Living with a Cairn Terrier with Glaucoma or blindness February 26, 2020 12:35

Living with a Cairn Terrier with Glaucoma - Cairn Terrier Collectibles

Our friend Kathy Poole has experience of Glaucoma and blindness in dogs. Please note that neither we nor Kathy are talking here as veterinary professionals. Always consult your vet if you suspect illness in your dog. Here is Kathy's story...

Our first Cairn Terrier Boner was 4 when we noticed he wasn’t seeing out of his left eye.  He was trained to respond to certain hand motions and if we were on his left, he didn’t respond but from the right side he did.  A vet consultation determined he was developing a cataract, but it was deemed too early to do anything.  We just made sure we always approached him full frontal.

After about a year, he completely lost sight in that eye and developed glaucoma. Our option was to remove the eye and either sew it closed or insert a plastic ball. We chose to insert the ball.  We were warned the surgery was very extensive and he would experience several days of pain.  We were also warned this surgery had been known to change a dog’s personality because of that pain.  We decided to go ahead, as the alternative was to put him down.  He was in too much pain to ignore.


If you are interested in the health and wellness of your Cairn Terrier, here are some more articles that you may find useful:

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Do Cairn Terriers have health problems?

Is sea water harmful to my Cairn Terrier?

Why do Cairn Terriers eat poo and puke?

Is corn on the cob dangerous for my Cairn Terrier?


The surgery was successful, and because we had we had previously had a dog die while being treated at a veterinary hospital, I was adamant he would come home with me that day.  He came home with a morphine patch on his shaved side, and I slept on the floor with him for 10 days.  

I devoted 24 hours daily to him during that time and at the end of the 10 days the morphine patch was removed and he was released from doctor care.  A side effect of the surgery, for which no explanation could be given, was that he lost sight in his right eye.  Now we had a totally blind dog.  However, the good news was that his personality was not at all affected.  He was the same guy he always had been, alternating between loving, playful, goofy.

We lived in a home with stairs, so I got would tap each step for him to either go up or down.  We did not move any furniture, ever.  We always spoke to him when we moved.  To help him stay close as we moved around, mostly outside, I glued a cork onto the end of a 4’ dowel and would tap him if he should stop or touch his side if he should turn.  This worked very well for both him and us.

At age 17 he developed glaucoma in his right eye and was in a great deal of pain.  At that time we decided he was ready for the Rainbow Bridge, as we did not feel he could withstand another operation.  That was almost 13 years ago and I miss him every day.  And I still have that dowel with the cork in case one of our current Cairn Terriers need it. Meet Boner in his prime...

Boner - Cairn Terrier Collectibles

P.S. Don't forget to take care of your dog's paws in this wet and cold weather with our Paw Wax:

Paw wax - Cairn Terrier Collectibles