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Hello all,

I wanted to share with you my story on SARDS (Sudden Acquired Retinal Degeneration Syndrome). My sweet boy Buddy was diagnosed with SARDS over a year ago (April 2009). I have been researching it for a long time and looking for other Maltese owners who are dealing with this terrible disease. Perhpas posting our story will help any of you out there to see the warning signs and eventually deal with your blind dog.

Buddy is now 7 years old and was always so full of life, spunky, naughty, lovable, his favourite thing to do was to chase and catch a tennis ball in the park. In August 2008 I noticed that he was drinking water excessivley and eating everything in site. He was also peeing and pooping in the house which he NEVER did before. I also noticed that he was losing his "black" nose, it was becoming lighter. He gained almost 5lbs in a matter of months. I took him to the vet many times, they did blood tests and urine tests and told me he had allergies, so I put him on allergy meds. No change...he got worse, the lethargy set in around December 2008. He didn't want to go on walks, he slept all day, kind of moped around and looked very depressed. I was very worried about him but the vets couldn't tell me what was wrong, I tried new foods....just about everything. In March 2009 I noticed that he couldn't track his ball anymore and he began bumping into walls. I took him to the vet immediately and she told me that it looked as though he had lost eyesight in one eye. She referred me to a special Animal Hospital with a Vet that specialized in optimalogoy. I took Buddy the next day, they did a few tests and asked him to stay the night so that they could perform an ERG test. They did and it came back FLAT, meaning no eye sight at all in either eye. I was completely heartbroken and cried my eyes out in the vets office. He was diagnosed with SARDS in April 2009. I'm afraid there is no cure but I've read that there is a very special Vet in Iowa (Dr. Sinisa Grozdanic) that is doing experimental treatments using hormone replacement therapy....the catch is you have to get to him right away and it's experimental.

Sweet Buddy has been blind ever since and you'd never know it! It's as if he's at peace with the fact that he's blind and he's just getting on with life. I'm happy to say that he's back to being full of life, spunky, happy, naughty and more loveable than ever. Yes, it was a huge adjustment....we had to watch his every move.....tell him "down, down" when there were stairs, or "up, up" when it came to going up them! He knows "careful", when he gets to a wall or a fence or something and he trusts us implicitly. He runs like crazy in the park (on a leash) and seems to be very happy. He knows his way around the house, stairs and all....he really is a remarkable little dog, so smart, he surprises us every day. He's lost about 2 lbs, we've put him on light food diet and he gets carrots as his treat. We take him on very long walks so he gets lots of exercise.

If any of you are dealing with SARDS, please know that your little ones are not in pain. They are initially very confused as to why all of a sudden they can't see, but they adapt very quickly. They just need extra TLC and understanding.

I hope and pray that they find a cause and a cure for this disease soon.

CVW & Buddy
 

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:Welcome 1: Thank you so much for posting about your sweet Buddy. What a sad story.:crying: I hadn't heard of SARDS before and it was heartbreaking to hear of his decline and how helpless you must have felt. I hope that this may help someone else. We've had several threads about members with blind dogs either from birth or later.
Your story is so inspiring too :wub:-- to read about how well Buddy is doing, how you have helped him cope with his situation and how smart he is understanding your warnings and learning his way around. We'd love to see some pix of Buddy too. We hope you enjoy it here.
 

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I'm so sorry about your sweet Buddy getting SARDS. Thank you so much for sharing. It must have been so scary and upsetting, but I am glad to hear that he is doing well and happy!! Can I ask you what some of the suspected causes of SARDS are? Do the doctors have any idea? Welcome to SM! We are so glad to have you and sweet Buddy here!
 

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Wow I cant believe SARDS can hit with out notice. Thank you for the information its always good to know what to look out for.
 

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It is so heartwarming to know how well Buddy has adjusted and to know how loving and supportive his humans are. Another thread was started recently by someone whose dog was diagnosed with SARDS and there is some good discussion there. http://spoiledmaltese.com/forum/52-maltese-health-behavior/104934-sards-diagnosis.html. I have an 11-yr. old who is blind. She has glaucoma and now has cataracts. Unfortunately removing the cataracts will not restore eyesight because of the underlying glaucoma but she has adapted wonderfully and is still and always will be my "Nut Case Grace". Give Buddy big hugs from all of us.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
I'm afraid there is no known cause for this disease, not breed, sex or age related. It's a complete mystery but it affects 2000-4000 dogs each year which is a huge number. This Vet in Iowa specializes in the disease and has done a lot of research, his website is interesting and he has a few videos of dogs that have completed the hormone therapy.

We are too late for the hormone therapy, but I've heard it's extremely invasive and I wouldn't want to put Buddy through any more than he's already been through.

I swear if by Buddy didn't have bad luck he'd never have any good luck! Last Easter my parents were visiting for the weekend and left chocolate bars on top of their suitcases......Buddy has an acute sense of smell due to the blindness and ate an entire Lindt dark chocolate bar. We rushed him to the emergency vet and he stayed over night on pain meds and liquids. Poor thing had chocolate toxicity, could have killed him if we didn't get him to the vet in time.

Here are a few more pics! (the swimming one was taken before he was blind!)
 

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thank you for posting about Buddy and SARDS. it's incredible that it affects so many dogs a year and they aren't sure of the causes..very scary. By the way, is that just in North America or worldwide?

I love all the photos..especially the one of him in the car mirror.
 

