Yesterday was a long tiring day…at least for Devon. Devon is our 6 month old fairly healthy Beagle. He is bi-colored (red/white).
Since the day we brought Devon home I thought there was something wrong with his eyes. They just didn’t look right and I have owned Beagles all my life…so I know what Beagle eyes look like when they are normal. I even said as much with each visit to the veterinarian. It was almost as if he had a 3rd eyelid that was covering his eye. As Devon has gotten older his eyes started looking worse. In fact he started having “gunk” in his eyes in the mornings and then even during the day. So I took him to the Vet to have his eyes checked and also schedule his appointment with Dr. Whackemoff for his neuter surgery.
While he was in recovery his doctor called me to tell me how he did in surgery and when I could pick him up. He told me he was very concerned about Devon’s eyes. He said a pup this young should not have dry eyes and that his Schimer’s Test was pretty conclusive, basically he was just not producing tears they way he should. So I picked Devon up and the Doctor said he wanted to see him again in a couple of weeks after we treated him with Cyclosporin Drops to see if we could “jump start” his tear production.
After a few days we saw a marked improvement, but I could still tell there was something not right with his eyes. I could STILL see this 3rd eyelid which I thought was abnormal. I finally decided to get a second opinion (not that I was not satisfied with our regular vet)…but I thought a specialist would make me feel better and a second opinion never hurts.
So enough background, and this brings us to yesterday.
Devon and I had a 2:30pm appointment in Little Rock with the Veterinarian Ophthalmologist. Devon whined the entire time to Little Rock (he usually rides pretty well), and we arrived at the Vet Clinic about 2:15pm (I’m always early) and we checked in at the desk. They told us they would call us when it was time and to just have a seat.
I gotta tell ya…Once we were in the office, you couldn’t have asked for a more well behaved BEAGLE than Devon (and at only 6 months of age). He sat next to me and didn’t bark, jump around or squirm all over the place…he simply sat and looked like the handsome Beagle he is.
I counted them…4 other Vet customers came over to him and talked about how pretty he was…and 6 of the office workers came over during the 2 HOURS we sat there waiting on our doctor. And during all this attention, Devon’s behavior was stellar! Finally about 4:15pm the Doctor came out and got us to take us back to an exam room. The first thing he said on the way back was…wow, that’s a good looking Beagle (yeah, I know he probably says that to all the dogs)..but he sounded sincere.
We all go into the room and he begins his exam. The first test he did was to put these STRIPS into Devon’s eyes for a MINUTE each to test his tear production (Schimer’s Test). First he did the left eye and for an entire minute…Devon never flinched! Then he did the right eye…again, Devon never moved. I was amazed and proud! The next thing he did was to introduce some (unknown) drops, probably to deaden the eye to do the PUFF test (glaucoma I assume) and still no squirming or movement from Devon (he did much better than I do at the eye doctor). Finally the doctor puts this massive headgear on with a magnifying glass and bright light. He turns out the light in the room and spends the next 3-5 minutes looking into the BACK of Devon’s eyes. Devon just sat there again. With all the tests done, the Doctor begins to explain what is going on…
First he told me that Devon’s Schimer’s Test had improved to 20 and 20 (previously it was 2 and 12) and that anything above 15 was normal. But he did say it was troubling for a dog his age (puppy) to have this problem. He also said that indeed some people have been able to take their dogs off the medication and the dog will do fine…and then some even used the medication only as necessary or during times when their dog became symptomatic. Others though would have to use drops for their rest of their canine life. He suggested we just work our way through a testing phase to see what happens, but for the immediate treatment we would continue to use the Cyclosporin drops to treat Devon for the next couple of months…along with some over the counter artificial tear ointment at night. The Cyclosporin is NOT cheap…at between $30-50 per 5cc it’s pretty expensive. The Vet said that some people only give them drops ONCE a day…we’ll see how expensive it gets, but for now, we can afford whatever he needs.
I did ask about the 3rd eyelid thing…and here is what he told me. He said because of Devon’s pigment, his 3rd eyelid is more prominent than it would be on a tri-color or dark colored dog and that although you can see it more easily…it was normal (which made me feel better). He was done with our exam and said he would send me a report by email (pretty cool) and to go back out front and his assistant would give me further instructions and I could take care of the office visit fee.
Devon and I make our way out to the front and sat back down on the same “couch” that we waited on for so long…The assistant came out and explained I could get the eye drops through their compounding pharmacy if I wanted and they would ship to my home…so I gave her the necessary information. As we were leaving, the assistant said “that is a beautiful Beagle”. OK, I know that many times those comments are patronizing and good customer service, but then she said, “he looks like he could be a show Beagle”. That made me feel good.
When we got into the car for our trip home…Devon lasted all of 1 minute before he dropped into the seat and slept the entire trip home. He was tuckered out! And I was relieved.
I didn’t say that Devon was perfect…he’s only 6 months old. Today he nipped my skin when pulling on my shorts…danged dog!
The things we do for our pets. 🙂