Optic Nerve Hypoplasia is an underdevelopment of the optic nerve.
This is a dog disease that is usually inherited; yet many vets are unsure as to what mode of inheritance causes this defect.
This makes it extremely difficult to prevent dogs that could be susceptible to optic nerve dysplasia from breeding. For example, a dog with a known history of dog hip dysplasia should not be bred with other dogs because their puppies are likely to obtain the same disease their parent has.
When you do this, you slowly let hip dysplasia die out. Since the inheritance of optic nerve hypoplasia is unclear, breeders can not successfully kill out the disease through breeding. Though, it is a good rule of thumb to not breed a dog that currently has optic nerve hypoplasia.
Optic nerve hypoplasia is pretty rare among dogs. The dog can have this disease in one or both eyes. If it affects one eye, then the dog will be able to compensate with the other.
It can be hard for a dog owner to tell if their dog has this disease if only one eye is affected. Usually there are two different size pupils when one eye is not functioning correctly. The affected eye will have the larger pupil.
When either dogs eyes are affected, then there will be a sufficient loss of sight or they will be completely blind.
The optic nerve is extremely small or otherwise underdeveloped in dogs with this condition. The optic nerve severs as a vessel to transmit data it collects from the retina to the brain.
Nerve fibers are essential at making this process happen and dogs who suffer from this disease simply have less of those important nerve fibers. Dogs who have this disease typically have problems with their brain and central nervous system.
As the brain can not properly translate signals the optic nerve sends, it must somehow compensate. Dogs, as well as humans who have optic nerve hypoplasia, can have an acute sensation to surfaces, as well as sounds and smells.
There is not much you can do for your dog in terms of treatment. With increase functions to the other senses, they are capable of managing on their own despite no eyesight. The best dog first aid for a blind dog is to help him develop a routine.
Make things around him as consistent as possible so he prevents himself from bumping into things or hurting himself. When you take him out for walks, always have a certain path you go through so that he knows his surroundings by smell and touch. Having this setup greatly helps your dog with his disease.
Whenever you feel like changing this up, it is important that you do this as gradually as possible so he can smell out his surroundings. Dogs are capable of adapting quickly, but you might want to test the waters first.
The major breeds at risk are the Dachshund, German Shepherd , Irish Setter, Miniature Poodle, Toy Poodle, Standard Poodle, Miniature schnauzer, Norfolk terrier, Great Pyrenees, and Saint Bernard.