Sudden Acquired Retinal Degeneration syndrome (SARDs)
Immune Mediated Retinitis (IMR)

Both diseases cause the onset of sudden blindness in dogs.
Please read our SARDs/IMR Primer for a better understanding of these diseases.

The owners/operators of this site are *not* veterinarians.
Click here to read more about us.

Does your regular veterinarian suspect your dog has SARDs/IMR?
Make sure you read and print our check-list before you visit a veterinary ophthalmologist/specialist. You can read/download the checklist via this link:
SARDSAwareness Vet Visit Check-List

If your dog has recently been diagnosed with SARDs/IMR,
please help us gather some data by completing this survey:

If you are a veterinarian, or represent a veterinary clinic, and would like to have your clinic appear on our list of treatment providers, please complete this form:

Reproducing Problems to Find the Root-Cause

September 11th, 2011 No comments

It’s frustrating when your car is making strange noises, and you take it into the garage, only to find that it’s not making the same noises for your mechanic to hear.

The same thing often happens with computers – you see an anomaly, but as soon as you call tech-support to help you, the problem goes away, and further root-cause analyses are not possible.

With most technical problems, we must reproduce a problem in order to get to the root-cause.  Without the ability to reproduce a problem, we are unable to see the direct cause-and-effect of the situation.  Subsequently, we are powerless to prevent or fix the problem.

Fortunately, in the small world of SARDs/IMR, Dr. Grozdanic’s recent (last year) research has been able to reproduce the SARDs reaction in mice.

Succinctly, an excess of T and B cells in mice causes an auto-immune response in a manner consistent with SARDs – the retinal degeneration caused by the auto-immune response causes the mice to lose sight.

Multiple experiments, of injecting a controlled serum to known healthy mice, have repeatedly caused a SARDs response.

Unfortunately, it is unclear why the body has, or has produced, an excess of the T and B cells.  Regardless, it is clear that we understand what conditions trigger a SARDs response.  The next step is to understand what triggers the excess T and B cells to be present in the body.

With his research funded by the VA and his dedicated team of research pathologists, we hope for Dr. Grozdanic and his team to get to the root-cause analysis of SARDs.

There are some proponents of the adrenal exhaustion theory who believe that there is a correlation of SARDS to adrenal exhaustion.  For those of you that believe this, it would be great if you could share any scientific research to support this line of thought.

Personally, we don’t care who is right.  We just want synergy and cooperation to get to the bottom of this issue for all dogs (SARDs / IMR) and humans (npAIR / CAR).

 

Suzanne, Jay, & Oscar.

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Revisiting Statistics

July 18th, 2010 1 comment

It’s been a little over one (1) year since we started this site.  Since then we have had a total of 162 respondents complete our survey about their dog’s SARDs/IMR diagnosis.

Statistics can often be used to augment or refute a particular perspective; however, they nonetheless show some interesting trends.

Below are some statistics that we have put together from the raw data that we have collected.  While some statistics were easily derivable from our survey providing service, others were not, and had to be derived by manual means using Microsoft Excel.

Distribution by Gender:

  • Males — 73
  • Females — 85
  • Unknown — 4
Distribution by Gender

SARDs/IMR Distribution by Gender

Distribution by Age:

There is some information available on the Internet that states that the average age at which most dogs are affected by SARDs/IMR is approximately 6-7 years.   However, our statistics show an average of 8 years.  This is not meant to refute the 6-7 year average, especially if that average is based on a larger set of data.

SARDs/IMR Distribution by Age

SARDs/IMR Distribution by Age

Distribution by Breed:

While SARDs can affect any breed, out of all pure-breeds, Dachshunds are affected more so than other breeds.

SARDs/IMR Distribution by Breed

SARDs/IMR Distribution by Breed

Distribution by Season:

Spring and Summer Seasons show a higher number of diagnoses than the Fall and Winter.

SARDs/IMR Distribution by Season

SARDs/IMR Distribution by Season

Distribution by State:

Some states are affected more than others, but the unknown is why those states show a higher number.  Specifically, CA, FL, and TX show the greatest number of diagnoses.  Could it be due to the population of the states?