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thanks for sharing your story , its very sad for me that doggies justget this disease, but im happy he has adjusted well and that he has giving him the love he needs , thanks for sharing the pics he is a cutie!!
 

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Welcome!
I am sorry Buddy can't see anymore----but so thankful you know it and that you have helped him make a good adjustment to life. Bravo you! I hope you can contact this doctor in Iowa and find out more for us---and for you. Maybe there is some other experimental things you might try? It is so amazing how quickly these little babies adjust to life changing circumstances---we have so much to learn from them. Thanks for informing us today. Wishing you many special/loving days w/little Buddy.
sandi & kitzel
 

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Thank you for posting your story... I think I remember reading about a dog on here peeing and pooping in strange places just the other day (going to look)... I'm glad you and Buddy are learning to live with this disease and sorry you had to go through this experience - he's Adorable!!! Love the one with his head reflected in the side view mirror as he's enjoying the wind in his face! :)
 

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Buddy is such an inspiration! He looks like the sweetest dog and he sounds even sweeter! :wub: I'm so sorry that you both had to go through this, but I will say that Buddy is so lucky to have such a wonderful mom to take care of him. This story really warmed my heart and I'd love for you to stick around and share more about your Buddy.
 

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Welcome to SM! Wow...what a journey it's been for you all. It's very heartwarming to read that Buddy's back to his old self. :wub: He's absolutely adorable.
 

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Glad Buddy is doing so well.
 

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Aww that is so heartbreaking! And Buddy is absolutely adorable. I am glad he is adjusted now. However that must still be hard. I can't imagine losing MY eyesight let alone a dog. Atleast we'd still be able to communicate, it must be really hard for dogs. I think I'd become a total shut in. I can't imagine walking around without my sight, it's so scary! My neighbor is blind, I dunno how she does it. She knits, plays piano, accordian, used to walk her dogs when she had them. Her daughter has cerebral palsy...she is very inspiring. I am so scared of losing eyesight. Hearing I could deal with better I think.

Poor Buddy... Give him a squeeze and a kiss from me!!!!
 

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Thank you for sharing your story with us ...Glad to read that the experiment drugs that Buddy is taking is working and he can have a normal quality of life..It will give hope to others that might have a pet with Sards...
 

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Hello all,

I wanted to share with you my story on SARDS (Sudden Acquired Retinal Degeneration Syndrome). My sweet boy Buddy was diagnosed with SARDS over a year ago (April 2009). I have been researching it for a long time and looking for other Maltese owners who are dealing with this terrible disease. Perhpas posting our story will help any of you out there to see the warning signs and eventually deal with your blind dog.

Buddy is now 7 years old and was always so full of life, spunky, naughty, lovable, his favourite thing to do was to chase and catch a tennis ball in the park. In August 2008 I noticed that he was drinking water excessivley and eating everything in site. He was also peeing and pooping in the house which he NEVER did before. I also noticed that he was losing his "black" nose, it was becoming lighter. He gained almost 5lbs in a matter of months. I took him to the vet many times, they did blood tests and urine tests and told me he had allergies, so I put him on allergy meds. No change...he got worse, the lethargy set in around December 2008. He didn't want to go on walks, he slept all day, kind of moped around and looked very depressed. I was very worried about him but the vets couldn't tell me what was wrong, I tried new foods....just about everything. In March 2009 I noticed that he couldn't track his ball anymore and he began bumping into walls. I took him to the vet immediately and she told me that it looked as though he had lost eyesight in one eye. She referred me to a special Animal Hospital with a Vet that specialized in optimalogoy. I took Buddy the next day, they did a few tests and asked him to stay the night so that they could perform an ERG test. They did and it came back FLAT, meaning no eye sight at all in either eye. I was completely heartbroken and cried my eyes out in the vets office. He was diagnosed with SARDS in April 2009. I'm afraid there is no cure but I've read that there is a very special Vet in Iowa (Dr. Sinisa Grozdanic) that is doing experimental treatments using hormone replacement therapy....the catch is you have to get to him right away and it's experimental.

Sweet Buddy has been blind ever since and you'd never know it! It's as if he's at peace with the fact that he's blind and he's just getting on with life. I'm happy to say that he's back to being full of life, spunky, happy, naughty and more loveable than ever. Yes, it was a huge adjustment....we had to watch his every move.....tell him "down, down" when there were stairs, or "up, up" when it came to going up them! He knows "careful", when he gets to a wall or a fence or something and he trusts us implicitly. He runs like crazy in the park (on a leash) and seems to be very happy. He knows his way around the house, stairs and all....he really is a remarkable little dog, so smart, he surprises us every day. He's lost about 2 lbs, we've put him on light food diet and he gets carrots as his treat. We take him on very long walks so he gets lots of exercise.

If any of you are dealing with SARDS, please know that your little ones are not in pain. They are initially very confused as to why all of a sudden they can't see, but they adapt very quickly. They just need extra TLC and understanding.

I hope and pray that they find a cause and a cure for this disease soon.

CVW & Buddy
 

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Oh!! Thank you for your story about your sweet buddy! I know it has been several years, however, your story just gave us So much hope!! Our Preston is a 13/year old spunky, silly, loving, energetic, unbelievable baby!! He’s one of 2 Lhasa Apsos we have, Sherman is his uncle.
Just like that, 2 days ago, Preston was diagnosed with SARDS and our world stopped. We cried and cried and have researched everything, prayed for a miracle cure. Your post and the others have shown us hope and peace.
Thank you ❤
 
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