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teresa
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Location: Peniche - Portugal

PostPosted: Wed Apr 07, 2010 11:16 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Hi, everybody, I want to ask you all a question regarding serras in general to see what you find of this. I have been finding that Sara may have some problem with her eyesight, but I'm not sure if I'm over reacting.
Lately I've noticed that Sara doesn't jump up or down the bed if the light is off. She knows the commands perfectly, and she isn't trying to be disobedient (she loves going up to bed, she wouldn't disobey that). Anyway, she does both things promptly if I turn on the light. She used to do it in the dark, now she doesn't. She does have that long hair over her eyes, but she always had that... I'm going to talk to the vet about it, but do you have any ideas?
Otherwise, I do notice a couple of things that have always existed and I have been putting up to eyesight not being a dog's main sense. At obedience classes, if I put her in a stay and go hide behind an obstacle (straight line, I'm always in sight), if the obstacle is far, like 100 feet, when I call her she will search for me, not come straight for me. Like she knows the direction I went but didn't see where I hid. I always found that a bit strange. Also, in fetch, she uses her nose a lot more than her eyes to find the toy, about half the time she doesn't really know where it landed and searches by smell. I also notice the noise the object makes when landing helps her find it. I do know that dogs don't see some colours and the object might blend with the background, becoming kind of invisible to her, but still...
Also the other day I went for a big organized walk, lots of people, and a couple of times she lost me in the crowd. She would pass near me searching but she wouldn't see me. I had to call her for her to see where I was. Again, I think this is kind of normal, but I'm not sure... Once she went back for quite a distance looking for me, when I called her she ran in my direction, but not at me... I was waving and calling her and I could see her adjusting the direction she was running according to the sound of my voice, not to the movements of my body.
I have never cut the hair over her eyes. Do you notice a difference in eyesight when you do that? I have read that one is not suposed to cut the hair and that it protects the eyes...
When going to the vet, have you any idea what kind of tests should be done? My other dog Ana went blind about a year ago, and although all her life I felt she didn't see properly, the vet never found anything wrong with her eyes. But he only looked at them, maybe that's not enough...
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Pauline Martin
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Joined: 03 Feb 2007
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 07, 2010 3:18 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I am not sure that I can help you here except to say that serras (and other dogs) see better without their hair over their eyes. Shocked I know this is particularly so with Nespa who has a lot of hair. She is much better with her hair cut, she responds much more quickly. It's only for showing that the hair should be left and even then I would tie it up so that their eyes are clear. Shocked I love to see their eyes. Laughing You are right about the sense of smell being dominant except of course in sight hounds such as the Afghan. There are eye tests that can be done such as for PRA- Progressive Retinal Atrophy, night blindness. This is probably the most serious of eye problems and for which there is no cure. It is common in breeds such as miniature and toy poodles and no one should buy a puppy without the assurance of the parents' eye test results. I believe it can also be checked in the dog's DNA. The briard was once used in breeding serra's - nearly a hundred years ago - and well before the briard developed PRA especially in UK breed lines. This has virtually been erradicated now thanks to careful screening by conscientious breeders. As far as I know there are no congential diseases that affect the serra's eye sight. Your vet is the best person to advise you and set your mind at rest. Very Happy Good luck Laughing

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teresa
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Joined: 12 Jul 2008
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Location: Peniche - Portugal

PostPosted: Wed Apr 07, 2010 5:38 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Thanks, Pauline. My vet has a small practice so I just called the Vet Hospital nearby, the vet sugested cutting the hair in front of her eyes and seeing if it brings any changes. If not, I'll go there for an examination, and they do have an oftalmologic vet that goes there by appointement. So we'll see how it goes. Must say I will be sorry to cut her fringe though, I love the way she looks with it...
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Louise P
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 07, 2010 6:16 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Hi, I cut Charlie Bs fringe as I found that he was actually tripping over going up and down steps etc (although this may just be a little clumsiness!). He generally seems more alert when he doesn't have hair in his eyes, and training is easier as I can make sure I've got eye contact with him. Hope the trim does the trick Smile
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teresa
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 12, 2010 10:09 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Well, I cut Sara's hair, and it really doesn't seem to make a difference, although it's just been a few days. She is still hesitant to jump up or down the bed if the lights are out, but she will do it, carefully, if I insist. About the other things I mentioned, the vet seemed to think it was all normal dog stuff, not necessarily indicating a vision problem.

Anyway, this weekend I met a vet, socially, and he told me two things about this subject that made sense to me:

First, he's had Serras, and he said under no circumstances is the hair over the eyes cut. It protects their eyes from the light, sunburn, and debris, and it doesn't affect vision (and that's actually what I've always read about the breed). He said if there's really something wrong with her vision, then it's eye related, not because of the hair.

Second, he said that, to him, it looked more behavioural than anything else, the most logical explanation being she might have jumped up or down the bed a bit clumsily and hurted or scared herself, hence the reluctance in doing so again. This actually makes a lot of sense considering Sara's temperament, as she is easily scared of something new or even something she was comfortable with before, if it doesn't go as planned, and it will take her some time to rebuild self confidence in that specific area.

She's cautious about things. This weekend she had the chance to swim in 3 previously unknown places, and she loves swimming. But each time, I threw the stick and she didn't imediatly throw herself into the water. She waded in, came out, waded in again at a slightly different spot, testing the ground under water, the current, etc. When she was happy she had understood that particular place, she went swimming for the stick. After that, she was happy to throw herself recklessly into the water after the stick. But that's how she is, cautious, so it is very possible she had a bad experience with the whole bed thing and is restarting anew.

Anyway, I think I will just turn on the light when I ask her up or down the bed, for the time being, and see what happens (and that fringe is growing back in, probably, I just love the way she looks in it...).
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ani correia
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Joined: 25 Nov 2008
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Location: serifos,kyklades,greece

PostPosted: Tue Apr 13, 2010 7:17 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Ola Teresa, first i wanted to tell you how much I envy your Inglish Laughing
Probably you are rigth about sara's eyes,it's funny how many times we also wondered about fivos eyes,sometimes he's clumbsy and specially while after the ball,he may just hit a wall or so. Embarassed but I guess he sees well.How's Ana?I think Lisa will also turn blind sometime,the vet told me that she will enventually,it made think of you.
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Peter & Gina willis
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2010 6:08 am Reply with quoteBack to top

I think it would be very wise to consult a Specialist Eye Vet just for peace of mind. Although I must say the Serra has very funny ways. Most dogs I've owned go through a fright stage at 7 months, so it seems a bit late for Sara. I don't think cutting the fringe makes any difference. My OES always have their hair tied up as they would bump into most things.

It's a pity you don't live in England as the Vetinary practice where I take our dogs is a Specialist and she would know at a glance what is wrong. I have great faith in her.
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teresa
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2010 9:19 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I will have her checked soon, definitely.
This is not a fright stage, just part of her personality. She is wary of new things and needs a little time to adjust to things she's not used to. She also looses confidence in stuff she already knew and did well, if by some unexpected reason she is startled by it. With the agility jumps, for instances, if when jumping she touches the obstacle and it falls (not hurting her in any way, just making some noise), it will take some work to have her jump that obstacle again. She's just sensitive, I guess.
Good news is, during her short life she has improved a lot and is more and more self confident. She's almost 2 years now and I can't remember the last time she really freaked out on something. She's very at ease with people and other animals, goes everywhere with me and has great behaviour. When she is suspicious of something, it isn't difficult to get her to accept it. But she will never be impetuous and reckless. It seems she needs to understand something well before accepting it fully. I like to think things through too, so that's all right.
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