SARDs/IMR Distribution by State

SARDs/IMR Distribution by State

Distribution of Symptoms:

You’ll notice that the following three are the most common symptoms of “excessiveness” of SARDs/IMR patients:

  • Excessive eating (polyphagia)
  • Excessive drinking (polydypsia)
  • Excessive urinating (polyuria)
SARDs/IMR Distribution by Symptoms

SARDs/IMR Distribution by Symptoms

Lastly, this is the saddest of statistics that we can provide, and that is of SARDs/IMR diagnosis “quackery”.  It is alarming to see how often our “caring vets” come to a SARDs diagnosis:

SARDs Quackery

SARDs Quackery

Getting a SARDs diagnosis without an ERG is like getting a diabetes diagnosis without blood-work, or diagnosis of high-blood pressure without having your blood pressure taken.

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Monitoring of Kidney Functions is a MUST!!!

November 15th, 2009 1 comment
Monitoring of Kidney Functions is a MUST!!!
During our previous post, regarding “Elevations in Sex Hormones in Dogs with SARDs”, we had briefly mentioned that Oscar was exhibiting issues with his blood-pressre and kidney functions.
During Oscar’s August examination, these were his critical statistics:
Blood Pressure   —  227/13x
Urine Protein    –   37.0 mg/dL
Urine Creatinine —   39.9 mg/dL
Ratio            –    0.9
Microalbuminuria —   20.0 mg/dL
Triglyceride     — 2180.0 mg/dL
Because the high blood-pressure was taxing Oscar’s adrenal system, our local vet, Dr. Matsuura, consulting Dr. Grozdanic, immediately placed Oscar on a prescription of enalapril — to reduce blood-pressure.  Additionally, Oscar was prohibited from exercising on his new treadmill because the exercise would induce an even higher blood-pressure.
Because the high blood-pressure was an immediate threat to Oscar’s health, his prednisone therapy, which was prescribed to reduce a general auto-immune response, was immediately halted.
We realized that Oscar’s excessive weight, caused by SARDs, was contributing to the high blood-pressure as well.  However, because we now had no way to exercise Oscar to good health, as he was prohibited from exercising on the treatmill, we needed to find an alternate method of treating him.
With physical exercise not being a suitable option, and a medical prescription already in place, our last option was to change Oscar’s diet.
Dr. Grozdanic suggested that we contact U.C. Davis’ Veterinary Nutrition Services to seek their guidance on the course of treatment for Oscar addressing a specific renal diet.
Following his advice, we contacted U.C. Davis and went through the necessary steps to acquire a customized diet for Oscar.  The information for this process can be found at this link:  UCDavisLink.  However, here is a brief summary of the necessary steps:
1. We completed a medical and diet history for Oscar and forwarded it to our vet, Dr. Matsuura.
2. Dr. Matsuura had to complete a separate medical history form
3. Dr. Matsuura had to include Oscar’s latest lab work: blood tests, urinalysis, and blood-pressure.
4. Dr. Matsurra submitted all of the paperwork to U.C. Davis.
U.C. Davis will not work directly with any patient-clients, unless you are a *direct* patient-client of U.C. Davis.
As a result, we had to go through our veterinarian as the intermediary.  Although the steps seem complicated, it is, in fact, quite easy.  After the necessary forms were submitted, U.C. Davis responded within three (3) weeks.
U.C. Davis formulated a custome diet for Oscar, based on his past, and existing medical condition.
Because the diet is specific to Oscar’s condition, we will not be posting the custom recipe.  Similar to prescription drugs for humans, a very specific diet to manage health issues should be treated similarly, and we do not wish to encourage irresponsible behavior by other pet owners to may attempt to address their pet’s issues with what may be an inappropriate diet for their dog’s particular condition.
However, with Oscar’s specific sections appropriately removed, we have posted U.C. Davis’ recommendations, which can be downloaded vis this link:  Downloadlink.
Over the past four (4) weeks, Oscar has lost the expected .25 lbs/week, and has dropped from 25 lbs down to 24 lbs.  Additionally, his most recently tests show a significant improvedment in all of the areas previously listed below:
Blood Pressure   —  183/110
Urine Protein    –  not tested as it was not necessary
Urine Creatinine —  not tested as it was not necessary
Ratio            –  n/a
Microalbuminuria —    5.5 mg/dL (down from 20.0 mg/dL)
Triglyceride     —  201.0 mg/dL (down from 2180.0 mg/dL)
For those of you who are technically inclined, listed below are the side-by-side comparisons of his previous and current test results:

During our previous post, regarding “Elevations in Sex Hormones in Dogs with SARDs”, we had briefly mentioned that Oscar was exhibiting issues with his blood-pressure and kidney functions.

