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Joan and I have been concerned about Fred for a week now,he is not confident,moving slowly and generally avoiding us.

We took him to the vet's yesterday and he has been,sadly, diagnosed with macular degeneration and retinal atrophy.He is going blind and it is progressing quickly.He is already starting to learn to cope and we will give him the best life we can.

At the same consultation Ellie had her check up and she has now got cataracts!

Joan and I would like to thank Sue Humphrey for all her help,advice,support and kindness.




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Hi Howard, I am just so sad for you and Joan, poor Ellie and Fred but....you know...our setters are very intelligent and probably more resilient than we think, I do hope they adjust and I know they will continue to have a really good life with you both, big hugs xx

Am so sorry Howard. I echo what Sue says and hoping that your boy adjusts quickly.  Poor soul,

Howard, I am really sorry to read about your wee man's problem.....if you need to ask any questions, or need any help, and I am able to, please don't hesitate to get in touch....I know how you are feeling, and have been through this problem myself for many years now, with my late beautiful girl Jasmine....she coped really well for many years..

Hello Howard, I have experience of dogs loosing their sight and know how resilient they are, they except and adapt to what has happend and carry on enjoying life. I know for the owner there is initially a sense of tragedy but you will soon move on in the way your dogs have and learn how all of you can enjoy as normal a life as you can.

I had a dog with cataracts and got a referal from my vet to see Prof Bedfort at the Royal College, the visit cost me £180 and the actually examination was exactly the same as at a regular eye clinic costing under £30, I learned that not all cataracts are operable and sadly this was the case for my dog. Prof Bedford is probably our most respected and experienced eye specialist, he has a clinic at the Irish Setter Association, England chamionship show on the 6th October at Stoneleigh, if you can come to the show why not do so and get his expert opinion on both dogs. The show is always lovely to attend and I'm sure you would really enjoy your day. I along with other friends on ES will be at the show and would love to meet you there. To book an eye clinic appointment please contact Gillian Townsend on 07709 553785 or by e-mail at townsend@waitrose.com.

Very best wishes, Rosie

Dogs are far more able to adjust to ailments than we give them credit for.

Howard...I am sure your dogs will learn to cope with limited or no sight, just as people have to cope with blindness too.

I had a bitch who was blind by the age of 10 years, she was almost completely deaf too.

I made no changes to her normal routine as I believe keeping life as normal as possible is far more helpful to the dog.

She coped amazingly well, relying on her wonderful sense of smell to find me around the house. When we went for walks, she stayed reasonably close to me and every so often I would give her a tap on her shoulder to let her know I was changing direction.

I kept the furniture just as it was before she completely lost her sight and she managed to navigate herself around the house with no problems.

My old girl enjoyed life for almost sixteen years and although blind and deaf, her tail never stopped wagging till the end.

I have a bitch now who has poor eyesight, she is 5. I expect she will lose more of her sight as she ages.

I think we are more worried about these things than our dogs. Treat your dogs as normal otherwise they may become anxious about the changes to their routine.

You will all learn to cope together.

Thank you all for the kind words and for the advice.

Fred is already learning to cope and we have tidied the garden to make it safer for him.He is enjoying his walks but seems to prefer being on his lead but does enjoy a little run with the others,

We are making progress!


And still having a great life together, Howard!

Very true James!

It is amazing to me just how quickly he is learning to adapt.

lovely to hear howard  that hes now enjoying his walks please keep positive and fred will be. hell pick up now im sure and i think its because you know hes a problem now and you and joan are going to be there to help him gain the confidence to leads a near normal a life as possible .

also hugs to ellie i forgot to mention the dear girl in my last posting .

hi howard , so sorry to read about ellie and fred and i truly feel for you .its bad enough having one dog thats blind so god knows how you feel with you having two thats going to be blind.

i just want to say my lovely layla was diagnosed with pra at 18 months (rcd4) and was totally blind before her 5th birthday. i was very upset after her diagnosis and im sure she got my vibes and was very depressed .it wasnt till my good friend dee rance gave me advise ect that i managed to cope and accepted her condition.(took me 18 months to accept it ) she changed .we carried on as though there wasnt a problem and layla did the same. i cant believe and wouldnt believe a dog could cope with  blindness like she has until ive experienced it .its amazing shes such a happy girl  and we treat her like a normal dog off lead walking ect .

the bumping into things will get less and less as he maps his way around .wishing you the very best of luck and please it may be daunting now but believe me it gets a lot easier for you the owner .

Oh Lyn that brought tears 'again' thank you so much for your kind words, and your beautiful girl has just done what comes naturally...you were the ones that made her life so good...you have coped so very well with her problem....she has just followed your lead...congratulations on having such a happy well adjusted wee girl...and I am sure when Howard gets his head and heart around this terrible blow, his 'kids' will do as well as your lovely girl has...

Howard you don't say if your two have been genetically tested for Rcd 4 or not???....it would help if they have, (you could eliminate or confirm the many eye problems that are out there), and been found to carry the gene....have they been seen by Prof Bedford???....(most of us here that have had or have got blind dogs have been to see him at one time or another, he is the 'Main Man' of eyes..if you haven't been to see him yet, it may well be worth while going, just a wee thought...

Good luck again Howard....and just let the dogs take the lead....sorry about the pun...

Fred and Ellie are both being tested ,the swabs should arrive next week.Thanks for your advice.




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