After developing cataracts and painful glaucoma, a senior pit bull is able to see again thanks to contact lenses.
Named Gremlin, the dog was rescued from a fighting ring by Chris and Mariesa Hughes, the founders of animal-rescue organization The Mr. Mo Project, seven years ago. At the time, her vision was fine, but she was emotionally traumatized and had a number of physical issues to overcome.
“Her vocal chords had been severed, her teeth had been broken and her legs bound and possibly broken at some point,” says Mariesa Hughes.
As she worked through these issues — she had root canals, physical therapy and did regain her voice — Gremlin became a certified therapy dog.
But despite overcoming so many early obstacles, Gremlin, now believed to be 11, had another challenge thrown her way: her vision was deteriorating.
About a year ago, the couple noticed she was developing cataracts. Already partially blind, a veterinarian recommended surgery. However, afterwards, there were some complications and her right eye lost its sight, while her left still had some vision but not a lot.
Gremlin was farsighted, meaning she could see things in a distance, but not anything close up. She would bump into furniture, get scared when a hand got close to pet her and became nervous around her four-legged friends. She started to isolate herself from her family.
“Nothing made her happy; she was a recluse,” says Hughes. “If someone walked by her she flinched, shuddered, jumped away. The worst feeling is when you go to kiss you dog and end up scaring them half to death.”
But her owner wasn’t going to give up on Gremlin. The couple started researching options and found out contact lenses have been used on dogs. A visit to an animal ophthalmologist changed everything.
“I started firing off questions ‘How will we know what strength prescription to use? How many other dogs have tried this? What is the efficacy of its success?,”’ says Hughes about her visit. “Before she was able to answer any questions the contact was in.”
Gremlin instantaneously became a new dog. “Normally when Gremlin gets off the table she lays down, I have to carry her out of give her a little nudge, but this time, she dragged me through the door, down the hall, around the corner, all around the hospital like it was the first time she was ever there,” says Hughes. “Her ears were perkier, her right eye was open more, she was like a woman on a mission!”
Her enthusiasm for her improved eyesight went beyond the vet clinic.
“When we got home she walked all around, didn’t run into anyone, anything or fall down the stairs,” says Hughes. She walked to her water bowl and had a drink, she jumped on her chair and off of it and on it again — because she could.”
The couple needs to replace her lenses about once a week, and after complete she gives them a kiss to say “thank you.”
“She is just much happier,” says Hughes.