During Oscar’s August examination, these were his critical statistics:

  • Blood Pressure — 227/13x
  • Urine Protein    –  37.0 mg/dL
  • Urine Creatinine —   39.9 mg/dL
  • Ratio            –  0.9
  • Microalbuminuria —    20.0 mg/dL
  • Triglyceride     —  2180.0 mg/dL

Because the high blood-pressure was taxing Oscar’s adrenal system, our local veterinarian, Dr. Matsuura, having consulted Dr. Grozdanic, immediately placed Oscar on a prescription of enalapril to reduce high blood-pressure.  Additionally, Oscar was prohibited from exercising on his new treadmill because the exercise would induce an even higher blood-pressure.

Because the high blood-pressure was an immediate threat to Oscar’s health, his prednisone therapy, which was prescribed to reduce a general auto-immune response, was immediately halted.

We realized that Oscar’s excessive weight, caused by SARDs, was contributing to the high blood-pressure as well.  However, because we now had no way to exercise Oscar to good health, as he was prohibited from exercising on the treatmill, we needed to find an alternate method of treating him.

With physical exercise not being a suitable option, and a medical prescription already in place, our last option was to change Oscar’s diet.

Dr. Grozdanic suggested that we contact U.C. Davis Veterinary Nutrition Services to seek their guidance on the course of treatment for Oscar addressing a specific renal diet.

Following his advice, we contacted U.C. Davis and went through the necessary steps to acquire a customized diet for Oscar.  The information for this process can be found at this link:  Working with U.C. Davis Nutrition Support Services.

However, here is a brief summary of the necessary steps:

  1. We completed a medical and diet history for Oscar and forwarded it to our vet, Dr. Matsuura.
  2. Dr. Matsuura had to complete a separate medical history form.
  3. Dr. Matsuura had to include Oscar’s latest lab work: blood tests, urinalysis, and blood-pressure.
  4. Dr. Matsuura submitted all of the paperwork to U.C. Davis.

U.C. Davis will not work directly with any patient-clients, unless you have previously visited a veterinarian at U.C. Davis.   Because we had no established patient-client relationship with U.C. Davis, we had to go through our veterinarian as the intermediary.

Although the steps seem complicated, it is, in fact, quite easy.  After the necessary forms were submitted, U.C. Davis responded within three (3) weeks and formulated a custom diet for Oscar based on his past and existing medical condition.

Because the diet is specific to Oscar’s condition, we will not be posting the custom recipe.  Similar to prescription drugs for humans, a very specific diet to manage health issues should not be administered to other dogs.  We do not wish to empower and encourage irresponsible behavior by other pet owners who may attempt to address their pet’s issues with what may be an inappropriate diet for their dog’s particular condition.

However, with Oscar’s specific sections appropriately removed, we have posted U.C. Davis’ recommendations, which can be downloaded vis this link:  U.C. Davis Recommendation.

Over the past four (4) weeks, Oscar has lost the expected .25 lbs/week, and has dropped from 25 lbs down to 24 lbs.  Additionally, his most recent tests show a significant improvement in all of the areas previously listed:

  • Blood Pressure — 183/110
  • Urine Protein    –  not tested, as it was not necessary
  • Urine Creatinine —  not tested, as it was not necessary
  • Ratio            –  n/a
  • Microalbuminuria —    5.5 mg/dL (down from 20.0 mg/dL)
  • Triglyceride     —  201.0 mg/dL (down from 2180.0 mg/dL)

For those of you who are technically inclined, you can download a side-by-side comparison of his previous and current test results: Test Comparison.

If you wish to obtain support from U.C. Davis, you can engage the process by completing the forms at this site:  U.C. Davis Nutrition Support Services — Fact Sheets / Brochures / Newsletters.

