MSD Manual

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Clinical Guide for Acute Blindness in Dogs

Clinical Guide for Acute Blindness in Dogs


Clinical Signs

Affected Visual Pathway


Sudden acute retinal degeneration syndrome

Acute-onset blindness, dilated pupils, ± PLRa

Outer retinal layers

Unknown; Miniature Schnauzer and Dachshund have increased risk; increased alkaline phosphatase, ALT, and cholesterol

Optic neuritis

Acute-onset blindness, both eyes affected, dilated pupils, ± PLR

Optic nerve disc, retrobulbar

Part of systemic disease (eg, canine distemper, mycosis [cryptococcosis, blastomycosis], protothecosis, granulomatous meningoencephalomyelitis), neoplasia, trauma, orbital cellulitis

Retinal detachment

Acute blindness, hemorrhage

Neurosensory retina

Systemic hypertension, multiple intraocular myeloma

Intracranial disease

Normal eyes, acute blindness ± PLR

Optic chiasm

Pituitary masses, ± paranasal masses, meningiomas, lymphosarcoma

Central blindness

Acute blindness, normal PLR

Optic tracts, occipital cortex

Cardiac arrest during anesthesia, seizures, severe head trauma

Slow vision loss

Progressive loss of vision/PLR

Retrobulbar visual tracts

Hydrocephalus, CNS neoplasia, granulomatous meningoencephalomyelitis

aPupillary light-induced reflexes