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Spunky the Super Senior Shih Tzu


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Hello all!

My name is Kendra. I am so excited to have found this forum and community.

In July of 2020, my friend came to me and asked me to take in his childhood dog, Spunky, a 16 year old shih tzu with a lot of health issues but no shortage of spunk and love.

 

My friend and I did not expect spunky to live very long. But half a year later he is still here and for the most part doing pretty great, in fact his health has even improved in some respects. 

 

Nevertheless he is still a palliative care dog. My focus is to keep him comfortable until it's time for him to go to doggy Valhalla.

 

He had one eye surgically removed a few years ago and the other eye is mostly blind. He can see some light but just barely. The eye has chronic dry eye, glaucoma, and cataracts. The vet prescribed some medicated eye drops and otc artificial tears. He gets that daily with the occasional OTC antibiotic ointment. 

 

My question is this: is there anything more I can be doing to reduce his discomfort and pain in his eye? Are there any other eye drops that you have had success with?

He has a sensitive stomach so I have to avoid any oral medications. 

 

In exchange for any information I can swap my own tips/photos for how I converted my small guest room into a blind senior dog palace, as well how I manage his incontinence and how i changed his diet to help his fur grow back. 

 

Thank you all for taking the time to read this post. Looking forward to hearing from all of you!

 

❤ Kendra and Spunky 

 

Edited by MotherLeaf
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I have no helpful information to offer but what a lucky little guy to have landed on his feet with you at such an advanced age. You sound like a wonderful, dedicated dog owner. :heart:

 

I'm sure we'd all love to see photos of his dog palace. :)

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I claim no expertise, other than having read many many accounts of fully blind dogs doing remarkably well.  Would it be worth having the other eye removed, given that it is causing pain and not providing much in the way of vision? 

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Welcome @MotherLeafand Spunky :heart:   :heart:

 

You nearly gave me a heart attack @persephone.  Your post came up first and I thought I was going to have to go into rescue mode, which I am in no shape to do at the moment. 
 

Kendra, despite having had a few sight impaired dogs and many elderlies with chronic health issues, I’ve not had one with glaucoma.  However from what I’ve read and learnt (mostly via the experiences of many hugely knowledgeable people on this site) glaucoma can be excruciatingly painful.  After many years of having several dogs, I now have only one littlie left and that is Sooty, an elderly Toy Poodle who came to me two years ago.  She’d already had one eye removed before I met her and she is blind in the other.  Cataract surgery failed and she continues to be blind.  
 

My immediate thought from reading your post was that you need to see a specialist straight away to alleviate the pain Spunky is in.  This is borne out by a snippet I found regarding the treatment of glaucoma which says:  Each patient requires a customised treatment plan that generally includes a combination of medications and, potentially, surgical intervention.  

Spunky sounds a very fortunate little boy who has found someone who is giving him a great life.   
 

Let us know how you proceed.  


 

 

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@MotherLeaf, I’ve read again your post and I think little Spunky was somewhat neglected by his previous owner.  Be that as it may, he certainly has found love and appropriate care with you. 

 

I’ve recently lost a little dog who had incontinence, not the continual dripping sort, but just when he’d be asleep or lying down.  I did use belly bands on him which were extremely helpful.  He was also prescribed Propalin which, although it took a couple of weeks to kick in, was very effective and certainly stopped my washing machine from having to work overtime.  Mezza was also very elderly with a variety of health issues.  

 

Several dogs have come to me over the years who were severely lacking in the fur department, but that changed very quickly with flea treatment, good diet (as you have done) and medicated washes.  

 

With regard to dry eye, this sounds fairly innocuous ......  until you have it yourself.  I was diagnosed with it a few years ago and I can tell you, it is the pits.  Feels as though someone has thrown handfuls of sand into your eyes.  I use eyedrops several times a day and I would suggest, upon advice from the specialist, that you could do the same with Spunky.  You would need to check with specialist, but I don’t think you can overdo it.  

 

Good luck - keep us posted.    

 

 

 

 

 

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I've had two blind dogs and both coped really well, still went on walks with me and had full lives.  One of the blind dogs had glaucoma and a detached retina so had that eye removed.  Once the pain of that eye was gone, she was like a new dog.  

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Removal of the glaucoma eye is the most effective solution obviously but at his age it would mean a serious discussion with your vet re risks and benefits. If you've got trouble with Metacam/Meloxicam for pain, ask about Previcox. More expensive but easier on the tummy. I've only ever opted for removal so have no experience with controlling the condition long term. Removal is virtually instant relief. I imagine the pain from surgery is much less than the glaucoma because dogs come out of the vet so much happier and recover so well. 

 

Dry eye: I've recently had a senior dog go from standard Cyclosporin (Optimmune) to Tacrolimus twice daily and the difference is amazing. Again, more expensive (I get it compounded) but no more backup Chlorsig, squinty or gummy eyes. Just some lubricant in between. 

 

Oldies manage fine with blind and even no eyes. :) Unless it's a sudden like from diabetes, they've had a while to get used to losing their sight and do quite well using their nose. He's not a candidate for cataract removal though with an unhealthy eye.

 

Good on you for taking on a palliative soul and giving him a new life. :heart: 

 

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