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Elevations in Sex Hormones in Dogs with SARDs

September 8th, 2009 1 comment

The Journal of American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) recently published an article titled “Elevations in Sex Hormones in Dogs with Sudden Acquired Retinal Degeneration Syndrome (SARDS)“, authored by the following doctors:

  • Renee T. Carder, DVM, Diplomate ACVO
  • Jack W. Oliver, DVM, PhD
  • Rebecca L. Stepien, DVM, MS, Diplomate ACVIM (Cardiology)
  • Ellison Bently, DVM, Diplomate ACVO

The abstract of the article is below:

Dogs diagnosed with sudden acquired retinal degeneration syndrome (SARDS) commonly are
presented with concurrent clinical, physical, and historical findings consistent with hyperadrenocorticism
(HAC) at the time of vision loss. Thirteen dogs diagnosed with SARDS on the basis of
complete ophthalmic examination and extinguished bright-flash electroretinogram were evaluated
for steroid hormonal abnormalities. Signalment, case history, physical examination, and clinicopathological
findings were recorded. Serum cortisol and sex-hormone concentrations were
measured before and after adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) stimulation. Clinical signs of
HAC, systemic hypertension, and proteinuria were commonly found in dogs with SARDS.
Elevations in one or more sex hormones were found in 11 (85%) of 13 dogs (95% confidence
interval [CI] 65% to 100%); cortisol was elevated in nine (69%) of 13 dogs (95% CI 44% to
94%). A minority of dogs (three [23%] of 13; 95% CI 0.2% to 46%) exhibited only an increase in
adrenal sex hormones. Only one dog had completely normal ACTH stimulation test results.
Symptoms of HAC were associated with abnormal ACTH stimulation results. Routine ACTH
stimulation testing to evaluate cortisol and sex hormones, blood pressure screening, and
urinalysis are recommended in these animals. J Am Anim Hosp Assoc 2009;45:207-214.

Dogs diagnosed with sudden acquired retinal degeneration syndrome (SARDS) commonly are presented with concurrent clinical, physical, and historical findings consistent with hyperadrenocorticism (HAC) at the time of vision loss. Thirteen dogs diagnosed with SARDS on the basis of complete ophthalmic examination and extinguished bright-flash electroretinogram were evaluated for steroid hormonal abnormalities. Signalment, case history, physical examination, and clinicopathological findings were recorded. Serum cortisol and sex-hormone concentrations were measured before and after adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) stimulation. Clinical signs of HAC, systemic hypertension, and proteinuria were commonly found in dogs with SARDS.  Elevations in one or more sex hormones were found in 11 (85%) of 13 dogs (95% confidence interval [CI] 65% to 100%); cortisol was elevated in nine (69%) of 13 dogs (95% CI 44% to 94%). A minority of dogs (three [23%] of 13; 95% CI 0.2% to 46%) exhibited only an increase in adrenal sex hormones. Only one dog had completely normal ACTH stimulation test results.  Symptoms of HAC were associated with abnormal ACTH stimulation results.  Routine ACTH stimulation testing to evaluate cortisol and sex hormones, blood pressure screening, and urinalysis are recommended in these animals. J Am Anim Hosp Assoc 2009;45:207-214.

The article describes a series of research tests performed on thirteen (13) dogs:

  • Spayed Females (9)
  • Neutered Males (2)
  • Males (2)

The age range of dogs was 6 years to 11.5 years, with a median age of 9 years at the time of diagnosis.

The breeds were as follows:

  • Brittany Spaniels (2)
  • Cairn Terrier (1)
  • Chow Chow (1)
  • Dachshund (1)
  • German Shepherd (1)
  • Lhasa Apso (1)
  • Miniature Schnauzer (2)
  • Mixed Breed Dog (1)
  • Pomeranian (1)
  • Welsh Springer Spaniel (1)
  • West Highland White Terrier (1)

We found the following excerpt to be quite interesting, particularly based on the surveys that we take online here at SARDSAwareness.org:

Any breed may be affected; however, a breed predilection for dachshunds, miniature schnauzers, and Brittany spaniels has been previously reported.

We have found that nearly 40 percent of the surveys included dachshunds.  We’ll revisit our surveys and come up with a better breakdown for our next posting.

Based on our recent experience with Oscar, we also found the following to be of interest:

  • Urinalysis information was available for 10 of 13 dogs. Of these 10, seven had proteinuria.
  • Blood pressure evaluations were available for 10 of 13 dogs. Four of 10 dogs were considered to be hypertensive based on average systolic values ranging from 185 to 250 mm Hg.

