Last Friday, we left at 5:30am to take Luka to the vet. (My vet is in another state 3.5 hours away) He has been having trouble his third eyelid on his right eye (the cherry eye affected one) has been pretty chronically inflamed irregardless of medication. We decided that it would be best to just have the third eyelid removed and give his eye a chance to be irritation free. Of course there is a chance that he could develop "dry eye" in that eye and need drops for the rest of his life but Dr McDaniels felt the chances were slim.
He has also been having trouble with depth perception. If he goes to step down out of the van, he tries to feel his way with his foot first and then stumbles like he can't work out how far it is down. He also has had to look at things for a long time to work out how close they are and recognize even people he knows. All of this prompted the vet visit.
After some testing and swab cultures, Dr McDaniels agrees that there is an issue for sure. He seems to think it is a form of Progressive Retinal Atrophy. His pupils do not react normally to light nor do they react the same as each other. His eye shine (the color behind the retina) is wide and blue and with that comes a higher chance for deafness or blindness. There is a very minor cloudiness to them already as well. He has had this same problem with one of his own dogs and said it was at the same stage of development in his dog at this same age. there is currently no cure.
We decided not to do the surgery but to wait until he is a year (in about 4 months) and then reassess. While the cherry eye did not cause the other issues - leaving it will not affect the PRA and there is still a small chance it will heal on it's own.
End result - Luka will most likely be blind by the time he is 2.
That's okay - he will certainly be a good will ambassador for dogs with disabilities. His hearing is fine and his sense of smell is okay, and above all his sweet mellow personality remains the same.
Training will continue as normal with the exception of dropping the hand signals in favor of a more verbal training even from now. I have worked with blind dogs before and since he will still have some measure of sight for a while yet - we have plenty of time to get him started and into that style of learning before he has too many issues.