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Please add your comments about SARDS here

Brad Scott wrote:

My little pitbull "peaches" got the diagnoses today. We noticed she couldnt see. She is only 2.5 years old and not fixed. Me and my wife love our dogs so much. Our vet said he only seen this 1 time in 14 years. He said those owners put there dog down. I cant do that, it would kill me. What do i do? We love our Peaches Please pray for Peaches Please Please.

alan izmirli wrote:

My 6 year old ,love of my life Sharpei (Sunny)is blind now. He wnet bed ok next morning he was blind.

mybackacres wrote:

My 8 yr. old dachshund Beignet has been blind for almost 3 wks. She lost her sight literally overnight, she'd been with me on an extended visit to my mom's and the night we returned is when it happened. I know this because she was absolutely fine when we arrived home but the next morning was confused and disoriented, just wanted to remain in her wicker basket. It was the weekend and by the time I had arranged for her to see our vet I'd spent time online and diagnosed her myself....the one clue in retrospect was the ravenous appetite. When I read that my heart sank, as well as the fact that middle-aged spayed female dogs are the most common victims. Beignet had only gained 1 lb. as I monitor her food intake carefully, and she is my constant companion so I'm not likely to miss much with her. I attributed her out of control appetite to the fact that my mom was spoiling her with treats during our visit. I too was completely shocked and devastated by how sudden the onset of this affliction is, but of course I agree that we have to project a happy, "can do" attitude to our beloved pets as we are their source of security. I had done a couple hours of online research and was braced for the worst when we first saw the vet, and he agrees that SARDS is the culprit. Beignet's adrenal function test was normal for now, so for that I'm thankful, seems we must consider ourselves fortunate if our babies don't have (or develop) Cushing's or some of the other major health problems that seem to be so common with SARDS dogs. This site has already been a comfort and has helped brace and alert me for what might be yet to come. One thing that really bothered me and I absolutely take exception to is the comments from "Max's mom" who said her vet "explained" to her that dogs cannot be depressed, etc. I'm sorry, but surely lots of ya'll have noticed depression in your dogs with the onset of the blindness. I realize that WE are depressed, but it's ridiculous to say dogs can't experience depression too. We can at least understand what has happened, surely it's not farfetched to allow that a dog must have to go through a period of loss and then gradual acceptance when the onset of blindness is so sudden. How does someone with that mindset become a vet and make a good one? It used to also be a popular belief that animals "forget", they can't grieve or know sorrow---who believes that? My husband and I are doing everthing we can to help our little sweetie cope, I received my copy of the book "Living With Blind Dogs" by Caroline Levin a few days ago and I highly recommend it. My biggest difficulty is getting our other pets to understand what has happened. Don't know if I'll ever get there with them, so I now have to take measures to assure that Beignet is safe from them inadvertly bumping into her, etc. in their quest for equal time. Beignet does just excellent some days and other days seems completely despondent and disoriented--right back to square one. This is hard for me, but I'm determined not to let her be too dependent on me, and to keep life as "normal" as possible. I think I've said all I intended to for now, just thought it might be helpful to someone who's like I was a short time ago, totally shocked and upset, and seeking information about this awful condition. As time passes I'll check in and report our progress, etc. I just still can't believe that so little is known about SARDS.

SchnauzerDoc wrote:

I have a 7 y/o mini schnauzer recently dx with SARDS. I was wondering if anyone else, whose dog also has SARDS had any other "visual"issues prior to going completely blind. I know, due to his eye exam and testing he has SARDS and NOT PRA.

lisa morgan wrote:

my maltese who will be 7, has become blind with sards. anyone out there with information for my please send me my e-mail in this is new for me and it is breaking my heart. he crys all the time, I find myself acking with pain in my heart.

Dawn S. wrote:

My Gretal recently passed - her kidneys failed. She quit drinking water 2 days before she expired. She had her appetite so I mixed water with her food. She had lived a year and 10 months after being diagnosed with SARDS - she was 7 years young. She was a brave little soul until the end. I will always love her and miss her. I plan to follow this disease and have inquired about research for a cure - none available now. God bless everyone who render patience and kindness to dogs who have this disease.

Cindy wrote:

My 6 year old mixed breed (carin terrior and chow)became blind from SARDS 6 weeks ago. This has been very upsetting to my husband and me. Apparently there is nothing that can be done. If anyone hears of any research going on please let me know.

Sam's dad wrote:

Sam is a 7 year old pom. who went blind due to SARDS, he is very thick furred, and when we had it cut in the summer it has not grown back with any of it's normal speed or thickness. Is this a normal side effect of SARDS? if any one can anwser me it would be a great help and relief.

owner wrote:

my two dogs had gotten on the counter top and got ahold of a choclate cake too, but one of my dgos has 5 puppies and is still feeding them. would they chocolate from the cake contaminate her breast milk, and will the puppies be ok??

Max's Mom wrote:

I just wanted to add to the comments about people's dogs being "depressed" after going blind. I had noticed, too, that Max seemed so different after he went blind; that he went from a fun-loving silly dog with lots of personality to a dog who acted so "old". When I mentioned to the U of MN vet of my belief that Max was depressed, she explained to me that dogs cannot be "depressed". She said that Max wasn't thinking, "Gee, I used to be able to see and now I can't; I'm depressed". He was simply responding to being blind by being more cautious, which we had interpreted as being in a depression. He still would play with us if we instigated it, but it was never quite the same. Anyway, just wanted to let others know what we were told regarding this and that we were the ones who were depressed!

Max's Mom wrote:

Our male Brittany, Max, suddenly lost his sight at age 6 in 1995. He was completely blind in one week. We took him to our vet who thought he might have a brain tumor that was pinching his optic nerve. His blood tests also revealed liver and kidney problems. We were devestated. He had just been diagnosed several weeks earlier with Lyme's Disease and was on meds for that. The vet didn't believe this was a side effect of the Lyme's or the meds. We took Max to the University of MN Veterinary College, where they diagnosed him with SARDS. I was just so thankful he didn't have a tumor and wasn't dying. He did have a ravenous appetite; he ate half a chocolate cake that was on the kitchen countertop and also an entire bag of licorice that he managed to pull off the table! He was always reaching for food off the counter when we were gone, as we could see the scratch marks. The vet had put him on Science Diet Prescription food and that helped his kidney problem. He lived another 6 years, during which he did an excellent job of navigating around using his nose and also his hearing. We talked to him constantly so he would know where we were and to warn him to be careful when he was about to bump into something. Walks on a retractable leash worked wonderfully. He had a very happy blind life; it was way harder on us than on him. The vet told us that if this had to happen to someone's dog, it was a blessing that it happened our dog, because we were so patient and loving to Max, and other people may not have been as patient. I wish I had discovered this website a long time ago; we knew nothing about SARDS back then and we just couldn't understand how our dog could have gotten it out of the blue. it was so upsetting and we felt so bad for Max. To anyone else whose dog has SARDS; your dog will still live a very full life; just "rehabilitate" him! Be patient and understanding. Your routine will have to change and things will take longer to do, but you do what you gotta do to make it all work out. Thankfully we didn't have the potty problems other people have mentioned until Max's last 4 or 5 months, which may have been due to intestinal cancer. Hang in there!

Dawn S. wrote:

My dog Gretal has been through every test and has the same symptons - excessive thirst and hunger. She was diagnosed with SARDS in Jan. 2003 by a Vet. Opthamologist. Prior to being blind, she was tested for Cushings and tested negative. She had been treated for a skin condition with antibiotics and steroids and developed pancreatitis then SARDS shortly thereafter. I often wonder is steroids or other medicines had something to do with this although she was on the medicines for 2 weeks. She has done great and has adjusted. To control the wetting and poohing, I feed her in the morning only with some vegetables or biscuits during the day. She stopped drinking and eating as much - it seemed to stabilize her. She does have periods 3 times a year where she starts panting, trembling and her heart races as if she is scared. I don't know what causes this - it can last for an hour. But, my heart is out there for anyone who has gone through this. Gretal is the love of my life. Hang in there.

Dancingpaws wrote:

Just a word of encouragement. My dog does not have SARDS, but went blind suddenly due to other problems. Believe me, it is much harder on us, than it is on them. Treat them with the same forethought as you would a blind relative. They navigate by memory and the sound of your voice. Do not move their bed or water dish or your furniture every week, and don't call them to you if there is a dangerous obstacle unknown to them between you.If you do move something into their normal path of travel, make sure you lead them around it several times, until the new path is in their memory. They are still wonderful animals, and mostly learn to enjoy the challenges. It is a perpetual game of hide and seek for them. For those of you mentioning ravenous appetites, pot bellied appearance,and accidents in the house, PLEASE ask your vet to test your dog for Cushing's disease. Good luck to all.

Mother of Jax wrote:

Beautiful Brittany has SARDS for 8 months and attending symptoms for over a year. He doesn't test positive for Cushings-every once in a while I go to s different vet to get him tested again for a more complete answer-but just as he is adjusting to his blindness-I am adjusting to the mystery of his symptoms. He still enjoys life, so we will just go on in our own way. Have patience and know that your dogs do adjust.

Elly M. wrote:

My dog was just diagnosed with SARDS 8/19/2004. Can anyone give me ome encouragement. My dog is almost 12 years of age. Are the clinical symptoms too hard to deal with - urinating/poop accidents on the carpet. Should I crate her while we are at work?? This is all new to me - trying to get the right info without too much that migh put me in a depressed mood. Thanks in advance and have a blessed day. My email address is:

for Sharon L from Paula K wrote:

I understand how completely horrible you feel. I cried and cried. One day I noticed that my dog, Kayleigh, didn't seem bothered by being blind and so I figured, if she can deal with actually being blind, the least I can do is help her navigate for teaching her certain words to help her understand things like there's another step or that she is about to run into something. When I tell her to watch out now, she will stop and readjust where she was heading. If we're outside I talk to her constantly so she can hear my voice and we can actually take little walks doing that. She is so much happier now. She moves around the house like she is fully sighted. For me, accepting what happened only came to a positive conclusion by working with her and helping her. And, it goes without saying, just love your dog completely. Good Luck!

Buster's Mom wrote:

My female, mini B/T dachshund lost her sight to SARDS at age 7 (6 years ago!) It was tough going through the sudden large weight gain (10 lbs!), begging for food and MANY Many bowel and bladder accidents in the house -up to 12 BMs a day. (I researched online to find out she had SARDS as VET was just trying to sell me his food line. Diagnosis was confirmed by a vet opthomalogist) She has lived a very well-adjusted life these past 6 years. Weight returned to a normal 13-15 lbs within months of loss of retina. She goes up and down stairs and furniture with little to no difficulty. Recently she developed a protruding eye with infection. We suspect further eye problems that may necessitate removal of the eyes. (I reassure the children that the eyes are really just ornamental at this point.) She is a pet-store purchased dog and I caution all would be pet purchasers NOT to purchase a dog from a pet store. Purchase instead from a reputable breeder, one you can visit to select your newest family member from the litter.