Oscar’s recent urinalysis has shown excessive protein in the urine (proteinuria) and elevated proteim:creatinine ratio.  As a result, he is currently on a prescription of enalapril and we are seeking a specialized renal diet from the UC Davis Veterinary School of Medicine — Nutrition Services Department.

For an informative read on proteinuria, and the effect of blood pressure on kidney (renal) function, visit the National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NKUDIC) page on “The Kidneys and How They Work.

The above are all interesting, but I don’t want to digress too much from the intent of the paper, which can be summarized by this excerpt:

The majority (11 of 13) of SARDS cases were found to have elevations in one or more sex hormones. Of these elevations, the most common were in 17-OH progesterone and progesterone. Additionally, cortisol was elevated in nine of 13 dogs. All of the dogs with increased cortisol had increased poststimulation values. Importantly, stimulated values (basal versus feedback) give the most information in regard to adrenal activity.23 The majority (nine of 11) of dogs demonstrated an increase in both cortisol and sex hormones. A minority (three of 13) of dogs exhibited only an increase in adrenal sex hormones, and these dogs would not be identified on routine HAC screening. Clinical signs of HAC were associated with abnormal stimulation values in 92% of cases. Only one dog was found to have clinical signs of HAC with normal ACTH stimulation results.

If you’re interested in this paper, and would like to have a further read, please visit the link at the beginning of this posting.  The article is available as a download for $5.00 USD.

You may want to share the information with your own veterinarian.

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Clinics with Melan-100 Units.

August 11th, 2009 Comments off

At our request, Sebastian Suba, President of BioMed Vision Technologies, manufacturer of the Melan-100 Light Source, has graciously provided us a list of veterinary clinics that have the Melan-100 units.

Additionally, Sebastian had a fantastic idea of including a small notice about SARDSAwareness.org into each unit of the Melan-100 unit that they ship out.  

This notice would advise the purchasing clinic about SARDSAwareness.org so that they could add their clinic on our site. This way we can include them on our new map for our readers.  This is a great way to provide a better list of clinics that can effectively diagnose SARDs/IMR.   Thanks for the suggestion Sebastian!  :-)

The clinics on the map are better equipped to diagnose SARDs/IMR than clinics without the Melan-100 unit.

As you can see, the majority of the clinics are in the United States, but there are some in Europe, and in Australia.

If your dog requires a SARDs/IMR diagnosis, please visit one of the listed clinics on this map.  Hopefully you are within driving distance to one.

You can zoom in and out using the map controls on the left side of the map.


View Clinics with Melan-100 for PLR in a larger map

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Updates to SARDSAwareness.org.

July 28th, 2009 1 comment

We’ve done some housekeeping over the past week and would like to direct your attention to the following changes:

SARDs / IMR Map:

We had not updated the SARDs/IMR map for some time and finally took the time to update it tonight.

The SARDs/IMR patients reported to our site has since grown from 18 dogs to 40 dogs. You can see the updated map via this link: SARDs/IMR map.

You may have noticed that from patients #0018 and onwards, we did not provide the detail about the diagnosis on the map.  This is for a very good reason, which we do not want to disclose yet for another week or two.

The map has been zoomed out to show the international reports as well, as there are currently four (4) from outside the United States.

SARDs Treatment Costs

We’ve moved the SARDs Treatment Costs page, formerly under the SARDs / IMR Patients grouping, to be grouped under the SARDs / IMR Primer grouping.

This was to make additional screen real-estate so that we could accommodate a new option we plan to add in the next few weeks.

Oscar Mayer @ TBLR page was added.

For those of you interested in the progress Oscar is making with his weight-loss goals using his new treadmill, we have created a new page to share the results.  It’s appropriately titled Oscar Mayer at The Biggest Loser Ranch and can be found by this link:  Oscar Mayer @ TBLR.

To close this posting, we thought we’d post some amusing photos of Oscar wearing a set of Doggles that he received from his friend Diane.  Diane thought that the Doggles would help Oscar fend off the bright Californian sun in the afternoons, and might possibly help him to see better.

Oscar’s not saying how much it’s helping with his sight, but he keeps asking us if he looks cool and asks if he looks anything like Bono from U2.

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The importance of human behavior and state of mind.

