For those who do not know the background, in spring, 2017, Rita was diagnosed with glaucoma. With dogs, there’s a very short time from when the pressure begins to build until they go blind. I had taken Rita to our local vet two or three times saying “there’s something wrong with her eyes”. He kept telling me it was allergies. “Dogs have allergies just like people do!” and he told me to buy OTC people allergy eye drops, which I did. This went on over a period of a couple of weeks and probably because I was too embarrassed to go to that same vet a fourth time, I went to a different vet in town. He, along with none of the other vets here, didn’t have the tool to check pressure in her eyes but he told me he was almost sure she had glaucoma and there was a good chance she had little vision left and would go completely blind soon. He referred us to a pet ophthalmologist in Austin. We were able to get in within a couple of days. The vet there checked her pressure and yes, it was way high and yes, she was already completely blind. She prescribed rather expensive drops – 3 times a day in each eye and wanted to see her monthly to check her pressure. The vet in Austin told us that there would come a time when we would have to have her eyes removed so she kinda suggested we go ahead and do it and not have to deal with the drops and spending the $$ on them, and coming back to Austin once a month. I was having a major meltdown and was not prepared to even think about making a decision remove her eyes right there.
We came home, regrouped, did a little research and found a vet in Abilene, much closer and without the crazy Austin traffic, who could check her pressure. We saw him and have continued to see him monthly or almost month. We continue to use the drops, though at some point, we were told to only put drops in the left eye. He told us so long as we could control the pressure with drops, the eye seemed healthy, and she didn’t appear to be in pain, we didn’t need to have her eyes removed but he also assured us the time would come when that surgery would be necessary.
That day has come!
Late last week I noticed that Rita’s left eye looked dry and crusty. I wasn’t sure what was causing it but by Sunday, it almost had a cracked look on the surface. I called the vet this morning and they said to bring her in so we went to Abilene. Usually we see the vet, leave Rita there, then we go to eat, go shopping, pick Rita up and go home. Today, neither of us were in the mood to eat or shop so after the vet was done with us, we all came home.
The left eye has swollen and bulged enough that the eyelid doesn’t cover the eye so when her eyes are closed, there’s still about a 1/4″ gap where the eyeball is exposed. The vet explained that when we blink, the eyelid kinda spreads our tears around to keep the eye moist but now that Rita’s eyelid isn’t closing completely, that part of the eye is drying out. Also, he did the tear test and the left eye is hardly producing any tears at all. He said eventually, it could get so dry, it cracks . . the eyeball cracks!
So, the time has come to remove her eyes. I understand that she’s a pet and people face much worse with children and other human family members so I’m trying to keep that in mind.
Yes, I cried at the vet. Yes, I cried on the way home talking about it. Yes, I’m crying writing about it now.
She’s completely blind so removing the eyes is probably a good move. She will not have any pain once they’re removed; no more drops; no more monthly trips to the vet in Abilene.
We have a trip to MO coming up. I want Addie to see and play with Rita while she has eyes. I’ll explain to Addie about her eyes being ruined and painful and show her how the eye is crusty looking; explain that we’re going to have her eyes removed and how Rita will be better afterwards . . so next time Addie sees Rita, when her eyes have been removed, it won’t be a shock to her.
It’s been a tough day! We got home. Vince had a beer. I had a glass of wine. Before we left this morning I put clean sheets on the bed. I think we all need to go to bed early. Tomorrow is a new day!