Cindy Boyer wrote:

thiss has been a great help, we have nicknamed Murphy Pinball, where can I get a collar to keep him from bumping into things?

LovemyDog wrote:

We just woke up the other morning, and my dog was blind! It really scares me after reading everyone's posts. For the past 6-10 months she has been acting like she's starving to death. But since she has severe kidney damage, she is very restricted to what she gets. She started hunting & eating bugs & grubs like her life depended on it. People have been commenting on how fat she looks (not her usual look), but she's only gained 4 pounds. Have not noticed a change in water intake. And with bad kidneys, I watch her water. Her smell & hearing seems to be as good as ever. Every test imaginable has showed nothing. She did not shed her winter coat & the texture of coat changed from very soft to rough & coarse. I finally decided to take her to a holistic vet & they indicated extreme lack of certain vitamins/nutrients. I don't know which ones exactly. She's spent her life on k/d because of the kidneys. The holistic vet indicated that her body has been overwhelmed with toxins of some kind, and in dealing with them, used up all of certain vit/nutrients it had. They put her on supplements to start replacing what was lost. Within a week she was acting like she felt much better. The ravenous appetite disappeared and she started blowing her coat. Within the same time frame (6-10mo) her breathing changed & is loud & labored, but has cleared up for the most part now. Did the breathing improve on the dogs diag. with SARDS? We just went to an eye specialist yesterday. His diagnosis was detatched retinas. Is that what happens with SARDS or did he miss SARDS all together? Please help.

Dhadz 1971 wrote:

Good day to all who may read this inquiries about my daschund dog, I think she has an ear problem and I think it affect her front right leg and she always shaking her head. Can you give me some tips on how to cure this problem. dhadz

ladybug wrote:

i got an 8 yr. old cocker spaniel given to me she is blind in one eye and really cant see anything out of the other eye also has a tumer in right ear what can i do

Elaine P wrote:

The news was devastating at first to me and my little Pandy- an 11 year old Tibetan terrier. She is coming along pretty good now and we are coping as best we can. Pandy was tested for Cushings as she has had skin allergy for years and she came up negative. I was not aware of the correlation until I read all the other comments.She still will eat anything I offer,lettuce, pickles, anything!! My biggest challenge is that she doesn't want to walk too much and I would like her to take off some of the weight she has gained. Any ideas?? I love her so much and am grateful for whatever time we have left together. She still tries her best to please me and loves the wind in her face and all of her petting from others. Patience seems to help us both.

SHARON L. wrote:

Today, 7/8/04, my minature Schnauzer, Chynna, was diagnosed with SARDS and I can't quit crying. I guess it's easier on them than on us. She's being tested for Cushing's also. It's so heartbreaking to see her like this. Any suggestions?

Paula wrote:

Where do I start? My Kayleigh, a Westie, was just diagnosed with SARDS. Her problems started late last summer and our regular vet tested her for everything they could think of. They finally referred us to the North Carlina State Veterinary Hospital, a teaching school in Raleigh. It has taken 6 months for them to diagnose her because of all her other problems. So, in additon to becoming blind literally overnight, she gained l/3rd of her body weight, drinks tons of water, pees & poops in the house, and was totally lethargic. And, those are just the SARDS symptoms. She also has a dry nose, blood in her gums and the whites of her eyes and, a very nasally sound coming from her nose. I just got back tonight from the hospital - our third visit in a week - because now she also has extremely low blood platelets. They should be around 200,000 - hers are now at 15,000 having dropped to that from 94,000 late last week. She could die any minute if she gets bruised or she could just start bleeding internally. These things are incredibly hard on me. She is acting fine though. Her blindness almost doesn't exist to her except when we try to take walks. She has learned lots of different words to help her navigate. I pray to God that she and all other dogs afflicted with SARDS become happy and as healthy as possible. All I know is I lost one dog prematurely, I can't go through it again. I love her to pieces and she knows it!

Gail wrote:

Our pug AhChoo was diagnosed with SARDS 4 weeks ago when she went blind virtually in 3 days. Our vet and the opthalmic specialist were fantastic and very supportive. From those who have dealt with this disease for a longer period, do any of the symptoms such as excess thirst and incontinence get better with time? We are also so torn by her bouts of "crying" - she will just lie in her bed and "cry" for no reason and seems inconsolable. No amount of hugs and pets seem to help. Just fyi -- she has been on medication for thyroid for many years and has had bouts with ear infections requiring antibiotics. Our only other problem is that her hearing has been on the wane for the last year or so. I can be reached at

??? wrote:

what are symtoms of a blind dog???

Anne wrote:

My dog Ruby was diagnosed with SARDS a year ago and she died last week. Just like eery other SARDS dog I read about whe had weight gain and great thrist. In her last two months she destroyed my refrigerator (which was 15 years old)when she discovered that she could break the seal and open the door. Many battles followed--she even battled the duct tape to get in. She was never diagnosed with Cushings or anything else, but she was having respiratory problems the last few months (even that did not end the search for food).

jess wrote:


Tom in Washington, DC wrote:

My 7 year old beagle, Beauchamp was diagnosed with SARDS in May 2003 (about a year ago). Since the summer of 2002 we have been struggling with his weight gain (and appetite), and then in February of 2003 he started to pee ALOT! We went away for Easter, and left him at a cage-less kennel. When we got home he was nearly blind. Within a day he was totally blind. We have had to make some changes to our routine. He has learned new commands like "Step up," and "Step down," and more importantly "CAREFUL" before running into something. He has adjusted beautifully. We take him in for blood work every 3-4 months and so far there haven't been any other problems. When we get home he plays "Dead" which was a little unsettling the first couple of times. He waits for us to rub his belly and then he jumps up, wagging his tail. His personality is the same, if not more stubborn. He is determined to lead himself on walks, even if that means trying to walk into traffic. It is very hard to deal with, you feel so helpless, and out of control. Try to be patient, and let your dog tell what he/she needs.

Jill Williams wrote:

My Llasa, Cassie, went blind more than 2 years ago in February 2002. She had put on loads of weight since the November which the vet could not explain. I went on holiday in the February and when I returned Cassie's usual greeting of tearing out to meet me went terribly wrong when she just careered into the wall. She was eventually diagnosed as having SARDS. A couple of months later she was also diagnosed as having Cushings. She is a different dog now - no racing around - but she is just as happy and even more lovable. She has learnt to cope with her blindness really well. We live in the Lake District in England and she manages to go on wonderful walks over the Fells just by following my voice - she hates to be on a lead! I was devastated when she went blind but at least it wasn't a brain tumour and I have already enjoyed her love and company for two years more than I thought I would. She is now nearly 11 years old and eats anything and everything she can get to, including pickled onions, oranges and olives! We have been very loving and patient with her and have been rewarded with her love and company. She is very brave and if she falls or walks into things, she just 'shrugs it off' and tries again. She is wonderful! So if your dog has been recently diagnosed with SARDS, be patient and loving - they will get through it.

kim wrote:

Moochie, my 5 year old mini dashound, went blind virtually overnight this past December. Diagnoised with SADRS. A month prior to that I took him to our vet because of his rapid weight gain. The first couple months he was really freaked out, up till then he thought he was a rottwiller. But with alot of love and extra attention he is becoming more secure with his disability. You learn a few things, try not to move things around to much, ask company to speak to him when they come in so he knows whos there. We always let him know when we leave and when we get home. Just be paitent and love them, even when they poop in the house in the middle of the night, step in it, and leave dirty paw prints everwhere.

Darina wrote:

My dog Princess went blind last week due to SARD. She has always been aggressive, (A problem I should have dealt with a while ago; but I knew no better for I was only 9 when she came home and I was soley responsible for her, and shes almost 9 now herself.) But anyways... since she can't see anymore it has gotten a lot worse, the first couple of days she was quiet, and now it is almost 100% worse. I realize I have dominance issues with her and I know she needs to be retrained but I feel really bad about trying because she can't see anymore you know? I wouldn't like to wake up one morning and not be able to see anymore. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you

Patricia (Mexico) wrote:

Some weeks ago I found this page and never thought I as going to put on it my comments. During those my lovely minitoy poodle dog 11 years old Conchita was ill and had to take her to the vet. hospital, lung edema due kidney misfunction. She stayed there for 6 days and they told me it would better to take her back home and try to feed her with home made food; she didnīt want to eat at the hospital and at home either. I must say she had the SARDS diagnosis in july 2003 and she was completetly blind, she was drinking a lot of water as eating like she had never eaten in her life! She gained weight of course!!!!but she seemed to be happy anyway. After 5 days staying at home and giving liquids and some home made food (like baby food) with a syringe cause she never ate or drank by herself again....she started to be sad and the suffering came! I thing she had pain and call her vet. We took her to the clinic and the vet said she was already with cardiac-respiratory misfunction and it was time to say goodbye. We cried but we didnīt want her to suffer more . We were told before at the hospital that the kidneys were so damaged and nearly some day the kidneys were to fail. The day arrived....she was gone on mar 31st 2004 after make her sleep forever. She has been a deep lost for me and my husband, and my great company for 11 years; she was my baby....all these comments are for the dogs lovers to be careful with the the first Sards symptoms, first the blindness that it can be managed, but not the consequences as liver or kidneys failures. Conchita was one of the first SARDS cases known in Mexico...I hope near future this illness may be controled....if someone needs to contact me, my little experience with this terrible illness may help, donīt hesitate in contact me by email, my address is

ANGEL wrote:

I just got a new pup.I want to know some questions about it,here they are: What is the average sisi of a Maltese? How about the average weight? Who desided the name"Maltese"?

Josette wrote:

We had a chow named Maggie with SARDS. She was 11 years old when she developed SARDS. She had symptoms of Cushings disease, and was treated for it. Not long after that, she went blind. It was a horrible shock to us when she went blind. I cried for weeks. The vet said that I needed to stop crying and being sad, because Maggie is picking up on this. We helped her adjust to her blindness by making her feel secure. She adjusted well. After 2 years, we noticed that she started bumping into things and seemed disoriented. One day, I came home and she had pooped on the floor and was laying it. Evidently, she could not get up from arthritis. We decided long ago that when she has no quality of life we would have her put to sleep. It was the hardest thing to do. We are getting another dog soon, and I am worried about SARDS. I dealt with it once, and I don't want to face it again. Hopefully they can find a way to prevent dogs developing SARDS.

