Sudden Acquired Retinal Degeneration Syndrome (SARDS) is a disease in dogs that causes sudden blindness; it is very rarely found in cats.
SARDS will give very little if any advance warning that a dog is afflicted by the disease. Nearly all pet owners claim their dog showed no signs until suddenly, almost overnight, it is walking into objects and in some instances the progression may begin a week or two before total blindness occurs.
There is not been enough scientific evidence to exactly pin point the cause, however it is said to possibly involve Autoimmune Disease, toxins, elevations in the adrenal hormones or Cushings disease.
The typical profile for SARDS is any breed of dog (as of current findings), male or female, typically middle-aged or older and otherwise healthy in the past and well cared for. The history usually begins with the primary complaint of sudden and profound blindness in both eyes that developed over several days to a few weeks and commonly accompanied with simultaneous increased thirst, frequency of urination, increased appetite and perceived weight gain.
In all patients with acute vision loss, an Electroretinogram (ERG) is recommended to assess the retinal function and definitively diagnose the disease process along with blood work to ensure that there is no other underlying condition.
Unfortunately, because the primary cause of SARDS has not been identified (as of current findings), much of the veterinary profession do not believe there is a treatment for SARDS and after a diagnosis is made, the owner is usually told to go home and learn to adjust with caring for a suddenly blind dog.
SARDS is not a painful condition, dogs do adjust surprisingly well to being blind, and are usually able to resume a normal quality of life. Naturally patience and safety precautions should be taken in and around the house, particularly with pools, stairs, roads, etc. You will find training techniques online and books available to assist you in living with a blind dog.
However, there may be hope, Dr. Alfred J. Plechner a practicing veterinarian in the USA since 1968 and founder of Dr. AL Plechner A New Horizon for Healing states “The actual blindness is not the major problem with SARDS. The major problem is that SARDS is an autoimmune disease, and delaying or ignoring treatment and learning to “live with a blind dog”, will only enhance this endocrine immune imbalance and create further catastrophic autoimmune diseases including cancer”.
Dr. Plechner claims “My treatment protocol does work and if it can be started within a week or two after the SARDS diagnosis has been made, the patient will have sight returned 85 to 90% of the time” and “It is very important to seriously consider taking the Endocrine-immune blood panel animal test (EI-1ANIMAL) in order to screen for the possibility of Atypical Cortisol Estrogen Imbalance Syndrome (ACEIS) or as the public refers to it as Plechners’s Syndrome. If the results indicate that your pet is suffering from Plechner’s Syndrome, you must have your health care professional follow the exact suggestions for funding an endocrine immune imbalance; otherwise the end results may be unsatisfactory”.
If you have noticed any of the symptoms mentioned above or feel that your dog may be suffering from SARDS, it is very important that you seek veterinarian attention immediately.
Read About “Rascale’s” journey with SARDS
Author Bio: Nikki is pack leader at Pressplay Pets, a blog for the modern age pet parent interested in health & care, news, reviews & personal accounts of unconditional love & at times heartfelt pain of pet parenting. She is also proud mum to cute and cheeky Papillons ‘Amber’ and ‘Indy’ and one crazy Rainbow Lorikeet named ‘Ralph’! Follow my Facebook and Twitter.
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