Greyhound Roc will lose total vision someday. He is 5 years old. 64 pounds. A greyhound lurcher mix. Black with white tuxedo front. A friendly, happy boy that will always greet you with a tail wag! He retired from field racing on August 15, in search of his new forever home.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) is a retinal degeneration. PRA is not a painful condition, so it is rarely noticed in its earliest stages of development. The first sign that is usually noticed in a dog that has PRA is night blindness. Affected dogs tend to be nervous at night, may be reluctant to go into dark rooms, or may bump into things when the light is dim. In some cases, the pet owner may not notice anything abnormal when their dog is at home but may gradually notice that their pet has become clumsier when in unfamiliar surroundings. (Roc was bumping into things. And he could not always find the tasty treat or piece of kibble, even though he is very food motivated.) Pet owners with dogs that are developing PRA often observe that their pet’s eyes have become very reflective when light shines on them, and that the pupils are more dilated than normal. (Roc has this too.) Both eyes are always affected. For dogs with the inherited form of PRA, the initial sign may only be a loss of day vision.

The Canine Ophthalmologist that we consulted with over Roc, Dr Carl Budelsky, told us that more than likely it was inherited. We also were surprised to learn that PRA can also be caused by a lot of Ivermectin over time (a parasite medication, found in Heartguard & other parasite preventives, but not found the brand we use – Advocate/Advantage Multi.) On farms it is common for horses/cows to be dosed with a paste formula of Ivermectin. The medication is very popular because it is among the least expensive of the parasite medications. The horse chews up the Ivermectin paste and often drops half-chewed globs on the ground. If a dog comes along and eats the residue without anyone noticing (a common problem) PRA can be an acquired result. But either way the dog acquires PRA, it is not reversible. There is no cure. How fast the disease progresses to total blindness varies widely.

Sadly, there really is no medication to treat or slow the process of PRA. (We have had more than a few adopters ask us about CBD oils for this. Dr Budelsky says they offer no benefits, no cure, do not slow the disease. No testing has been done by the veterinary world on CBD. And there is no consistency in the type of CBD’s on the market. So Prison Greyhounds does NOT recommend CBD.) There is no surgery either.

For the average family pet, blindness is not as significant as it would be in a human. Dogs rely more on other senses such as smell and are able to move around well in their home environment, as long as furniture and other objects are not constantly moved around. Even as a blind dog, Roc will live a totally full life. Our President Mary Louden (professional dog walker) has quite a bit of experience walking blind dogs, so she can give Roc’s adopters some helpful tips. Verbal cues help, like “ SLOW, slow!” (Meaning that the dog is about to walk into a trash can or parked car, so move slightly to the side.) And “Ok, let’s go” means resume walking, and “Let’s CROSS!” at intersections. It helps to walk the same route when possible so the blind dog learns it faster.  Walking can be a great way to offset any potential depression or boredom that might try to creep in. (Roc is a very happy boy right now. But he can stay very happy even after he loses all vision if you understand his needs.) A blind dog can also benefit from being loose in their own fenced yard! And they can even enjoy some walks that explore brand new areas, once you learn to communicate in the manner Roc will need. Blind dogs get along as well with other pets just the same as a dog that can see.

For now, Dr Budelsky said we can use little plug in night lights to help Roc maneuver around before he loses all vision. Today, he gets around pretty well. Roc will still have eye sight to help him learn all about his new home, once we find his adopters! We’ll suggest turning on outside lights at night when the dog is in the back yard. Keep stairways well lit. (Although even a totally blind dog can climb a stairway once he learns it.) These blind dogs develop an advanced little GPS satellite map inside their brain for the areas they are familiar with. This helps them on daily walks and time in the yard. They need the stimulation of the exercise and new scents!

So….something to think about. We know that the perfect adopter for this boy is out there. And we intend to find you! Roc is ready for his new forever home. – Roc (5 year old, 64 pound, greyhound lurcher mix) Status: available, special needs

ROC– (greyhound mix) – male, gorgeous black beauty with stunning white tuxedo front.  Born in September 2017, so he is the wonderful age of 5! He weighs 64 pounds. Roc is a friendly, happy boy that will greet yopu with his tail wagging! He retired from greyhound field racing on August 15, in search of hi new retirement family. Unknown today if he is cat tolerable, we can test if a pre-approved adopters requests.  Roc will need to see Dr Carter to finish his vetting with a neuter and dental, which we will pay for. (Roc is a cryptorchid byut Dr Carter is experienced at doing this delicate surgery on our previous cryptorchid greyhounds.) All vaccines are current. Roc is already dewormed. Roc is one of our first greyhounds available for adoption that we acquired “beyond the races”.