Marlene and Tyler wrote:

for all of you that have dogs that are blind, Please try long plastic locking ties. you attach them to your dogs collar. they act as feelers. Tyler has learned to use them. When he hears them rubbing on something he know hes to close. You can buy them at any hardware store. tyler does not bump his head nearly as much as he use to.My email is Feel free to contact me. Marlene

ZIPPY wrote:


Zippy wrote:


Catco wrote:

Whew! What a mess I've had. My wonderful Scottie, Boo had all the symptoms. I've read as much as possible, including all these wonderful notes on this site. The Veterinary Opthamologist didn't push to do the Electroretinogram, suggesting as an alternative that we might come back in a month for another exam. I felt that a positive diagnosis, eliminating tumor, etc. was in Boo's best interest. I was advised that Boo had to be sedated for the test. I assumed that the sedation was for slowing down eye movement. Prior to the test, I told the Vet that Boo was very sensitive to pain and to do whatever he needed to be comfortable. Next, While waiting in the waiting room, I heard Boo SCREAMIMG repeatedly. I was stunned. When I came back to the examinating room, I asked if those screams were Boo, and the Vet confirmed it. I asked what he did to make him scream, and was explained that they inserted needles behind both eyes and an electrode at the top of the skull. I was horrified at this minimalizing explanation of the treatment my dog was about to receive. If I had received adequate information and based on the alternate recommendations of the Vet, I would never have permitted that test. That was yesterday. Boo went home barely able to walk, cried all night and still won't accept any food. This poor animal, after experiencing what could only be called totally bewildering symptoms including significant weight gain, affecting his ability to manuever, and total sudden loss of sight, had finally begun to get his bearings. I feel terrible that I allowed the horrible setback. What a lousey crapshoot he had gotten.

Gail wrote:

My long-haired dachshund, Lizzie, has had SARDS for about 4 years. She's still happy and moves around the house very well. One tip that have worked well for us... our other dachshund wears a bell-collar,so Lizzie can folllow him. I also have put runner rugs on the hard-wood floor where she walks. She does a very ood job of staying on the rugs. I've done the same on the satirs. When she hits hardwood, she knows she's on the floor at the bottom. Good luck to others, after a short time it was apparent Lizzie adjusted better to this than I did.

LUCY'S MOM wrote:


Deanna wrote:

I have an 8yr old Lab with probable Cushing's. What is SARDS? I am very concerned and upset after reading about these furry children w/SARDS.

Zippy wrote:

I have been diagnosed with Sards and tested negative to cushings desease. I still go to work with my dad who is in the construction field. I bump into things alot but still love to go. My parents love me to death and would like to hear from other parents.

Pat wrote:

I only have one question can SARDS happen before Cushing Disease. I think that happen to my dog Samantha miniture schnauzer, I only wish I could do something anything.

Karol Benfield wrote:

My dog bandit, a 10 year old rat terrier full of life was recently diagnosed the first of January 2004, with SARDS. I was told by my vet that he had cataracts, but was not satisfied with just sitting back and waiting for him to get worse, so I took him to a specialist Dr. Miller in Memphis, TN. I described how he was bumping into things, eating me out of house and home, sleeping alot and breathes heavy when he sleeps. He also drinks large amounts of water. I had all vitals checked including diabetes. All blood work was just perfect. Then I learn about this horrible disease in dogs. I was told that some sort of trauma causes the dog to have this, but I read in the book "How to Live With Blind Dogs" that this disease is caused by processed dog food where the dogs food and vitamins in food is not absorbed into his system. So I wonder can we feed them home-made food or natural rememedies to stop this process. Too many dogs are coming up with disease to just sit around and do nothing. I feel more research needs to be done to stop this in the future. My dogs are everything to me and I can't stand to see them depressed and upset. I do try to love him a lot and help him adjust to a step or a tree in the way. He still wags his tail, but cannot fetch toys anymore. I would like to know what is being done to stop this disease for future dogs? Is food the key? I do not accept a tramatic event in my home, because all my dogs get are love. Please help all of us that are wondering what can be done!!

Samantha and Brian Fulton wrote:

Our 9 yr old Jack Russell was diagnosed today(1/8/04) with- you guessed it- SARDS. About 3 mos. ago it really came to our attention that our girl Mickey had gotten a bit chubby. We instructed our dog sitter to cut down on the treats when we were gone, we stopped giving any table scraps and got her good "diet" food. We also started exercising her more frequently. We actually seperated her, while do this, from our 5 yr old Aust. Cattle dog who hogs all the play. Much to our suprise after a month of this she actually gained 1 1/2 lbs. We took her to the vets to make sure nothing else was wrong. Due to the fact that we free feed from multi day food and water bowl/jug things and have a doggie door to a fenced in backyard, we have not noticed a change in her eating habits. We took her to the vets before Christmas to have some tests done to make sure nothing was wrong. Bloodwork revealed only a low normal thyroid, slightly elevated liver functions and the 8 hr Cushings test was normal. We mentioned that she seemed to have trouble catching treats and the vet said her eyes appeared normal for a 9 yr old. Over the next week we noticed her bump into a couple things but weren't quite sure what was going on. I called the vet to tell him and he said the low dose of thyroid med. he put her on wouldn't cause vision problems. The next day we left for our home in FL to drive to a house we have in TN. We always take our dogs. We were there for 2 wks over Christmas and New Years and saw a drastic decrease in her vision. Though we believe she could still see somewhat while we were away, by the time we arrived home 2 wks later we could wave our hands in front of her face and she would stare blankly. Other than bumping into an occasional object she is acting completely normal. After reading up on the internet I had made my own diagnosis of SARDS be for the specialist did today. I'm wondering if we should have her rechecked for Cushings down the road or have other tests, x-ray, etc. I don't want to overlook underlying problems. My husband is not taking this very well, but the dog seems to be adjusting rather well. Makes me wonder when she actually lost her sight- I can't say completely because in the car on the way home in the bright light her eyes followed my hand in many directions and she noticed people in the neighbors driveway from inside a closed car?!

Colin Thompson wrote:

I noticed that Anna Maried and PIPPY said that her dog also had "skin thingys" Charlie has a large patch on his side which feels like a bad scab (size of a 20cent piece) but we never saw any bloody before it as if from an accident of some sort. Sometimes too he seems very tender and complain when we try and pick him up. He ahs also put lot of weihgt on which we put down to his lack of running around which he did a lot.

Colin Thompson wrote:

Our 8 yr old mixed terrier has been diagnosed with SARDS and we're told he does not have Cushing's disease. This happend over 4 months ago and he is still as depressed as ever. little more than a vegetable with no quality of life. I believe the 'medical' theories behind this disease are missing something - I'm convinced it's a viral cause. Our dog also has swollen glands in his throat and his sinuses appear very blocked as he snores. His lungs are fine. These two extra things came at exactly the same time as his blindness. We have him on an Alzheimer's medication (Fitergol) but after 10 days there seems to be no improvement. He simply has no quality of life - lies on the floor and groans as if he's just had enough. we are now thinking of having him put to sleep to relieve the stress that just does not be seem to be going away. I'd rather try and help him survive but there seems to be nothing we can do. any ideas and help would be greastly appreciated - I'm on

Kara wrote:

My miniture schnauzer Samantha has Cushing Disease plus SARDS. I really want to know since she is 8 years old now is there anything I can do to help her stay better. Is there other things dogs can get because of the Cushing Disease? I want to make sure I can have her alot longer than they say you do. My husband and I would be upset like everyone who have a day with this disease. Please help

Marlene wrote:

One week ago our 10 year old Schnauzer became blind. We just came home from the canine eye specialist where he was diagnosed with sards. Our hearts are breaking to see him like this. He also just got out of the emergency hospital where he was for 4 1/2 days and was diagnosed with chronic ative hepatitis of the liver. 4 Years ago Tyler also suffered a stroke of the spinal cord, which he has recovered about 80%. My email address is Any suggestions on how to help our little boy would be appreciated. Thank you Marlene

Killeen wrote:

I just found out my dog Samantha has cushing disease. My vet has been doing alot of blood tests on her and has given her pills to take. Her eating and water intake are just the same, even after taking the pills. My vet said she has the pituitary kind and even with medicine, she may only live for two years. I just lost my little miniture schnauzer Kara on May 2, 2003, I don't think my heart could stand another heart break. Is their another plan for her to get better.

Patricia Gruca wrote:

When I wrote I forgot to include me e-mail Anything that can be said to help myself and others with their dogs and friends who they love very much

Patricia Gruca wrote:

I have an 8year old miniture schnauzer and I just found out she has both Cushing disease and sards. I'm so upset I can hardly eat. Do they only live for two years?

Michelle wrote:

We have a seven yr old Yellow Lab that started to run into furniture and walls. We took him (Chazz) to the vet today and was told that he has SARDS. Two weeks ago, before this happened, Chazz was having accidents in the house. We took him to the vet, they took some xrays and told us that his liver was enlarged, caused by some bacteria. Medication was prescribed and he was doing fine until now, with the blindness.

Pam wrote:

My Vienna, who will be 6 yrs old on Sept 4th & is a Dachshund, has just been diagnosed with SARDS. The Opthamolic Veternarian also suggested that I purchase Living with Blind Dogs and I have ordered it. It's been very upsetting for me - but - Vienna seems to be handling it fairly well, other than been "sad". Vienna will be going through blood tests for Cushings Disease as the specialist said that about 50% of dogs with SARDs either already have Cushing Disease or it will possibly develop within 6 months. We're hoping for a negative testing tomorrow for Vienna's sake. I will truly hate to put her through even more. I would be interest in those of you whose pets were diagnosed with Cushings Disease after SARDs. Thanks.

Elaine wrote:

My little chihuahua Sassy was diagnosed with SARDS in January 2003. I am still not used to her not being able to see and run laps and run up the stairs with my other two little chihuahuas Spunky and Sissy. Sassy is 8 years old. Sassy also has developed Cushings, has possible hypothyroidism,and has other problems. However, with medication, great vets, good care she is doing good. I still cry and I guess I always will. But she never sees me cry. I am always up around her. Here lately she has started to play a little and although it could be wishful thinking, I do think at times she can see dim light and shadows. Either that or she has developed stronger senses to what is around her. I love my babies and will go to the ends of the earth for them. She still appears depressed at times, but I know God is watching over her and all of us. She has come a long way and I wouldn't trade her or any of my babies for all the money in the world. I do find myself smiling more today then yesterday. Sassy, Sissy, Spunky, my three esses I will love you forever.

