The Furry Critter Network

Optic Neuritis - Issue Description

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Issue Name

Optic Neuritis

Other Names

Issue Description

Optic neuritis is the inflammation of the optic nerve that may cause a complete or partial loss of vision.


Symptoms of blindness in dogs include bumping into furniture and seeming clumsy in general, having trouble finding things such as their food and water dishes, becoming easily startled, getting lost in the yard or in certain areas of the home, and a lack of normal play.


If the optic nerve is affected as it leaves the back of the retina, changes can be observed on evaluating the retina with an ophthalmoscope. If the optic nerve is affected behind the eyeball the retina may appear normal. ERG is normal, since the retina is not affected (thus distinguishing optic neuritis from SARD).


  • Viral Infections (canine distemper)
  • Protozoal Infections (toxoplasmosis, neosporosis)
  • Fungal Infections (blastomycosis, cryptococcosis, histoplasmosis, coccidioidomycosis)
  • Tick Borne Infections (Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever).
  • Treatment

    Treatment is based on identifying and treating the primary cause. Systemic steroids should be administered if no systemic cause is found.


    The prognosis for return of vision depends on whether or not an underlying disease can be found and treated properly. In some cases where there is no known underlying cause of the problem, the blindness can be permanent, or the problem can return if the treatment given was not in high enough quantities.

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