Seeing in the dark

Frankie's eyes a couple of months ago.

Frankie's eyes a couple of months ago.

Frankie's eyes today; pink rimmed, dilated and yellowed.

Frankie's eyes today; pink rimmed, dilated and yellowed.

Can he see me, or can't he?

Can he see me, or can't he?

How do you ultrasound the belly of a double coated dog? By shaving it. Frankie may have a cold belly for several months while it grows back.

How do you ultrasound the belly of a double coated dog? By shaving it. Frankie may have a cold belly for several months while it grows back.

Frankie update:
On Friday night we drove out to the You Yangs for a weekend of dog racing. We stopped by Werribee Vet Hospital to collect some test results and medications for Frankie. The prognosis was only 50/50 that Frankie would ever see again.

Poor Frankie, with a shaved belly, shaved leg, eyes still enormously dilated and pink, with a new urge to "woo hoo hoo" constantly. He looked a sight and sounded miserable and lonely.

When we got to the You Yangs and let him out to go to the toilet, he was walking into so many trees that we were considering introducing a new command: "Look out!" We persisted with the eye drops we'd been given on Wednesday and started his medication.

On Saturday morning, we started to have glimmers of hope. His eyes were so much less red, and he seemed to be able to see a little. It was very hard to tell and we tried numerous little tests, constantly second guessing ourselves. If I waved my hand slowly back and forth, was he tracking it because of the swish of my sleeve against my jacket? If I mimed swatting at his face, did he flinch because I had created a breeze or touched a whisker? Did he move forward towards the offered food because he could see it, or because he could smell it? When I had to tap the metal bowl to get him to find his breakfast, I lost some hope.

On Sunday morning, we decided to go with the simplest test. We put Frankie on a long flexi lead and let him wander around among the trees, without warning or correcting him if he moved within face smacking distance of a tree. His first action was to walk straight up to a tree and line himself up for a wee - no face smacking, no hesitation, no problems. He then wandered from tree to tree, accurately and without pause. 

Frankie is far from back to normal. He still has very widely dilated pupils that don't react to bright light. There is still a degree of inflammation around the eyes. He can't seem to see small objects - he doesn't react to a flexi lead until we rattle it - but he has stopped crashing into large objects. This is a great stress reliever - each time his skull or jaw made a sickening thump, my stomach lurched slightly. Of course, he always bashed into the hardest available object - steel or concrete or solid wood - and in classic Siberian style, never whimpered once.

We will continue with his eye drops and other medications, and cross our fingers for continued improvement. Two weeks til we go back to the opthamologist - here's hoping by then that Frankie will be back to resembling his namesake - Sinatra.