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A Pet Owner's Journey (Pt. 6)

The Vet

By Samantha ReidPublished 6 years ago 4 min read
Roxy - Age 4.5 

Taking a pet to the vet can be a terrifying experience, especially if this is your first pet. You don't know how they will react to the environment. You don't know how they will react to getting examined or getting their shots. And you never know what the vet will find that could be wrong with your pet.

When you have a dog like mine, who isn't particularly friendly towards other dogs, taking her to the vet is an unnerving experience. However, vets are great with these things. We simply asked our vet to ensure the lobby was clear of other dogs before we ushered Roxy into an exam room.

She was a little upset to hear the barking and moving about of the dogs that went to and fro as we waited, but ultimately she handled the new environment rather well. I was very proud of her.

She also handled getting her vaccinations really well. She didn't even flinch. She didn't even notice them. The handful of treats being placed in front of her face may have been the reason, but still, she took it like a champ.

Ultimately, the trip to the vets was smooth sailing. After having Roxy for about a year we were informed that she was healthy. We were told that she was an appropriate weight for her size and breed. And we were told that she was a good dog, despite all of her eccentricities.

Despite all of this there was still one thing we had to ask the vet about. And we left it until last, perhaps because we weren't really sure we wanted to know the answer to it. We needed to know about Roxy's eyes.

As you may notice from the picture of her in this article, Roxy doesn't have the clear brown eyes that you see most German Shepards toting. Her eyes have a clouded, dark appearance to them. That's not a trick of the camera. That's just how they look.

When I got her, it was only a slight bit of scarring at the peripheral of her eyes. Originally, having been informed that she'd been attacked by a porcupine as a young dog, I assumed that this was a result of that. However, when we took her to the vet a year later and inquired we learned it was something completely different.

Roxy, like many German Shepards, Belgian Tervurens, Siberian Huskies, and Greyhounds, suffers from Pannus or chronic superficial keratitis. This is an inflammatory disease of the dog's cornea that is believed to be caused by an autoimmune response. There is really no known cause or reason for it occurring. It can occur in any breed and at any age. And there is no known cure for Pannus at this time.

If it is caught early enough it can be managed and scarring on the dog's eyes can be prevented with the use of topical creams or eye drops. However, once scarring appears it cannot be reversed without surgery, which can only be performed a single time on the dog's eyes.

Symptoms of Pannus can be seen as the following:

1. Red, blood-shot eyes.

2. Excessive tearing and weeping.

3. A greyish-pink film covering the eyes.

4. Colouring of the cornea, usually dark brown or black.

5. Opaque cloudiness of the eye.

6. Thickening and loss of colour of the third eyelids.

Pannus is believed to be made worse by exposure to UV light and/or living at higher altitudes. However, it is still mostly unknown. Essentially the blood cells of the eye attack the cornea and cause damage and scarring to occur.

On one hand, I was happy to know what the cause of the scarring in Roxy's eyes was. We tried the topical cream for a little while, but she absolutely hated the process of it and her scarring, even at that point, was so far progressed that it wouldn't have made a difference long term. Ultimately, I decided to just leave her eyes alone.

The vet ran a tear test to ensure that her eyes were well lubricated. The vet assured me that the scarring was causing her no pain or discomfort. So, I just let Roxy continue as she has been.

Her eyes have gotten much worse in the year since that vet visit, likely due to the time that she has spent outside. Her peripheral vision is almost completely gone now. But, other than not liking being outside at night time, she is a happy and content dog.

Making health decisions for your pet will always be difficult. Your heart will want to pull you in one direction and your logic will want to take you in another way. We love our pets and we want them to be with us as long as they can be. But the truth of the matter is, pets have shorter lives than humans (almost all pets at least) and you need to factor that in when making medical decisions about your pet.

Love your pet, but be smart about the choices you make. And make the choice that you think is best for your pet's overall quality of life and your own.

And as always, thanks for reading "A Pet Owner's Journey". I hope you come back next time for more adventures with Roxy as we continue to figure life out.


About the Creator

Samantha Reid

I have been a creative writer for over 10 years, an academic for 7 years, and a blogger for 3 years. Writing is my passion and it's what I love.

Follow me on Instagram @samreid2992

Find me on Twitter @SgReid211

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