Frederica wrote:

Our Bichon has just been diagnosed with SARDs. We are upset! But....he is adjusting and we must learn to do so also. His tail is slowly coming up as he has been depressed since he started running into things, but he must be looking up as his tail is coming up!!! Our opthalmologist has suggested we get the book "Living with Blind Dogs: A Resource Book and Training Guide for the Owners of Blind and Low-vision Dogs" by Caroline D. Levin RN. He says it is very good and extremely helpful, so we have ordered it from He still enjoys outside and wanders around, we just have to watch that he doesn't get stuck somewhere he shouldn't go, he's like a child and can get into something quickly. He likes to lie in the grass and feel the breeze and we have noticed his sense of smell has increased. His expectations in life are not as high as a human so he will probably adjust more quickly than we would. We will all survive - "God sees the sparrow fall and will look out for our pets"!

Jill wrote:

Just wanted to encourage other parents of SARDS dogs. My baby Frasier was diagnoised with SARDS about 2 years ago. I adopted Fras, a lhaso apso mix from the SPCA Nov 18, 1994. They estimated his age at 2 yrs, so he was approx. 9 yrs old at onset of SARDS. I took it much worse than Frasier did. He continues to be quite the "trooper", not letting his blindness stop him from enjoying life to it's fullest! I moved to a new home a year ago and was worried about all the ongoing changes in the new house, boxes, moving furniture, etc. Frasier and his new brother stayed at grandmas until the house was in order...about 10 days! Frasier was so excited when I "showed" him his new home. I led him on a lease and talked to him the whole time..showing him his beds, yes..plural, resting places for the Fras all over the new house. Also, where the water bowls were, food and finally the new doggie door. He had never had access to one of these before but immediately caught on and loves it. After the grand tour, I held Fras on my lap and loved on him, wanting to make up for lost time during my move. After a few minutes, Frasier got down off my lap and started retracing our earlier steps. It was almost like he was memorizing the lay out of his new home. After he had retraced our earlier path twice, he came looking for me. He snuggled and kissed as if to say he was in approval of his new surroundings. I just can't tell you how much Frasier was enriched my life. Especially, seeing how he has dealt with his sudden blindness. I was intially worried about his quality of life - this worry proved unfounded. He still runs w/o abandon in the yard at times, he depends a great deal on his memory and other sensory preceptions but he is also very attuned to my cautions. I tell him when to step up, step down, "other way" is a very common command as we couldn't agree exactly "whose right or left" we were talking about! Frasier may have Cushings, tests indicate it as a possiblity, but I haven't had the ACTH test because my understanding of the medication to treat Cushings is probably not an option for Fras since he is frequently exciteable. I suppose a brain tumor could be another possiblity, however, he was lived quite well for the past 2 years since going blind, so I kinda doubt that also. I work at a Veterinary Hospital and trust the Doctors there impecably. I intially wanted to go to an Eye specialist, but the more I learned from our docs the more I knew, an exact diagnosis wouldn't make any difference in treatment. Hope I have helped encourage others who are faced suddenly with this (what seems like a horribly terrible fate). Believe me, it bothers you more than it does your dog. Extra attention and forethought while your dog adjusts is all that is needed. Keep Smilin!!



RON AND PAT wrote:




Amy Taylor wrote:

I learned, for a fact, that my 5 yr old male Pug has SARDS. I just want to say a few things, in reading allot of the info that is on the net today, I became horrified. We, my vet and I, suspected SARD for a few day, and I was terrified, not only of the eyesite loss, but the things I was reading. Such as, SARDS attacks other parts of the body, that I need to watch out for his immune system, his kidneys... Luckily talking to my OPTHAMOLOGIST, let me say that again, OPTHAMOLOGIST, I was so happy to learn that this is not the case. PLEASE,PLEASE,PLEASE people got to a specialist- that's what they do-and it makes coming to terms with the blindness so much easier when you are informed. It will take awhile for him to adjust- but he will, with my and my familes help, we all will adjust. I am not sad, I am happy that my baby will be here, for a lONG,LONG,LONG time. I am sad that he is struggligng, but with his struggle will emerge a new and even better dog, and a better owner. I will give you some of the best advice that I got during this past weeek. It came for a vet tech and my animal hospital- he told me"hold your head up high, and your dog will hold his up just a high-" Your dog feels what you are going trough- love him and support him, be positive and he will be supportive, positive and loving right back. I hope this helps- I know writing it helped me. Thank you for all of the great words of encouragement I have read here-and it is nice to know there is someone else out there. If anyone needs some support or needs to ask a question , please feel free
Pepe says "this is good advice."

Justine Hisel wrote:

My one year old German Shepard dog eat some fruit candy. He is acting weird. His symtomes are running fast across the house From room to room. He isn't even wagging his tail. What can I do?

Lisa wrote:

My friend Sheba,a german shepherd, went blind on Saturday. We went to the vet today and he did a blood test. Her creatnine level was slightly elevated but he truly believes it is SARDS as the reason for her blindness. I take her on friday to get her BP taken(to check for hypertension) and an ACTH blood test.After that he suggests that I go to an opthamologist. He also mentioned Cushings Syndrome. Luckly she still is a playful 10 year old as we have 5 other dogs. It seems they sometimes help her walk around and lead her. I am truly heartbroken that this has happened to one of my babies. The problem is that the doctor said that it is inherited. I also have Sheba's sister and 2 of her puppies. I pray that they do not contract the same problem. Is there anything else I should be doing or can do?

Suki's mom wrote:

It has been almost a year since our 10 year old Shih Tsu was diagnosed with SARDS. The first several months were very trying for all of us, but once Suki got familiar with the house again things went well. We only have one floor in our house which makes it easier. We do carry Suki down the porch steps to go outside but she walks up the steps to go back in the house. We always make sure she wears a harness collar to make sure she can't slip out of her regular collar when she's on a leash. She does play with her toys and also our 3 year old Westie. Amazingly enough sometimes I think the Westie is acting like Suki's seeing Eye dog!! My father has a swimming pool so we also bought a dog life vest from LL Bean last summer and make sure she has it on at all times at his house during the summer in case she should slip into the pool.

Val wrote:

My around-8 year old mixed breed beagle was recently diagnosed with SARDs. It seemed to occur within a few weeks. He is so depressed, has gained weight & now seems like an old dog. He was incredibly happy and playful before. It's so upsetting for us !

Laura K wrote:

I just returned home with my fur kid, Scarlet, and the vet told me they suspect SARDS as the cause of her sudden confusion and walking into walls. I am devestated. Scarlet is a Whippet and she runs like the wind. It is so heartbreaking to see her now bumping into walls. Reading the comments here has given me the information I need to be informed tomorrow when Scarlet and I see a vet opthalmologist. I'm hoping for the best...

stephanie wrote:

we have just learned the our miniature dauhand is blind and we are is so sad seeing him (oscar) run into things.. my husband is in denial .. he wants to believe that oscar can see just a little but he can't.. he has sard and as you know it can't be reversed..i'm looking for a book on how to cope with this and how to make it safer for him..i heard about the one by catherine levin but i'm having a time finding it... i have not had blood work on him yet but i am to make sure there is nothing else going on.. he seems to be very heathy..he is a little over weight, is so sad to see him this way even though i know it will get better in time its just so hard because he is such a good dog..i have a cocker too but i don't think she has reconized this yet ..will she ever realize he is blind and help him.. well thanks for any addive and thanks for the ear.. stephanie wrote:

We just found out our dog has SARDS - and Cushing Disease and we were wondering how people pay for the expense of it all

LVT wrote:

A clarification about Teresa with Annabelle - The neurologist preformed an ERG (ElectroRetinoGram) which is a test to measure the electrical response of the retina to light stimulation; Not an ECG (ElectroCardioGram) which is a test that graphs the tracing of the variations in electrical potential caused by the heart muscles. A "flat line" in this case would mean death. Just FYI. :]

Sheree wrote:

My 12 year old miniature schnauzer was diagnosed with SARDS about 2 months ago. She was diagnosed with Hyperlipidemia a few weeks before going blind. I have read nothing concrete that would prove that Hyperlipidemia is at all associated with SARDs. However, Abby for quite some time now has not been able to keep "proteins" in her systems. High levels of proteins are leaving her body and we have not been able to correct that. I have done some research about protein loss and have read that SARDS could be associated with that. This sudden blindness has really been hard to deal with. At first I was very upset...I tried to research as much as I could about how to live with blind dog. Abby has adapted well to her blindness, but I can see that she struggles still a bit. The old playful Abby is gone,and a new dependent Abby is here to stay. I work everyday with her to help to find comfort in getting around the house, to her food, to her water. She is the sweetest dog and it is so sad that this has happened to her. The important thing to know is that they will is the owners that sometimes don't. I hope that my comments have helped someone else out there who is going through the same thing. There is not much we can do about SARDS....but teach our dogs to live with it....hug you furbabies as they are precious beings!!!

Gina wrote:

My thirteen year old miniature schnauzer has went totally blind. We purchased a "halo" that helps her alot; however, she isn't adjusting as well as we thought she would. She no longer plays with her toys. We even bought special ones for her. I feel so bad for our baby.

Debbie wrote:

Hi, my name is Debbie & I am from Melbourne Australia. My beautiful baby boy (aged7) a golden lab was diagnosed as going blind 8 months ago. I have been reading your stories on SARDS but I don't know what it is, could someone please explain it to me. Thank you.

Teresa wrote:

Hi, My dog Annabelle a 6 year old Irish wolfhound mix. Started showing symtoms 3 months ago. First with increased eating and water drinking. has gained 38 pounds in that short amount of time.She used to be so full of life running and playing. But since this all started, she just lays around with no energy at all. I took her back and forth to the vet several times. the only thing that showed up was a slightly low thyroid. Annabelle is having alot of accidents in the house. She recently started having small seizures. The other day she feel into our pool,By pure luck my husband and I were there when she fell in and were able to pull her out. She started to walk into furniture a couple of days ago. One morning I woke up to find her sound a sleep laying in her dog bed soaked through with urin. My vet thought for sure that she had a brain tumur. So off we drove 2 1/2 hours away to a dog nuroligist. He did a MRI, ECG and a spinal tap. Other then a small cistic legion on her brain that he feels is not the cause of any of her problems There was no sign of a brain tumur. THANK YOU GOD, but the ECG was flat lined we were then told that she had sards and she is tollally blind. The Spinal tap test was abnormal High proteins and high white blood cell count. We are awaiting the results of those test to come in by monday. I feel so sad for my beloved friend I know she must be really feeling scared and confused. But by reading some of the other stories on this page. Gives me hope that she will get back to some quilty of life in the future even though she will never see again.

