 am 
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Julie, I am so very sorry to read about Snow White's eye issues. So very sad. I'm praying for the very best outcome for Snow White and for you, too, Julie, as you are dealing with SARDS in this little girl that you love so very much. You have certainly had way more than your share of health problems with your pups in the last few months. Not fair! Julie, thanks for being a great friend to all of us, always ready to answer our questions and give help and support. God bless you, Julie. :hp


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 Post subject: Re: Another Journey with SARDS
PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2012 9:55 am 
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Julie...

What a couple of months you've had! My goodness I hope this is the last of it and the rest of the year goes smoothly! Prayers for SW and you.....

Just a thought... would some Doggles help SW when she goes outside? .. it helped my Ivy when she started having trouble with light/dark contrasts. http://doggles.com/

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 Post subject: Re: Another Journey with SARDS
PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2012 10:47 am 
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Sending prayers and love to your and Snow White!

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 Post subject: Re: Another Journey with SARDS
PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2012 11:03 am 
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Prayers for you and Snow White. She will do fine with all the love and support of her family.

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 Post subject: Re: Another Journey with SARDS
PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2012 12:18 pm 
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Julie and Snow White,

I am so very sorry to read about this condition. On a fairly positive note, you have been able to retain some aspect of eye sight for your beautiful Snow White. It is my hope and sending my prayers that this condition can continue to be kept at the state it is at now. Not a very well stated sentence, but you know what I mean.

You have had your share of trouble with your doggies and we all feel your pain. :hp We also wish the best to you and Snow White. You have always been here for us and we are now here for you. Ask and you shall receive, Julie.

Take care. I am sorry, but glad that you have shared all of your experiences with us. We always learn from you, good, bad or sad. :sad

Dawn :hp

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 Post subject: Re: Another Journey with SARDS
PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2012 4:20 pm 
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Julie: I'm so sorry. I wish I could offer some words that would make you feel better, but I'm at a loss right now. You've had more than your share of heartache this year.

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 Post subject: Re: Another Journey with SARDS
PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2012 6:43 pm 
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I am so sorry you are having to go through this again! It's so frustrating to have this happen and not know how to prevent it or cure it. I have no doubt that Snow White will receive the best care possible. Thanks for sharing the info!

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