July 23rd, 2009 No comments

Several of our readers have expressed heartbreak over the unfortunate diagnosis of SARDs/IMR for their pets.  So, we wanted to write a posting about this topic, partially as therapy for ourselves, but also with hopes that it will help those of you who are having a more difficult time coping with SARDs/IMR than others.

This particular posting was quite difficult to compose because even within our own relationship we have different ways of coping with Oscar’s SARDs condition, and we both want to express different emotions, sentiments, and thoughts on how we are affected, and how we should deal with Oscar’s condition.

First and foremost, we want to recognize that for those pet owners who view their pets as if they were like their own human children, that the diagnosis of SARDs/IMR for their dogs is emotionally traumatizing, heart-breaking, and mind-numbingly depressing.

For those of you who are kind and sensitive enough to feel this way, you may feel hopelessly saddened to the point that you feel you have no way to help your dog in any way whatsoever.

However, we are here to remind you, that while your feelings are quite legitimately affecting you in manners described above, there are considerations that you must make for the sake of your dog if you desire your dog’s behavior to return to any semblance of normalcy prior to the diagnosis of SARDs/IMR.

You must realize that your dog is completely dependant on you for existance and for its quality of existence.

By existence, we mean the basic necessities of life, such as:

  • Clean Shelter
  • Healthful Food
  • Maintenance of Good Health

By quality of existence, we mean the aspects of life that go beyond the necessities, such as:

  • Participating in activities :
    • Playing.
    • Exercising for Health.
    • Exercising for Recreation, such as walking in the park, or taking a stroll.
  • Enjoying snacks and toys.
  • Enjoying fulfilling and emotionally bonding relationships.

We are going to assume that any pet owner diligent enough to seek out SARDs/IMR information on the Internet, and that has found our site, will be adept at providing for the basic necessities of life.

However, we realize, through our own experiences, no less, that despite our ability to provide for the basic necessities of life, sometimes it is difficult to provide for the other aspects of life that improve the quality of life for our dogs.

Our dogs are absolutely completely dependant on us — our behavior, our mood, our emotional and mental states of mind, to live a happy and fulfilling life.

If we get stuck in a state of depression and stagnate in the quagmire of feeling sorry for our dogs with SARDs/IMR, we are doing absolutely nothing for them to improve their quality of life.

We are both fans of Cesar Milan’s show, The Dog Whisperer, and we both feel that there’s considerable amount of truth and wisdom to his advice — that humans need to let go of our own sadness if we want our dogs to be rehabilitated.

As difficult as it may feel to you, we urge you to behave confidently and in a happy manner with your dog, and to continue to look for ways to stimulate your dog in ways that rely upon his senses other than sight, such as tactile, taste, smell, and hearing, so that he can enjoy engaging in life.

We all love dogs for one critical thing that they provide to us — unconditional love.  And for that gift, we owe them nothing less than our own very best in behavior, and mood, and state of mind.

As we end this posting, we would like to bring your attention to a new SARDs/IMR Patient page for Charlie.

Please have a read of Charlie’s story on his page, and see how he is coping with his SARDs condition.

Click here to view Charlie’s page.

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Life-Threatening Aspects of SARDs/IMR.

July 19th, 2009 2 comments

Before Oscar was afflicted with SARDs, we were able to keep his weight at around 18 pounds.  Considering that he is a bit on the larger side of a ‘Tweenie, that weight was acceptable to us, as well as Oscar’s veterinarians.

However, since the onset of SARDs, Oscar has gained a significant amount of weight, and currently weighs in at a portly 22 pounds.  While this is only 4 pounds, the percentage in weight gain is quite significant.

While the blindness caused by SARDs it not life threatening, the signifcant weight gain is a very real threat to Oscar’s health.  The additional weight gain can lead to other diseases that we humans are very well aware of, such as diabetes and heart disease.

With Oscar’s health in mind, we purchased a product that we never thought we would ever purchase — a doggie treadmill.

While we could go into a consumerist mode and discuss why we chose a particular brand and model over another, we decided to make that kind of posting at a later date.  For this particular posting, we’d like to show you how Oscar adapted to the treadmill as a supplemental method of exercise.