Andrea wrote:

My 5 1/2 yr old mini daschund was diagnosed with SARDS today by an eye specialist,Im struggling coming to trerms with this desease i need to know what she is going thro, she is a much loved dog and it hurts me to see her like this i need to know more, does anyone know of any research sites on the internet that can tell me more about SARDS? please please email me with anything that can help me at thankyou

nunyea todee wrote:

Jack wrote:

A few months ago due to my moving I have placed my shar-pei, Wrinkles into my mother's care temporarily..I had financial difficulties moving to Florida as a state to state move trying to juggle the bills at the same time. I was just about getting ready to leave this Thursday, and when I visited my Mom my dog has become blind overnight. I happened to sleep at her house 2 days ago. My sister took Wrinkles to the vet, and today at 4 PM they told me that she has to have her eyes removed, which would require an additional ear surgery too. So she'd be blind and deaf. My Mother decided to put her to sleep instead of suffering and being a zombie. 2 days ago Wrinkles was just fine, and she was in great shape, happy, no signs of anything. Just 2 weeks ago I took her to a vet, and done all kinds of check-ups on her. What went wrong that the docs couldn't see it coming ? Could I have saved my dog somehow ? Unfortunately I learned about the eye and ear surgery at 4 PM, and at 8 PM my Mom told me that she was already dead. So my mother decided for me without me . I am not sure though, they haven't even given me a chance to get a second opinion, and I am very upset. I had Wrinkles for over 4 years now. Except the past few months. If anyone has any comments please write me, especially if you have an info how an eye surgery would have affected the ears. She did not have any problems with her ears. Thanks: A very saddened Jack :

Gail wrote:

My darling boy suddenly lost vision five days ago. An eye specialist diagnosed SARDS. Until then, I had never heard of it or realised that such a problem existed. All I have been told is that he will not see again, no mention was made of any related problems. I am having a difficult time trying to accept what has happened, and can't believe that he may be in for more suffering. It is breaking my heart as he is the most beautiful boy you could wish for.









Becky wrote:

I just found out my dog has SARDS. An ERG showed a flat result. This is such a tramatic thing to deal with. It was so sudden and nothing can be done. I am just looking for information to help my dog & I get thru this....

Arby wrote:

I have a 10 year dog with separation anxiety who I rescued from a shelter 8 1/2 years ago. While she was relatively "sane" for years, recently she has become defiant and sneaks into parts of my home that are "off limits". I then got a special training collar and after she attempted to leave her permitted area on 2 occasions, she got a light shock 2 times when crossing into the forbidden area. While she has been great and has not attempted to leave the permitted part of my house, she now is constantly urinating and deficating in the area where she is allowed, (approximately 500 square feet) and refuses to use her doggy door which she has used for years. Does this sound like a physical or psychological problem?

WSG wrote:

The eye specialist I saw today said my dog probably has SARDS. She only spoke of an expensive EKG test as a possible way to check on that. She did NOT mention blood testing for Cushings or other things but online when I lok up SARDS I keep reading vet recommendations for blood and urine testing. So should they be tested? And if so what for exactly?

griffie wrote:

Hi - My Mini Schnauzer Heidi has SARDS. I only became aware of the problem when she fell in my inground pool - fortunately I was home and heard her literally screaming. That was approximately 6 mos. ago. I did order her halo harness from England and it took some time to get - she has never worn it. She has learned her way around the house, the house of my friend and an acre fenced yard. (pool is now fenced in too). I have a large mix male and when she gets turned around she will follow the fence back to the porch or howl and the big guy goes out to get her. Heidi seems perfectly normal with the exception of urinating in the house from time to time and I believe it's because she cant find the dog door. She has remained the Alpha dog and loves her big brother mix breed dog. I am amazed at how well and how quickly she adjusted to her blindness - much more so than I did. I wish you all well with your fur kids and hope that you will be as fortunate as I have been with Heidi's and my adjustment to her disability.

Paul Kaplan (paulkaplan5 wrote:

Hello. My dog, Xena, came down with SARDS last January. Unfortunately, I took her to multiple vets when she was exhibiting all what I now know to be the classic symptons, to figure out what was going on, but none of them could tell me. Eventually she went blind; after taking her to the eye doctor, I then found out why. They handed me a one-page Xerox sheet about how to deal with blind dogs, and sent me on my way. Unfortunately, despite being blind, Xena was still not herself. Again, I took her to vets, specialists, had numerous tests performed, and still they said she was fine. I knew better. Unfortunately, last weekend, she became extremely ill. I knew it was going to be her time to go. I called the vet to ask what to do, and they insisted I take her in to try to stabilize her. Unfortunately, I had to leave her with the vet for the night; Xena passed away there the next morning. To this day, I still do not know what she died from. I'm very disturbed that dispite all the tests, and doctor visits, no one could tell me what was wrong. It leads me to believe the veterinary science is still in its infancy; that, and they don't totally understand SARDS. I don't believe its supposed to be a fatal disease, but perhaps it can be? In any event, Xena was a big part of my family's life. She was only 8 years old, and passed away too soon. We'll miss her. I wish everyone else who may have a blind dog sympathy and patience. Its not the end of the world, Xena did fine with her blindness. It was only the other symptoms that obviously she couldn't handle. Best of luck all, thanks for listening. Paul

Joan Hines email: wrote:

I have a blind Irish Setter which we rescued in Dec. He's 9,10,11 or 12. I'm looking for a harness or halo. Can someone tell me how to order one. I don't want to have to order froom England. I've heard we have some here. Many thanks.

Beth wrote:

I already post to the blind dogs list, which I find extremely helpfull, although I could have been using it better. (Didn't realize that there is a separate place for SARDs). Josephine, my 5 1/2 years old Maltese was diagnosed with SARDs about a month ago after testing negative for Cusing's disease. It was apparent that she was blind about 2 weeks or so after the Cushing's tests came back. She does not have diabetes or thyroid problems. (She is due to be re-tested for Cushings in about another 4 months from now, unless that any changes happen that indicate that testing should be re-done earlier). Her symptoms have been big appetite and weight gain, (went from 3 1/2 lbs to 7 lbs in about 6 months or less), insomnia, restlessness,and accidents in the house. She is taking vitamin c (250 a day) and a mega dose multi vitamin heavy on the B's. She has been on Hills R/D for the past 3 months or so and I have added fresh vegetable juice to that. I am also in the process of changing over her diet to a home made one. My question is regarding kidney disease, which I was not aware could be a problem with SARD's dogs. What kind of changes or symptoms should I be looking out for? Thankyou, Beth and Josephine

Nettie's Mom wrote:

My nine year old corgi/jack russell mix, Nettie was diagnosed with SARDS in February. We have since been to several specialists. The internal medicine doctor that we saw did tell me that dogs with SARDS will sometimes exhibit Cushing's Syndrome symptoms that will go away a couple of months after the blindness comes on. This isn't true of all dogs with SARDS-my Nettie had an adrenal tumor that we had surgically removed 13 days ago. Just thought I'd share that some cases of Cushing's related to SARDS will cure themselves.

Dave wrote:

I would like to just say that you are doing everything you can for Tony. There are dogs out there, deaf plus blind, that do have a real quality of life. Could he "hear" stamping on the ground near to him? would you with some form of scent on your shoes help? If only they can get him to follow them, it is a start. Good luck and Love to Tony.

Harriet Toibin wrote:

Having now read the many heart rending messages here today, I should like to add to the firt memo: I actually meant to write that Tony is nearly deaf as well as blind: The ACTCH AND DEXAMETHSONE test for Cushings(which cost about $400-500) are not 100% definitive for a diagnosis of that disease..but only 90% valid for a diagnosis..Therefor my Tony still has a 10% chance that he does have Cushings. I seems to me that SARDS is related to cortisone which is notorious for thinning and in the case of a dog, destroying the delicate retina.I suffer from an autoimmune disease and am on prednisone/cortisone and know the awful side effects it can have on your body and mind. I saw an opthamologist last week and will re-visit with her again on Tues. when I bring Tony in for Cardiologist exam...I have been to 8 different vets in the last 5 years and have found 90% of them to be more interested in "running up a huge bill for labs and diagnositc services" rather than helping my poor sick dog. The last vet that I used, charged me 970% mark up on drugs for Tony from the retail drug price and was positively salivating himself talking about all the other services he would perform for us in the future, after he had taken $480.00 from me in 3 weeks and Tony then went blind from SARDS,I dedided to go to Georgia Vet Specialist Hosp., all the Vet are opthamologist, cardiologist, internists and they are on call 24 hr. service.Believe it or not their charges were less than that last thief(Vet) I just fired. I have bought and read Caroline Levin's book on living with blind dogs and the one on nutrition but much of what I read, I had already figured out and was already doing.I would commend that she does a great job in her book on nutrition.I totally agree with giving your dog real, natural food as you would give your own child.

Harriet Toibin wrote:

My 11yr. old Boston Terrier, male, Tony went blind overnite 12 days ago..unfortunately he has had poor is not no hearing in his right ear and about 50% in his left ear: I feel like I am living with a "canine Helen Keller". Tony has been called by all that have met him THE WORLD'S GREATEST DOG...he has the most wonderful nature, enthusiastic and outgoing and playful..but no more. I am in shock and so is Tony. I thank God, I do have a young female pup 18mos Bostonterrier who is a great help with tony...She is indeed a very smart and ultra sensitive dog and seems to understand that Tony is disabled now.The worst problem I have is just getting Tony to move at all..he is a giant for his breed, he is 23" and 42lb. and is more like a small Boxer than a Boston Terrier..and he is very strong and powerful and when he won't move I have to pull and drag on his harness.I need some support from other dog owners who have had this experience also. Tony has been tested as of 3 mos ago for Cushings and for hypothyrodism all ACTH and dexamethasone negative for both...yet his sypmtoms of drinking large quanities of water and sudden voracious appetite led us to believe he was sypmtomatic for Cushings..I still beleive he has some problem related to over production of cortiscol..his adrenal on the 2 ultra sounds performed, one in Oct. and another last week are normal.I am now feeding him only home cooked pure more processed dog food..tried giving him antioxident pills as well but after a few days he developed heavy I am going back to Vet again..a new one for a change to see what dosage is best for him, etc. I would appreciate so much any support, help, advice you can give me. THANK YOU SO MUCH, HARRIET SUGAR TOIBIN

Brittany wrote:

I have a small Maltese thats recently went Blind with SARDS and I feel so sad about it, I like to know what is the best way to help this little sweet Companion, My heart aches every time she bumps in to something that I don't catch in time.

