26 March 2013

What does Kiba see?

Well my suspicions were dead on, although the result is more minor than I expected. The opthalmologist checked for any problems in the pressure, looked for cataracts, etc, and found nothing clinically significant (she has a minor cyst and minor lens hardening, both nothing that should cause an issue and normal findings in a dog who is 8 years old). So he did a retinoscopy and found that she is far-sighted, it is fairly minor, it is on both sides, but the right is worse than the left. It shows up like this on my paperwork:
-1 Diopter Refraction OD
-0.5 Diopter Refraction OS

It was his opinion that this is not all that abnormal and some dogs will not really present with takeoff problems at this level of far-sightedness, but obviously some do. It just depends on the dog's reaction to it. Kiba's reaction seems to be "lock onto the jump early while she can still see it clearly, and then leap for it".

So what does this mean? Well, it means Kiba does indeed have trouble seeing things clearly once she gets up close. It means the way I have been trying to run her is stepping in the right direction. It also means her vision is not "terrible", so I think I am comfortable enough to give running her a shot for a little bit longer. I feel that she should at least reasonably be able to not smash into things in a dangerous fashion. Because I wanted to wait for the results of this test, I have pulled her from the next trial, and I am not trialing again until after Tryouts. I think this is probably good for me, since I can think through some theory on running Kiba, how to avoid letting her "lock on" to the off course obstacles, and maybe even teach her a verbal that means "unlock" and look for me. It will also allow me to strongly focus on running Strafe as we approach Tryouts. Then I will put Kiba back into trialing at the end of May, I think I will give both AKC and USDAA a shot, and if we fail miserably for a few months then I will go ahead and let her retire. I am never one to beat a dead horse, I am happy to move on.

I am glad that my observations of my dog's behavior led me to the correct answer. And I am glad that I paid the money to confirm it, and I don't have to wonder if she has a fixable eye disease!

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