Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Blind Dogs Can See After New Treatment For A Sudden Onset Blinding Disease

Date:
May 31, 2007
Source:
Iowa State University
Summary:
If two dogs are any indication, veterinary researchers may have found a cure for a previously incurable disease that causes dogs to go blind suddenly. In the past six weeks, two dogs have been successfully treated for sudden acquired retinal degeneration syndrome by a veterinary ophthalmologist.

Dr. Sinisa Grozdanic with the optical coherence tomography scan that is needed to confirm the condition of a dog's retina before the dog can be considered for the experimental SARDS treatment. Iowa State is the only veterinary institution using this advanced diagnostic technology.
Credit: Bob Elbert

If two dogs are any indication, Iowa State University veterinary researchers may have found a cure for a previously incurable disease that causes dogs to go blind suddenly.

In the past six weeks, two dogs have been successfully treated for sudden acquired retinal degeneration syndrome (SARDS) by a research team led by ISU veterinary ophthalmologist Dr. Sinisa Grozdanic in the College of Veterinary Medicine.

The experimental treatment is the first to reverse blindness and restore sight to dogs diagnosed with SARDS. The treatment restored sight to the two dogs that were treated on April 12 and April 27.

"This is the first small sign of hope that actually something can be done," Grozdanic said.

The dogs were treated with intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg), a human blood product that contains antibodies from the plasma of thousands of blood donors. It is used to treat immune deficiencies, inflammatory diseases and autoimmune diseases.

"Although the dogs won't be catching any Frisbees, they can navigate and not bump into objects," Grozdanic said.

SARDS was first identified in the 1980s and blinds as many as 4,000 dogs each year in North America, he said. The dogs have a sudden loss of vision despite no structural changes to the eyes or damage to the retinas in the early stages of the disease. Their eyes appear completely normal, but their retinas show no electrical activity.

Grozdanic and his colleagues wanted a better understanding of the molecular mechanisms that cause SARDS. They worked with the University of Iowa's Department of Ophthalmology and Vision Sciences to conduct genetic testing of SARDS tissue, cross referencing the results with the U of I's datebase of genetic information from different human ocular diseases.

"We saw that the molecular profile of SARDS eyes is very similar to immune mediated retinopathy in humans, which is usually antibody induced. That was the key factor," Grozdanic said.

Immune-mediated retinopathy in humans was not treatable until about 10 years ago when IVIg was found to show results in some patients.

Although the treatment has worked in two SARDS dogs, not every dog is a good candidate, Grozdanic cautions. Dogs with severe cardiac or kidney disease cannot tolerate IVIg. And it won't work in a dog whose retina degeneration is advanced.

"Once a dog gets SARDS, the retina degenerates quickly, so it's important the dog is treated with IVIg very soon after diagnosis," he said. "Usually dogs that have SARDS for longer than two months have severe retinal changes. The sooner it's treated, the better chance it will work."

An optical coherence tomography scan is needed to confirm the condition of a dog's retina. Iowa State University's Veterinary Medicine Hospital is the only veterinary institution using this advanced diagnostic technology, which is more commonly found in large ophthalmology centers for humans.

Diagnostic tests cost about $700. If the dog is a good candidate for treatment, hospitalization and intensive care fees will be about $1,200. The IVIg cost will be between $35-40 per pound of the dog's body weight.

"At this point, the biggest unknown is how long the treatment will last. It could be anywhere from a few weeks to a few years," Grozdanic said.

Grozdanic recommends owners visit the nearest veterinary ophthalmologist as soon as a dog exhibits any loss in vision.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Iowa State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Iowa State University. "Blind Dogs Can See After New Treatment For A Sudden Onset Blinding Disease." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 May 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070531094241.htm>.
Iowa State University. (2007, May 31). Blind Dogs Can See After New Treatment For A Sudden Onset Blinding Disease. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070531094241.htm
Iowa State University. "Blind Dogs Can See After New Treatment For A Sudden Onset Blinding Disease." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070531094241.htm (accessed September 2, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

U.N. Says Ebola Travel Restrictions Will Cause Food Shortage

U.N. Says Ebola Travel Restrictions Will Cause Food Shortage

Newsy (Sep. 2, 2014) — The U.N. says the problem is two-fold — quarantine zones and travel restrictions are limiting the movement of both people and food. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sharks Off the Menu and on the Tourist Trail in Palau

Sharks Off the Menu and on the Tourist Trail in Palau

AFP (Sep. 2, 2014) — Tourists in Palau clamour to dive with sharks thanks to a pioneering conservation initiative -- as the island nation plans to completely ban commercial fishing in its vast ocean territory. 01:15 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) — A new study suggests 100 percent of adult humans (those over 18 years of age) have Demodex mites living in their faces. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Coffee Then Napping: The (New) Key To Alertness

Coffee Then Napping: The (New) Key To Alertness

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) — Researchers say having a cup of coffee then taking a nap is more effective than a nap or coffee alone. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins