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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I am cross-posting this...it's a situation in my area...I'd really like to help this dog if at all possible:

This dog is in the Ft Leonard Wood, MO area ( about 2.5 - 3 hrs SW of St Louis -- off the I-44 Corridor )

Friday ( 27 Mar 09 ) at work a soldier came into my office with a , what was to me, a disturbing situation.

Usual story...he and his family are moving...they have 3 dogs: a Mastiff, an older Border Collie and an 18 month Labrador and where he said they are moving to they can only have 2 dogs.

It's the Labrador they want to re-home; according to the soldier this Lab came from the "Orvis" kennel ; at first I thought a fancy-schmanzy Puppy Mill but I was told that Sporting Dog breeders can "apply" to be listed as an "Orvis" kennel ??

But...the dog is Special Needs...according to the soldier, the dog was evaluated by am ophthalmologist and he has PRA ( Progressive Retinal Atrophy ) ...what stage I do not know given the time the solder spent talking with me...but it is a given that this dog will eventually become blind.

Very sad situation anyway when a family wants to surrender a dog and especially now when shelters and rescues are becoming inundated with HEALTHY dogs...and here is a dog which would, in the right home, no doubt THRIVE...blind dogs can adapt well in a loving and special needs sensitive home..but many organizations might consider this otherwise healthy, well mannered, young dog as "unadoptable" and might even suggest euthanasia.

Soldier did not ask for my opinion because I'd have given it to him....I can understand keeping the older Border Collie but what I have a hard time understanding is how they could even consider "dumping" the Special Needs Lab and opt to keep the much larger Mastiff..because he is healthy.

Time frame given is about 4 weeks and I just do not know what I can do to help this dog.

I have cross- posted to my Golden list and have also tried to contact some Midwest Lab Clubs to see if there is a Special Needs or other Rescue that can take this dog or refer him to a home which will cherish him forever and never dump him again.

Zander ( my neutered male Newfoundland ) is kind of "quirky" around other male dogs...some he gets along with and others he doesn't care much for...even ones which are, like him, neutered. He's very much a Mama's boy.

The Lab, I have been told, is quite submissive.. ..and I have no problem in dealing with the diminishing eyesight...he could be taught boundaries and such by voice commands, clickers and whistles. Bells placed on other dogs could remind him of their presence and location.

Any thoughts on this ? I know many of you have a vast amount of experience with Special Needs dogs ... I'd hate to see this dog dumped in a shelter and euthanized when he does have the potential to adapt well and thrive in a loving home.

I sent the soldier an e-mail late this afternoon asking for copies of the dog's medical/shot records and Ophthalmologist's report and told him I was doing my best to network this information in the hopes of find this dog a home.

I also asked for his permission to release his contact data ( phone numbers and e-mail ) if anyone wishes to make contact with him directly.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
I need to stress that this is NOT my dog; I would never , ever consider "dumping" a dog that had bad eyesight...this is a legitimate plea for assitance.
 

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Are you looking for someone to take the dog or more information on what owning a dog with PRA entails?

Eighteen months is very young for a lab to be diagnosed with PRA, most labs don't show signs until at least 3 years of age with prcd. Was an electroretinogram done? Or was he Optigen tested? Is he already losing vision, or what prompted the family to take him to have his vision tested?
 

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My almost 8 year old Rhys was diagnosed with PRA (first with the Genetic test that I did for fun, and then electroretinography (ERG) to confirm, he was almost 4 when he was diagnosed.

He still sees. He does have a noticable loss in low light, or darkness/dusk. But he can still catch a frisbee at 100 paces, even with all that otherwise ails him.

He does rely on the other dogs a lot at night, and so I'd recommend if you take him, to place him in a home with perhaps another dog.

If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
The owner told me he'd had the dog examined by a Veterinary Ophthalmologist and I have asked him for the report. When I first read about PRA I wondered if the dog might not have Retinal Dysplasia instead of PRA because of the age of the dog.

My only qualms about taking the dog in myself is that my male Newfoundland is very "iffy" with other males..even neutered ones ( mine is also neutered ) . Some, like my brother's old Border Collie mix, he is OK with and others he wants to totally assert himself as "man of the house".

I could also ask the owner if the "boys" could meet in a neutral area a few times to see if there are any immediate signs that our home might not be an ideal place for the Lab even as a foster home. I'd hate to give the dog a "double whammy" by taking him into a potentially "unsafe" area with his visual problems.

Thank doG there are a LOT of resources for information on caring for a blind dog so if we do take him, even as a foster, I will have some education readily available.
 

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Supposedly there is another form of PRA that is showing up... I know of a couple field labs supposedly w/ PRA that are in a study group as they tested clear for the prcd form. You may want to contact the folks studying PRA btw!

There are other things that cause blindness--- SARDs (usually linked to other health issues like cushings, addisons etc). I think I'd want to see a 2nd opinion. Also, did the soldier indicate who the breeder WAS and if that breeder had been contacted? This should always be step 1 in a rescue situtation. Anne
 

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Are you looking for someone to take the dog or more information on what owning a dog with PRA entails?

Eighteen months is very young for a lab to be diagnosed with PRA, most labs don't show signs until at least 3 years of age with prcd. Was an electroretinogram done? Or was he Optigen tested? Is he already losing vision, or what prompted the family to take him to have his vision tested?
If a dog has early onset PRA known has rod-cone dysplasia, then symptoms can start from age 6 weeks to 2 years. The PRA that comes later in life is progressive rod-cone degeneration. There is also central PRA (renamed Retinal Pigment Epithelial Degeneration), onset can be 1 to 6 years.

LIVING WITH BLIND DOGS is an excellent book to have.
 

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If a dog has early onset PRA known has rod-cone dysplasia, then symptoms can start from age 6 weeks to 2 years. The PRA that comes later in life is progressive rod-cone degeneration. There is also central PRA (renamed Retinal Pigment Epithelial Degeneration), onset can be 1 to 6 years.

LIVING WITH BLIND DOGS is an excellent book to have.
Jake (presumably since he's Optigen normal) has rod-cone dysplasia ;) However, it doesn't sound like this dog had an ERG done - which makes me wonder if it isn't something else aside from rcd/rped (which aren't common in labs like prcd is, from my understanding).

I've found the main thing to be careful of is startling the animal. I talk to Jake a lot, and respect his boundaries (he's very nervous walking on steep stairs for example). Other than that he's perfectly normal - he's also still got a fair amount of vision, we think (repeat ERG in July).

I hope you can find a foster home for this guy!
 
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