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Thread: Brittany diagnosed with SARDS

  1. #1

    Default Brittany diagnosed with SARDS

    My eight year old Brittany was recently diagnosed with SARDS (Sudden Acquired Retinal Degeneration Syndrome) and is nearing complete blindness. This is a non-reversible condition with little known about the cause. Unfortunately, Brittany's seem to be more predisposed to this rare condition. She is quickly adjusting to this new life but I'm struggling with what the future holds this fall and beyond. She is "THE DOG". By far the best hunter and strongest bonded dog I've ever had the privilege of hunting over and calling my best friend. The wife and kids are lavishing her with more attention than ever before so her life as a couch queen and lap dog is solidified. Worst case scenario is that it's Club Med for Lizzy. Still, I've had a punch in the gut going on near a week.

    My question is has anyone had experience hunting a dog with vision issues and what was the outcome? I fully understand the dynamics and expectations of the hunt has changed. I was hoping to work with her this summer to adjust to more verbal/audible commands and in essence become her seeing eye human. A preserve I hunt has cover that is flat and relatively obstacle free (milo with rows cut every 20-30 yds). I could control the hunt so she gets plenty of bird contact but without the threat of tripping in ditches, getting caught in fences, green briar, etc. She deserves to chase birds as long as her body allows her and I'm willing to do whatever necessary to fill her nostrils with that sweet smell.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Lawrence, Kansas


    That's a shame. I have no experience with SARDS. Best of luck to you and her.
    - From the office of Colt, Stoeger, Browning & Savage
    - Kansas: Big Cock Country

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    South Dakota / Arizona


    I've never heard of this and I've been involved with Brittanys for nearly 25 years. Sad situation but you still have a loving pet even if she is unable to hunt. I lost my best Brittany almost 3 years ago at the same age. Had to put her down 6 days after her 8th birthday. She developed a large cancerous mass on her spine. Best of luck to you and Lizzy. And give her an ear scratch from all of us here on UPH.

    Where are you located?
    Janee's August Breeze - Bree

    Godfather's Dakota Elle - Elle
    1X NSTRA Champion
    11/16/2008 - 11/22/2016

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2009


    Sorry to read about your pup - not sure there's an answer for you that's positive.

    My Golden went blind at age 8. I tried hunting him but alas, it didn't work. He would run into low corn stalks and basically walked in front of me most of the time - not hunting. It was sad to see as he was an intense hunter and outstanding on cripples. He had no idea about fences and I felt he was at risk in wandering about unable to see.

    Your dog may be able to hunt in crp/grass where there's no danger to him, probably worth a try.

    Good Luck!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2012


    So sorry about your pup.

    I had a Britt that had Progressive Retinal Atrophy. She went completely blind at 6 /12 yrs old. I tried to hunt her, but it was very dangerous for her. She stumbled over and ran into things. Hurt her leg and her eye. She was great on a walk where I could guide her, but it was just too risky to hunt her.

    One of the things being blind is she kept her eyes wide open all the time, so even running through grass could and did abrade her eyes. Bushes and branches would hit her in the face and eyes. She was unable to avoid those things as well as holes or ravines.

    She rode along on our hunts for the next 7 years and got to carry the birds around when we go back to the truck. Even then you had to watch her, she would run into the truck.

    I wish I had better news. Good luck.
    Last edited by Jack L; 07-31-2019 at 07:32 AM.


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