But, before we show you Oscar’s adaptation to the treadmill, we want to let you know that Oscar does go out at least twice a day for outside walks.  When Oscar was able to see, those two walks were sufficient to maintain his weight.  However, after losing his sight to SARDs, his confidence diminished, and the environmental audible noise was too much for him, and he was unable to focus on brisk walks necessary to provide him sufficient exercise  As a result, even the normal amount of walking that Oscar had done in the past was insufficient to bring down his current excess weight.

Anyway, that’s enough of an introduction.  Many of you have been waiting for this post so let’s get down to it.

In the video below, you see Suzie introducing Oscar to the treadmill by trying to coax him onto it using one of his favorite treats.  Before this exercise we left the treadmill around for Oscar to smell so that he could get used to its presence through his olfactory senses.  We then used food to lure him onto the treadmill.  Have a look at the video to see how it went.

Coaxing Oscar onto the treadmill....

Coaxing Oscar onto the treadmill....

After his relatively good experience on the treadmill (associating his favorite treat with being on the treadmill), we introduced him to his first walk at the lowest speed setting of 0.3 mph.

Oscar's first walk on the treadmill.

Oscar's first walk on the treadmill.

The smile you see above is after the conclusion of his first walk.  We think he really enjoyed it.

Now, the next video is quite long.  It is approximately 19 minutes long and is over 150 MB.  Those of you with dial-up connections will have a very difficult time viewing the video.  Perhaps you can view it at work with a faster connection?

During the first few seconds of the video, you’ll notice Oscar’s wagging tail as he anticipates his moderately strenuous work-out.  There’s no need to see the entire video, as it shows Oscar walking at various speeds (from 0.8 mph to 1.4 mph), unless you want to see the exact timing sequences/duration of his walks at particular speeds.

In general, we think you’ll see that Oscar is having some pretty positive experiences with the treadmill, and that he is really looking forward to the good exercise that he gets on the machine.

Oscar's treadmill workout.

Oscar's treadmill workout.

We’re only into week three of Oscar’s workout with the treadmill.  Starting tomorrow, we will weigh and measure him, and start to collect empirical data about his weight, so that we can see objectively if the exercise on the treadmill is actually having any positive change to his weight and overall health.

We’ll publish his workout schedule and frequency, and will share with you his progress as the weeks and months go by.

Meanwhile, if you have any questions, please email us.

p.s.

We’d like to thank Bonnie for her advice with changes to Oscar’s diet.  Bonnie, maybe you’d like to have a “Nutrition Column” on the site?  (hint hint)  :-)

Also, we’d like to thank Link for always reading our site and providing positive comments.  While his dog has not been afflicted with SARDs/IMR, he’s always thoroughly reading the site and spreading the word with others.

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Updates to SARDs/IMR Patient Pages

July 18th, 2009 Comments off

The familiar stressors of life cause the familiar delays with blog updates.  However, what matters is that we’re back now and have made some updates to the site.

We’ve updated Cookie’s static page with videos that Bonnie provided.  You can see Cookie’s exceptional navigational skills by watching her videos on this page:  Click here to see Cookie’s page.

We’ve also created a static page about the Curious Case of Zippy.  Please have a look by visiting his page: Click here to see Zippy’s page.

A while ago we mentioned that we ordered a treadmill for Oscar.  He’s been using it regularly for two weeks now and he seems to be really enjoying it.

We’ll be making a posting about the treadmill with a video tomorrow night.

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Arterial Attenuation

June 24th, 2009 Comments off

Denotatively, to attenuate means to to weaken or reduce in force, intensity, effect, quantity; to make thin; to make slender or fine.

When your ophthalmologist examines your dog’s eye and you hear the term “arterial attenuation”, your ophthalmologist is referring to the weakening or lessening of the blood vessel infrastructure in the eye.

In SARDs/IMR dogs, in addition to the auto-antibodies that destroy retinal cells, the dog’s immune system mistakes the retinal cells as cancer and “attacks” the cancer in another way — by cutting off the blood supply to the retina.

Because living cells in the body require blood supply, reducing the blood flow, by decreasing the blood vessel infrastructure to the retina, is the body’s way to fight the retinal cells that the body mistakes as cancer.

What we really wanted to write about tonight, however, was our new doggy treadmill that arrived today.  However, after putting it together and turning it on, we received an error message on the console, and started to smell an electrical burn.

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