Corrine wrote:

My almost 3 years old shihtzu recently became blind and the vet said he didn't know why. The only reason I brought my dog in was because he had an ear infection, the one that went away 2 weeks ago and came back. A couple days after his ear was bugging him again, he suddenly was not able to walk without bumping into things. The vet then took blood tests and sent them away. There was nothing wrong with the blood tests but he came up with it beung SARDS. Could it be possible that his ear infections had something to do with it? Also is there any form of surgery he could get if it was SARDS?b

Denise Salazar wrote:

Our dog went completely blind two weeks ago, and yesterday SARDS was confirmed by electroretinogram. For about two months prior to her blindness, she had been exhibiting what we now know to be "symptoms" of SARDS in some dogs- weight gain, massive hunger and thirst, lethargy, panting, and having "accidents" in the house (most likely due to her increased intake of food and water). We took her to see the vet several times, and she had a number of blood tests done to rule out diabetes and Cushings. These tests all came back negative. Her thyroid hormone levels were in the low normal range, but we decided to supplement her with a low dose of medication to see if her sysmptoms would improve. She has now been on the medicaions for about three weeks, and it does seem that she is getting back some of her energy, and she has lost a pound. I have been reading the other owner accounts on this web page, and I would be interested in trying Zoe on some of the supplemets mentioned (CoQ10 and PS), but I can't seem to find any mention of how much of these supplements to give her. She is currently just under 60 pounds. I would appreciate it if someone could let me know an approximate amount of supplements to try her on. Otherwise, she is handling her blindness pretty well (much better than we are!), but it is hard seeing her so tired and with no desire to play anymore. Hopefully that will change over time. If anyone has any information on the supplememts, please e mail me at:

Elizabeth wrote:

My dachshund Bud, was diagnosed with SARDS at the age of 5 1/2. I highly recommend the book, Living with Blind Dogs by Caroline D. Levin, Lantern Publications, 18709 S. Grasle Road, Oregon City, OR 97045. With patience on the owner's part, most dogs can adjust nicely to being blind. Teach your dog a few commands such as, Stop, Step, Go Slow, Watch it, etc. Be consistent with the commands that you use and your dog will learn what you mean. Also, be careful when you carry your dog. Your dog needs to know where he is at when you put him down. When my dog first went blind, I babied him a lot by carrying him and then realized that he would not be aware of where he was when I would put him down. Instead, I started having my dog follow my footsteps until he learned his way around the house and yard. Be very careful when you are outside with your dog (out of a fenced/protected yard). Keep him on a leash at all times. My email address is

Kenny wrote:

My vet fears that my 12-year old Cocker Spaniel, Indiana, has Cushing's. Is there an alternative-medicine treatment that anyones has had any success with? Thanks.

Thomas J. Lynch wrote:

She-La is now totally blind, and Cushing's has been confirmed. SARDS was not but her blindness is absolute and confirmed and sudden. Possibly a pit. brain tumor involving the optic nerves, etc. She is exhibiting almost stroke-like behaviors, is disorietned (not just from the blindness) but confused. Incontinence, defication in her cage at night and eating it, and now wailing spells in the night (2 to 3 times) where she must be carried up and down stairs and outside. She is carried outside almost every hour as the rapid proceesing of fluids, bladder pressurre fro the enlarged spleen and liver has made her highly uncomfortable. She is almost an invalid requiring more care then our 7 month old daughter or two sons. We are putting her down today. I guess I am typing this as therapy, we have spent over $4,800 in the last two years, but the blindness and the Cushing's has just made the decision. Our fear is a serous complication, accident, one of our two boys trips over her (she is contantly restless and moving about or whimpering due to the Cushing's etc.and under foot) and she would have a devastating accident and pain while we attemtpt to remedy the problem. Leaving her in the cage all day seems the cruelest solution...waiting for fate, a stoke, heart attack, or accident to make the decsion for us. We will hug her, she will know us, and we will say goodbye without pain.

evon wrote:

On September 26th, 2001 Our 2 1/2 year old Golden Retreiver was diagnosed with Sards. We brought him home on Mother's Day 1999. In July of 2001 his incredible increase in hunger and thirst was astounding. He literally devoured his servings without chewing, then begged for more. I came home from work one afternoon to find he had eaten an entire canteloupe, a couple of apples and a 5lb bag of potatos, all of which were kept on a pantry shelf. After a picnic, in August, Jake had found a bag of corn cobs which had been eaten. He devoured 3 or 4 before I knew what he was up to. He was very sick and finally began throwing them up. I called my vet and he advised that if he was having normal bowel movements there wasn't much he could do but maybe cut him open to be sure all was ok. Jake was totally blind by the 1rst of October 2001. He was accepting the drastic change with all the optimism he had. He and I decided that this would not hinder our bonds, but make them stonger! I arrived home on October 15th and he was throwing up. It didn't stop so I called my veterinarin pleading that Jake needed help. He was in so much pain he was crying. I told my vet i believed he was throwing up his bowels. My vet at this time, 11 pm, told me his office would be open at 8:30 am. I begged for his help. I called another vet and pleaded for help, but because Jake was't a patient of theirs, they couldn't take a chance of missing one of their own calls. By 5:30 am, Jake and I were exhausted and He was so weak he couln't stand. His insides finally blew, the blood, the pain and the suffering will be foremost in my mind forever. My vet did a service, (costly) and decided he could see us at 7:30 am, you know the rest. Jacob is gone, my life will never be the same. He says it was Ecoli. there was no autopsy, although now I wish I could have been strong enough to order one. This may have had nothing to do with Sards, or it may have had everything to do with it, I need to find information. I need to know more. I am carrying the guilt for his death.

Thomas J. Lynch wrote:

She-La, a Bichon Frise who will be 10 on January 13, 2002, has in the last 5 years had: 2 bladder stone operations and has been on Hills W/D the recently G/D, right blown ACL lig replaced; left currently went 6 montsh ago; she has been on Clavomox for almost a year. She has been increasing "leaky' in the last year so she was put on PPA (Phenylpropanolamine) 30 mg three times a day from a local compounding pharmacy, which was later changed to 75 mg once a day. Her weight has been a problem for about a year, as she gets a controlled single cup of Hills per day it has gone from 16 to 20 poounds and now in the last month to 22.5 pounds! In the last 30 days, she has "gone blind" with according to the Vet yesterday, no left eye vision and some right eye "light" recognition. Possibly SARDS? and it sound almost absolutly Cushings. I have seen many references to SARDS and Cushings together, but I also wonder if the PPA might have triggered all of this? With a 6 month old, and two very active 5 and 7 year old boys, She-La's condition cuases her to get in the way, and she may get hurt. We are not confining her to a back yard, and her cage, and are constantly monitoring her. She seems to have an incredible mental map of our 1 acre property, including trees, beds and she used the driveways and walkways as guides. This is very sad, and my wife is incredibly upset as am I. This pooch was so active and mobile just 3 months ago we could never have imagined such a decline. SARDS is unfortunate and we may be able to deal with it (I am not sure about She-La as she still seems scared) but the Cushings physically and it seems intenrally (the x-ray yesterday showed the liver and spleen are HUGE and pushing on the bladder and cuasing here much urgency....the PPA makes her drink more and so does the Cushings. What anybodies prognosis? We are in a Quality of Life discussion - ours and She-La?

Toby's Mom wrote:

To Kathy I found better information on the internet than from either my vet or the Opthamologist. My daughter is a vet tech and works for a team of vets in another city - none of them knew too much about it. There is a good book - Living with Blind Dogs - that has some helpful, general information. I asked my vet to check Toby for Cushings (which she does not have). She is adjusting, but still has some health problems - which may be related to her age.

Kathy wrote:

My 5 year old pug, Chinta, was diagnosed with SARD just last week. I didn't get any information from the opthamologist. He took tests and lots of money and said do the best you can. It seems that the vets aren't that helpful and I appreciate getting everyone's comments and I will now try to work on building up Chinta's immune system so that nothing else horrible follows. Thanks again

Toby's Mom wrote:

My dog Toby, a 9 year old Shar Pei, had back surgery (2 herniated discs) in May. Over the next few months she displayed many of the symptoms discussed on this site: increased appetite, weight gain, panting,lethargy, excessive drinking and hair loss. Most of the symptoms we associated with her surgery and recovery. Over the summer she was given a treatment of steroids (low dose) and began a regime of Adeuqan shots for her arthritis. Although her thyroid was normal before her surgery - I asked the vet to check it a month ago (due to hair loss)and it was dangerously low. She began thyroid medication immediately and although her thyroid is now normal, last weekend she lost her sight to SARDS. Now I'm concerned that are other associsted problems that have not been discovered: Cushings disease, kidney problems, etc. I have spoken with 3 vets and an eye specialist - none have offered any advise as to other testing, supplements, diet or monitoring. Just, "there is no known cause or treatment." I would like to start her on Q10 and Phosphatydl Serine - but do not know (nor do the vets) the appropriate dosage for a 48 lb. dog. Has anyone else had success with supplements or follow-up tests?

Phoenix wrote:

My dog Corky, who I adopted at the Humane Society of FL over 7 years ago,and who has stole my heart has recently this year become a victim of SARDS. I never knew this even existed until my best friend could not even chase his tennis ball anymore. He also became a diabetic at the same time and I have to give him two insulin shots a day. Quite a change for both of us and we need your help and advice. It would be greatly appreciated. I am glad you have this web site for me to even write this. I am wanting to know what SARDS is all about and are they working on a cure and do they know what causes this?

Pepe and Dave wrote:

Tuffie sounded a lovely girl. Blind dogs do have a lot to teach us.Love from Dave and Pepe wrote:

my 11 yr old minature schnauzer went totally blind while we were out of town, The house sitter did not notice. I was heart broken. She was dx with SARDS. We had a hard time with it as did Tuffie for about 4 months. She was terribly depressed.over weight, incontinent and very very lost. With time and the use of scented oils to mark the good places (her bed and the path to walk) and different scents to mark the bad places (under tables and chairs and the other dog's beds), bells on our shoes and bells on the other dogs collars, she pulled oyut of her depression and learned her way around again. She lived a full life and was once again a a happy and contented dog. Unfortunately she had to be put to sleep after a sudden and unsuccesfull treatment attempt for congestive heart failure. I wouldn't ask for this to happen to another dog, but I certainly wouldn't refuse to take on another blind dog. It was manageable and a great learning experience for me and my family. The other dogs were great, they took Tuffie under their wing. The hardest part for us was watching Tuffie relinquish her role as the alpha female in the house.

