Maintaining quality of life for deaf and blind dogs

Stephanie Hedges
Monday, May 2, 2016

Sensory loss is most common, and perhaps most debilitating, in the optical and auditory systems, and may occur congenitally or as a result of illness or trauma. How well a dog adjusts to the loss will depend on the speed of onset, the severity of the loss and the individual temperament of the dog. Owners may also find their dog's disability emotionally distressing or challenging to manage. As diagnosis of sensory loss and treatment of associated conditions generally occurs in the veterinary surgery, the practice team is ideally placed to help both dogs and their owners adjust to this change. Adaptations may include maintaining a consistent environment and utilising the remaining senses to enable stress free navigation, modification of methods of communication to preserve the client–pet relationship, and training commands that enable owners to guide their dog. Alterations to exercise routines and provision of appropriate outlets for natural drives can ensure ongoing quality of life. Directing clients to web resources and support groups can also provide inspiration and maintain morale through shared experience.

Maintaining quality of life for deaf and blind dogs
Maintaining quality of life for deaf and blind dogs

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