Awww: formerly blind d*g sees its family after surgery (with hamster lagniappe)

by Matthew Cobb

I have special permission from PCC(E) to post this cute video of Duffy, a recuse Irish Terrier, Back in June 2014, Duffy was operated on to cure him of his blindness. This is the scene when he was reunited with the family. Warning: includes lots of human excitability.

Duffy’s owner, Benjamin May, wrote on the original post, which has now been seen over 13,203,038 times:

This is my Irish Terrier Duffy. He’s a rescue dog and he’s had a lot of struggles with his health. He developed diabetes and lost his eyesight. With medication we got his diabetes stable and he qualified for eye surgery to give him back his sight. Here he is seeing my parents for the first time in months.

Also, I should mention that Duffy’s surgery and treatments took place at the Veterinary Referral Center in Malvern, Pennsylvania. Special thanks to Dr. Kevin Kumrow who regulated Duffy’s diabetes so that Dr. Brady Beale could operate on him.

JAC: I wondered what the evidence was, in this video, that the dog can actually see? Readers?  And I’ll just add this cute tweet below to finish up the work week on a high note:

24 Comments

  1. Gregory Kusnick
    Posted March 10, 2017 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    There may not be much evidence in the video, but cataract surgery for dogs is becoming quite common and I can personally attest that it does improve their eyesight. My wife’s dogs used to wander all over the house looking for her, often passing right by the couch where she was sitting if she didn’t reach down and touch them. Now, post-surgery, they make a beeline straight for her as soon as they enter the room.

  2. Randall Schenck
    Posted March 10, 2017 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    I wonder, what kind of surgery would it be to reverse blindness from diabetes?

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted March 10, 2017 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

      @Randall

      Most dogs that develop diabetes get cataracts [the lens of the eye goes cloudy] & are thus blind

      To reverse this blindness by surgery simply requires the removal of the lens. Most human patients will also receive an artificial lens [in the same operation I think – I’m not sure]. In dogs I don’t know how often an artificial lens is put in. Without it Duffy will still be able to see but he’ll be long-sighted.

      The drawback to all this is the risk of infection & other problems that require the dog be kept calm & also weeks/months of post-op treatment with eye-drop antibiotics & a short time on eye-drop anti-inflammatories. I suppose it might be a lot easier to not bother with an artificial lens in the case of a dog, but I’m guessing on that score.

      • Randy schenck
        Posted March 10, 2017 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

        Thanks for that. I had no idea the cataracts were connected to diabetes. I know diabetes causes eye sight problems and many others but didn’t know the connection with cataracts.

      • rickflick
        Posted March 10, 2017 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

        “This from a vet web site: An artificial replacement lens, called an intraocular lens or IOL, is placed in the bag. The eye is closed with extremely small absorbable sutures. IOLs are either rigid polymer plastic lenses or soft foldable lenses.”

        The procedure requires very specialized equipment and would be done at a clinic with specialists.

        But note that some clouding of the lens is normal in ageing dogs. Most cataracts in dogs do not need surgery. Don’t panic if you 10 year old mutt exhibits some clouding. It doesn’t necessarily indicate diabetes or severe vision issues. Check with your veterinary professional.

  3. Grania Spingies
    Posted March 10, 2017 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    The fact that it doesn’t appear to be bumping into anything in a strange environment suggests that it can see. The whining though is nothing to do with being able to see again I wouldn’t think, it shows that it has not enjoyed the last few hours (days?) of its life and would like its two-legged family to help it get out of there.

    • Mark R.
      Posted March 10, 2017 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

      Exactly…I’ve been around blind dogs, and they don’t walk around with confidence like Duffy. They are also very paranoid (at least the couple I’ve known). I’m glad Duffy was able to be cured; otherwise, I think it’s sort of cruel to keep a blind dog. Though I know how hard it is to have a loved one put down, so I would never judge.

      • merilee
        Posted March 10, 2017 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

        I had a friend whose non-blind dog would straddle her blind dog when they went on hikes. Everyone was happy.

        • Mark R.
          Posted March 10, 2017 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

          That is awesome!