Pepe and Dave

Judy and Sonya, Betty and Gidget,
I will email you both also, first-

Betty - SARDS, this usually means permanent loss of sight, anything from a day to a few months. There are 2 possible things that can help
1/ A dietary supplement called Phosphatydl Serine (PS), a natural substance in the body, originally tested on dogs, then released by the FDA for use in humans with cognitive loss (Altzheimers) with the side effect of lowering cortisol production.
2/ CoEnzyme Q10 put out by Nature's Valley, this is more for appetite. Bonny further down the page mentions this (her dog is called Gidget too).

Judy - dogs like humans take to blindness in different ways, some appear to not cope, some you would never realise there was a problem. Obviously, even a well adapted dog has to be protected from dangers like drops, and the opposite end of the scale is if a dog is protected too much (like carrying them every where), is not going to help. Travelling, I would say the 2 most important things are -
1/ to learn the command STOP, and not to move at all
2/ to come when called
I'm sure life for Sonya will return to being a great adventure shared with you, but maybe when you are changing the tire, she will have to wait in the trailer (hopefully air conditioned).
If you visit you can read a lot of messages, bound to be a lot of help there

Dave & Pepe

judy and sonya wrote:

I also did not provide my e-mail address. it's

betty and gidget wrote:

Since I didn't leave an Email address when I wrote here it is, any comments on traveling would be appreciated.

betty and gidget wrote:

Gidget is a 7 yr. Bichon, and a real sweetheart. She lost her sight last week, we took her to the vet and had mega tests run, diagnosis "SARDS".We are still in a state of shock. It is amazing with our help how quickly she has adjusted. We are travelers and are wondering are she is going to adjust to trailer life in our 5th wheel and changing locations frequently. She doesn't have any other problems right now except being overweight, we are trying to cut her back on snacks.

Judy and Sonya wrote:

My dog Sonya has lost most of her eyesight within the last week and has been diagnosed with SARDs. Has anyone heard of a dog keeping any vision with SARDs? A blood test showed slightly elevated kidney and liver enzymes. Our vet told us not to worry but to get her re-tested in 4 to 8 weeks. Can anything be done preventively to strengthen her immune system? Are there any holistic remedies, treatments, diets, vitamins, etc. that may help? We have been feeding her home cooked chicken and rice with Wellness dry food. Is this okay for a dog with SARDs? Thanks for any response.

Stewart wrote:

LZ, now 12 went blind suddenly one year ago. She is a black dog, looks like an australian shepard, was a great frisbie dog. Three years ago she became lethargic, got worse, was hospitalized, received transfusions and was diagnosed with Addisons Disease. As I understand it, Addisons is the opposite of Cushings, a breakdown of the adrenal system. It is interesting that I have only seen Cushings related to SARDS. Has anyone else had Addisons as a precursor to the SARDS? During the past 3 years she has been on florinef, prednisalone and phenolpropolomine (guess at spelling), the latter to treat urinary leakage. She also requires sodium by salting her food. We had the retinal test to confirm SARDS. Despite the rapid onset, she never seemed depressed. Happily, during the past 3 months her blood work has allowed for the elimination of the prednisone, her leakage has all but stopped, and her energy level is high. Our experience is that padding (foam pipe wrap) on sharp corners is a big help, being her seeing eye person has given her confidence on the leash. Ball and frisbie are history, but she loves to play tug with a semi inflated football. Beepers and bells don't seem to work for her. It appears there is no possible cure or surgery, if anyone knows of something let us know. In the meantime, if your dog is recently afflicted, hang in there. You may contact me at

marlene and callie wrote:

hi everyone. my 9 yr old female shitzu was recently diagnosed with cushings..after a few months of lethargy and weight gain. yesterday SARDS was confirmed and we are both in the adjustment stage. so far callie has been on the anipryl for just 30 days and so far has not shown much improvement. she does not have urninary incontinence nor hair loss but certainly is lethargic and chubby. i am starting tomorrow to add "the missing link plus" supplement to her diet and hope for some helpful results...i am uncertain as to what other conditions may develop in time but i can say that she is adapting to the loss of her sight like a trooper. any info, tips, nutritional advice would be welcome. my e mail is thanks for your support.

Julie to Goldie's Mom wrote:

Our Heidi had the thirst, hunger and lethargy symptoms, but we didn't realize they were symptoms of something terrible until she suddenly went blind and was diagnosed with SARDS. The eye vet recommended a test for Cushing's. That test came back negative, but did show some elevated enzyme levels. She subsequently suffered from several other illnesses including pancreatitis, and became terribly confused, like her mind just went. When it didn't improve, we eventually put her on Anipryl, which is often used for Cushings as well as canine cognitive disorder and while it helped tremendously, we still lost her only three months after the blindness set in. My advice to you is this: go ahead and get on the medication - I don't think it would hurt Goldie and it might give her a longer life or at least one with more quality.

Pam & The Three Amigos wrote:

My poodle Daisy has Cushings and is also blind but in her particular case they are unrelated. SARDs and Cushings have very similar symptoms. However, if Goldie is definitely diagnosed with Cushings too I would recommend you treat the Cushings. Daisy has been on Lysodren therapy for almost 2 years and is just showing the normal signs of an older dog (she's 13-14 years). It certainly has made a difference to her quality of life. There is a very good mailing list for owners of Cushings Dogs and also lots of info to be had on the Net so if you get a positive result e-mail me on and I'll point you in the right direction.

Kerry & Sonny to Goldie's Mom wrote:

Those symptoms - panting, sluggishness, increased appetite - are symptoms of SARDS and of Cushings too. Cushings also includes increased drinking and urination. There are tests for Cushings, but the only way to diagnose SARDS is through a veterinary ophthalmologist. There is no known cause for SARDS, as far as I know, although there are some ideas floating around and there is ongoing research. I don't know if there is any connection between the two, but Cushings doesn't include blindness usually, unless it's coupled with Diabetes or some other problem (which it frequently is). I hope this helps a little. The blood tests for Cushings are not too difficult - our Sonny is scheduled for the Cushings Low Dex test tomorrow. He doesn't have SARDS but does have uncontrolled Diabetes. Insulin resistance can be caused by Cushings, so we'd like to rule that out (or in) if possible. Symptoms for some of these conditions overlap, and can make a diagnosis difficult sometimes.

Ashley Griffey wrote:

my email is if you'd like to address directly to me. First of all, I've never heard of Cushings but I can speak to SARDS. My Lhasa was diagnosed with SARDS in the fall of 1997, she was 8. If you don't know Lhasa's, they're pretty temperamental anyway, but SARDS just made it worse. I think she lost her vision fairly gradually, considering how some Sards victims do. I think she lost it over a period of 2-4 months. The first vet we took her to believed that she could still see, but I knew better. I tried a different vet who admitted that she wasn't sure what the problem was, and that my dog was most likely having trouble seeing. She recommended taking her to a doggie eye specialist at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge (there's also one in Oklahoma City, and maybe in you're area, check with your vet for a list or I could check with mine if you don't mind telling me the region of the country you're in). I took Scruples to the specialist and they diagnosed her with SARDS. Symptoms were as you described, panting, sluggishness, increased appetite. Cushings was never brought up so I can't speak for that. If your dog has Sards, I can say that it WILL get better. His/her sight won't come back, of course, but the attitude will. Scruples was even more emotional, even for a Lhasa, for several months. She sometimes kept us awake, bit me and my wife several times, and our other dog, in fits of frustration, whizzed on the carpet dozens of times, and generally acted out. But after a few months, we all adjusted and she's lived a fairly normal life for the last 4 years. She's still with us, and evil as ever, but she's also more loving and dependent than she ever was before (most Lhasas are very independent). And her sense of touch and hearing have greatly increased. She's also learned were every piece of furniture in the house is, and navigates our backyard (with lots of landscaping and deck-age) like a pro. She also learns new environments very quickly when we travel. So far, she's been to Orlando, Dallas, Tulsa, and Key West on vacation with us. If your dog has Sards, please don't consider putting him/her to sleep. They can lead normal lives with just a few minor changes. Barry and Ashley Griffey ps. Check out and search by dog name for "Scruples" for some entertaining stories about my Lhasa. They're both true.

Goldie's Mom wrote:

My dog Goldie (yellow lab) was diagnosed with SARDS about 3 weeks ago. Leading up to her sudden loss of vision she exhibited many symptoms of Cushings Disease: increased appetite and thirst, lethargy, heavy panting at night and urinary tract infections. She is only 7 1/2 - which seems so young relative to all the other cases I've heard and read about. Anyway, as a result of the SARDS diagnosis, my vet tested her for Cushings disease. The first cushings test results 'suggests' that she has Cushings. My question to anyone who has been in this situation is: should I persue treatment for Cushings? Is there any chance of remission? Will it really improve her quality of life? Goldie seems to be doing better right now and the last thing I want to do is cause her anymore pain and trauma. Any personal advice would be welcome!

Bonnie & Gidget wrote:

Hi Heather! I wish I could answer your question, but I don't know if anyone knows the answer to how a dog can go blind overnight. I understand there is research being done on SARDS now; hopefully they'll come up with a better understanding of this condition soon. SARDS and Cushing's do have many similar symptoms but it is not known if there is any true relationship between them. However, many SARDS dogs, but not all, do have Cushing's. There is a separate Cushing's test, but my vet was able to rule out Cushing's for Gidget by something in the regular blood test. I think if there had been any doubt, he would have gone ahead and done the Cushing's test next. I think you should ask your vet if he/she thinks it should be checked. With Gidget, she only had the blindness, sudden voracious appetite and thinning of hair. She did not have the increased thirst/urination, pot belly, etc. typical of Cushing's. Another thing you may want to keep an eye on through blood tests is the possibility of kidney disease. Some of the SARDS dogs on our list have developed kidney problems, and it's best handled at the early stages. You can keep an eye on it through her blood tests (BUN, phospherous, and creatnine levels). You don't mention how old Jesse is, but it is a good idea to watch those levels anyway as your dog gets older. One last thing, if you're having trouble with the tremendous appetite, I was able to curb Gidget's through supplementation of CoEnzyme Q10 with Vitamin E. I don't know if this worked for anyone else. I do know that not all Q10 has the same ingredients, and one brand worked for Gidge while the next did not. Good luck with Jesse. It is a hard road, but except for the blindness, the other symptoms do settle down after time, usually 6 months to a year at most (6 months for Gidget). She also went through a period of depression while adjusting, but some dogs adjust faster than others. It just takes time, patience, and understanding. And with Gidge, a home-cooked bone once in a while helped, too!

