It's only been 7 weeks since it all happened, but it feels like much longer. We've all been learning to manage our new normal: putting rug treads on the steps, keeping any obstacles off the floor, watching Gracie closely on walks so she doesn't run into rocks/trees/steps/everything, and making SUPER sure there's nothing that could be remotely considered edible anywhere within her reach.
The Veterinary Ophthalmology Appointment
Gracie's ophthalmology appointment was a few weeks ago, at the University of Minnesota Veterinary Medical Center. They put little paper strips in-between her eye and eyelid, to measure tear production. They tapped on her eye to test for pressure. They darkened the room and shined lights in her eyes, and we talked about what's been going on.
Along with her symptoms (the increased appetite, the hesitation on stairs for the weeks prior, and the sudden bumping into things, tripping down stairs, and clearly not being able to see or track treats / people / everything), the doctor felt strongly that this is, indeed, Sudden Acquired Retinal Degeneration Syndrome (SARDS).
The information they gave us on her discharge papers read as such:
Ophthalmic examination revealed dilated pupils which slowly constrict with white light. She has an absent menace and dazzle in both eyes. Both eyes have moderate nuclear sclerosis and there is mild pigment on the anterior lens capsule in the left eye. Both retinas have mild tapetal hyperreflectivity. The optic nerves are normal in both eyes.
We opted not to do the electroretinogram (ERG) test, as all signs were pointing to SARDS. If there were a neurological cause instead, she would likely be exhibiting other, different symptoms.
If we see any changes in her behavior, or problems with her eyes (like redness, discharge, more cloudiness, squinting, etc) we'll need to have her re-checked, but for the time being, I'm satisfied with this probable diagnosis.