  4. Merilee
    Posted March 10, 2017 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    So glad you posted the warning. Nobody on this site would EVER get silly over animals…no, of course not…awwwwwwww😻🐾🐾

  5. W.Benson
    Posted March 10, 2017 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    How does a hamster break his arm?

    • merilee
      Posted March 10, 2017 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

      going around in the wheel too many times?

    • rickflick
      Posted March 10, 2017 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

      Bench press?

    • kateydandelion
      Posted March 11, 2017 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

      Most likely from falling from someplace high (for a hamster), or being dropped, or handled too roughly. That’s a dwarf hamster, and they’re even tinier and more delicate than the more common Syrian hamsters.

  6. grasshoppper
    Posted March 10, 2017 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    At 19 years of age, my dear old cat went blind. High blood pressure dislodged the retinas in both of her eyes. I thought it was only age which had been making her appear clumsy, but it had been a progressive medical condition. I felt guilty as hell for not considering that, and she was too old for surgery. Eight months later early one Saturday morning in the kitchen, with the sunlight silhouetting me against the light pouring through the window, I noticed she seemed to be watching my movements. I moved towards her alongside the wall and away from the light and she followed my all the way by moving her head. “O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!”.
    Shall I ever forget that day?
    I am in tears right now, remembering.

    • Mark R.
      Posted March 10, 2017 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

      No fair! I’m already teary from the post, and now your story adds to my vulnerability. Thanks though, it is a very nice remembrance. 🙂

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted March 10, 2017 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

      @grasshopper

      That’s interesting. Are you saying the retinal detachment reversed naturally? Or is it possible your cat was using her ear radar dishes? 🙂

      • grasshoppper
        Posted March 10, 2017 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

        The left retina re-attached by itself. Her vision in that eye seemed to be as acute as it had ever been. And she lived for another 2½ years. She lost the ability to climb, too, so I put the old electric frypan on the floor, on low, with a towel in it for her comfort. A friend was deeply shocked at that. He said it should have been a wok.
        When she began to fall asleep in her litter box I made the decision that her time was up. I watched her being born, and held her while she died. We had a couple of dogs that reached nineteen. The only other domestic animal I can think of that can attain a greater longevity is a horse.
        But of course the years you have a pet in your care are not the defining feature of that relationship. Kurt Vonnegut Jr once said something like “when I am rolling on the grass with my dog I can’t distinguish the love I feel right then from the love I feel for my wife.”

        • Michael Fisher
          Posted March 10, 2017 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

          I am touched by your beautiful thoughts on your pets & general pet/human love.

  7. barn owl
    Posted March 10, 2017 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

    Here’s a dog that even PCC(E) might like: an Australian Shepherd who cuddles Malayan tiger cubs (rejected by their mom at the Cincinnati Zoo) and teaches them “proper tiger etiquette.”

    https://www.yahoo.com/news/dog-helps-care-tiger-cubs-191700584.html

  8. Jonathan Wallace
    Posted March 11, 2017 at 4:20 am | Permalink

    We had a cairn terrier who had cataracts and although he was not completely blind his vision was significantly impaired. However, he coped extremely well, only very occasionally bumping into things. He enjoyed going for walks and would happily go off the leash to explore the countryside.
    We were offered a cataract removal operation by the vet but the thing he hated more than anything else was going to the vet, where even a simple check up was a traumatic experience for him. Consequently we always felt that, given the way in which he seemed to be happily accommodated to his handicap,there was no justification in putting him through the trauma.

  9. Posted March 11, 2017 at 5:59 am | Permalink

    “I wondered what the evidence was, in this video, that the dog can actually see?”

    I’d say it’s that he didn’t bump into the walls or furniture. The humans are all making a lot of noise, so he can hear them….although that cone on his head must affect his directional hearing. He also seems to be attempting to make eye contact with the people.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted March 11, 2017 at 6:45 am | Permalink

      @Phil One can tell blind-from-birth people to newly blind people via all sorts of mannerisms such as facial expressions which are partly learned from peers/family & also vary across cultures.

      Someone who has never seen will point an ear at someone speaking while someone who has had sight in the past will point their eyes & face at the speaker. Same for dogs – I would suppose an ex-seeing dog will make “eye contact” with his humans.

  10. Cindy
    Posted March 11, 2017 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    What a cutie pie!


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