Heather wrote:

Hi! My dog Jesse was just diagnosed with SARDS. My husband and I are having a hard time understanding how your dog can just go blind overnight. It is a very hard thing to grasp. I hear everyone saying that SARDS and Cushen's are very similar. She had some blood tests done, is there a seperate blood test done just for Cushens? And should I have her tested for Cushen's just to rule that out?

Bonnie & Gidget wrote:

Hi Lydia, I'm surely not an expert on SARDS, but I don't know if anyone is at this time. Just not enough is known as yet. I have, however, survived through a year of trying to understand this condition and make the best of it... I don't understand from your post what your dog is dying from, so it is hard for me to know what to tell you. If she is not eating or drinking anything, it is absolutely imperative that you get her to a vet as soon as possible. Something I did once with a furbaby who wouldn't eat or drink (he had been at the vet and the dr. didn't think he'd make it - even with two blood transfusions) was to get raw meat juice and put it in the side of the his mouth with a syringe or eyedropper. That at least gets her started on some nurishment. Chicken or beef broth is also good. Write to me here and I'll continue to check for your posts. Or write to me at and we'll see if we can come up with something else to help.

Dave and Pepe wrote:

While we are not experts on SARDS, we know a lady who is. I hope she does eat with your help. Love, Dave & Pepe

Lydia wrote:

I have a dog who has SARDS. She is dying. I don't know if there is anything I can do to feed her, because she can't drink or eat by herself.

Dave wrote:

In Pepe's polls - Click for the polls
There is this question -
Is there a link between SARD's and Cushing's Disease
and this was the result -
My dog just has SARD's 9 people
My dog has SARD's and Cushing's Disease 7 people
My dog has SARDS and other autoimmune disease 1 person
My dog has SARDS and Hypothyroidism 4 people
my dog has SARD'S and high triglycerides 2 people
I hope that helps.
Love from Pepe

Debbie wrote:

My Schnauzer was recently diagnosed (thru a bloodtest) with Cushing Disease. She also went blind (though she doesn't seem to be totally blind yet). My vet diagnosed the blindness as SARDS. I have done alot of reading lately on both Cushing and SARDS and the symptoms are very similar. Can Cushing cause SARDS? Or SARDS cause Cushing Disease? Is there any relationship between these two problems? I have also read that Prednisone is sometimes give to dogs with SARDS -- my dog is getting ready to start on Lysodren for the Cushings and Prednisone is the antidote that I am to give to her if the Lysodren makes her too sick. Does anyone have any thoughts on any of this? Thanks for any help.

Bonnie & Gidget wrote:

Hi Sue, I don't think you necessarily need another ophthamologist. From what I understand most ophthamologists and vets know very little about SARDS because there just IS not much known. Cause and any possible treatments still remain unknown, although many feel SARDS is probably an immune-related disorder. In talking with other SARDS owners through the blinddog list, however,we've discovered that a number of our dogs tend to develope other problems - at or around the same time as acquiring SARDS. Whether there's a true connection or whether it's just coincidence is not known, and this does not mean that your dog will develope any of these problems. But it is better to be aware of and watchful for any of these conditions based on the experiences of others who have gone through it and get necessary treatment as early as possible. Again, I would say please don't blame your eye vet, just be watchful and aware. You may want to have a blood test done with your regular vet to check everything out (which is a good idea anyway if your dog is older). Cushings is another immune-related disorder which has many symptoms in common with SARDS. Also SARDS dogs often have very high triglyceride and cholesterol levels, apparently due to the body's metabolism not working correctly. I hope this helps...

sue wrote:

Hi--my dog just got sards in August, 2000.The vet did not mention all these other connditions I an reading on this web site--such as immune problems, kidney problems, etc. Should I be in touch with a different ophthamologist?

Bonnie & Gidget wrote:

Hi Nancy & Cosmo, First, hi also to AnnaMarie & Pippy! Hope you're feeling a lot better Pippy. You're such a little doll! Nancy & Cosmo - Gidget was diagnosed with SARDS last Sept(99). We were lucky in the beginning as she didn't have all the common symptoms, such as excessive thirst, panting, lethargy, stuffy nose. She did have the extreme appetite, thinning hair and of course, the blindness. We tried all sorts of herbal remedies, most things didn't work. One thing that did work on the appetite for us was CoEnzyme Q10 put out by Nature's Valley. Another thing we have her on is Raw Adrenal & Vitamin B complex. Her thining hair is coming back in pretty good now. After about 4 months Gidget started on the excessive thirst. She had a blood test which revealed climbing kidney levels - kidney problems starting. So now she is also on a specialized low protein, low phospherous, & low potassium diet. Kidney, liver or pancreas problems also seem to be possible potential hits with this disease. I agree with AnnaMarie that a weakened immune system is related to SARDS. Many SARDS dog owners have their dogs on Colostrum, hoping to strengthen the immune system. Hope I haven't hit you with too many things. Cosmo may be lucky and get none of these symptoms, or he may have just a few. It seems it should be enough just to deal with the blindness but there are other things we have to watch for which are probably more important in the long run. Sorry this is so long. I also want to say that there is light at the end of the tunnel. For us, it seemed to take forever for Gidget to adjust and seem happy again, but around 6 months things seemed to settle down and she is now much like the sweet baby I've always known.

Nancy & Cosmo wrote:

I am new to this. Cosmo was diagnosed yesterday. He is a 4 year old pug. His eyesight deterioriated over 2 weeks and I think, at this point, his sight is very limited. I don't know what to expect; either does he. I will be searching for comments from SARDS victims to help us through this.

AnnaMarie and PIPPY wrote:

Okay, we are here also!! Pippy was diagnosed with SARDS more than 2 years ago now. We have just seen the vet eye doc for a checkup. Pippy is doing fine. However, a discussion came up about a dog's lousy immune system and SARDS!! This eye vet as well as Pippy's internal medicine/oncologist specialist believes that a weakened immune system is related to SARDS. Pippy already suffers from another SARDS and the immune system.... immune disease (AIHA) but is in remission from that illness. Pippy was diagnosed with the AIHA six months after she went blind from SARDS. Pippy also gets occasional pancreatitis, skin thingy's that the docs THINK MAY be immune related....Just some thoughts on SARDS....

Bonnie & Gidget wrote:

Okay, where are all you SARDS people/pups? Gidget and I are here, ready to take on the questions, comments, etc. Love to hear from you all. We're all in this together. Also, be sure to keep an eye on your SARDS dogs' kidneys. I think we've had three losses from kidney problems on the Blinddogs list in the last 3 months. Gidget's last blood work showed kidney problems starting and we are trying to watch her diet - medium to low protein, low phospherous, low potassium, medium to high carbos. She seems to be doing better in the drinking water routine


SARD - Sudden Acquired Retinal Degeneration.

The cause of this disease has not been determined. Typical signs the owner will observe are a sudden vision loss (days to 1-2 weeks) and wide pupils which do not respond to light. All breeds, including mix-breeds, can be affected.
Usually the dogs are of middle age. This disease has been reported all over the world.
In most cases the dogs are healthy, although some have a history of drinking and
eating more, urinating more frequently, and gaining weight.

Why does my dog lose its vision?

The neurologic layer of the eye, called the retina, is located in the back portion of the eye. The retina is responsible for triggering an electrical impulse. This impulse is transmitted from the eye to the portion of the brain responsible for vision through the optic nerve. The impulse is started when a photon (package of light energy) strikes the retina. Within the retina, photoreceptors capture the photon and convert the light energy to electrical energy. With retinal degeneration, the photoreceptors die. A dead photoreceptor cannot transmit an electrical impulse.

Can SARD be treated?

Unfortunately, no. Because the cause of this condition has not been determined, it is currently a disease we cannot prevent nor treat. There is not a medical or surgical therapy, which will restore the health of a degenerated photoreceptor.

How do I confirm the diagnosis?

Dogs with SARD usually have a very normal eye exam. A test called an electroretinogram (ERG) will confirm the diagnosis of SARD. This test requires the dog to sit in the dark for 20 minutes. Topical anaesthesia is placed in their eyes. A contact lens, attached to a wire running to a computer, is placed on the eye. Once the lens is in place, a bright light is flashed into the eye. A healthy retina will give a typical electrical reading (up and down signal) on the computer screen indicating normal function. A dog with SARD will have a flatline. Many dogs will require moderate sedation to perform this test as the head and/or eyes cannot be moving.

Is this condition painful?

No. Your dog may initially seem anxious and confused, however, as he will not understand what is happening. Your dog will require lots of love and encouragement to help him learn to live with his blindness.

Contact your vet for a referral to a board-certified ophthalmologist for the diagnosis and testing for vision loss.

If the cause of the sudden blindness is not physical - the eye exam is normal - then it should be SARD or a brain problem. Given the choices, the SARD diagnosis isn't so hard to adjust to. The dog should lead a healthy normal life with limitations because he cannot see, but will be healthy.

Will my dog lead a good life?

Most definitely! I am often asked if the dog needs to be euthanized. The answer is NO!!!! You and your dog will need to adjust to living with a visual disability, but your dog will do amazingly well if you allow him time to adapt.

Usually within 4-8 weeks, the dog is doing much better. Your dog does not need to drive a car or earn a living. He can still be a great companion. Also remember, your dog has a far superior sense of smell and hearing than you do.
You will need to utilise noisy toys (bells, whistles).

I have had patients, once they gain the confidence to trust their owner to "see" for them, fetch balls with bells in open fields and jump into vehicles unassisted. You must be cautious around young children and other animals as they can startle your dog and put him in an uncomfortable situation. Obviously, caution must be used around streets as well.
Your dog should never be left unattended in the yard unless it is completely fenced.
Many owners will develop a new language of communicating with their dog. Examples include "STEP" for step down, "UP" for step up, "JUMP" for jump into car, etc. Be creative. I have also had owners that make an ankle bracelet with a bell to help guide your dog on walks.
Don't rearrange all of the furniture in your house in one day, and never change the location of the water and food bowls abruptly without showing your friend where you moved them to. Yes, your dog will still bump into things, but they rarely hurt themselves, and he will start to depend more on his whiskers than he did before. Do not trim the facial whiskers of a blind animal for this very reason.

compiled and written by Susan Keil, DVM, MS, American College of Veterinary Ophthalmology,  Mission MedVet (,  Mission, KS reprinted with permission June 2003