Question 1: Dog Pannus (An Inherited Health Defect)
My daughter-in-law is blind and is assisted by a dog trained to lead a blind or visually impaired person. One day I found that the eyes of her dog looked filmy. I consulted two veterinarians and both of them diagnosed it as pannus. They prescribed for her drops at three times a day and said that this has to be done throughout the lifetime of the dog.
I am interested in knowing the following details about this disease.
1. What is pannus?
2. Is it a contagious disease that could affect other dogs?
3. Does this affect the dog’s eyesight and also whether it is possible to determine loss of sight, if any?
4. Is it possible to cure it by operation?
I find that the veterinarians are not able to throw light on this.
Pannus refers to the growth of blood vessels into the peripheral cornea. In normal individuals, the cornea is avascular. Chronic local hypoxia or inflammation may lead to peripheral corneal vascularization, or pannus. Pannus may also develop in diseases of the corneal stem cells, such as aniridia. This is a defect which has been inherited; this defect occurs commonly in breeds such as German Shepherds and Boxers but it can also occur in other breeds.
It is possible to operate on the dog depending on its age. This operation consists of removing the obstructing membranes, tissues and blood vessels using a small electric needle and also shutting off the flow of certain vessels to the eye. You have been given the eye drops to administer on the dog which prevents the developing of secondary infections and also to keep the eyes moist.
Question 2: Ignoring My Commands
I and my dog are going regularly to an obedience class conducted by an experienced and talented trainer; in spite of this I find that my dog’s behavior at times causes acute embarrassment. For example, my dog does not pay attention on heeling; he forges, he sniffs and behaves as though I am not even holding the leash at the other end. The instructor frequently comes over and takes my dog and the dog’s behavior changes considerably. It appeared as though the dog with me is not the same as the dog in the hands of the trainer.
My dog performs in a perfect manner with the instructor and I felt proud when the two of them work in unison. Once the dog comes back into my hands from that of the instructor it starts becoming cranky again. I am unable to understand his behavior; my dog knows what to do for the trainer but not for me. Are you having any suggestions on this behavior?
You should closely watch the movements of the trainer instead of looking at your dog when he takes your dog for demonstration. You must observe what the trainer is doing and how he is doing. Look closely at his footwork, how he holds the leash, how he corrects and also how he talks to your dog while working.
One of the most important requirements in handling your dog is confidence; I am of the opinion that you lack this. In case you are not having confidence either in yourself or your dog, he will start picking up such feeling and behave accordingly. It is possible that you have a relatively weak personality as compared to your dog and your dog might pick up this and feel that you are not fit enough to lead him during obedience lessons.