Lila’s SARDS Reversal

Posted on January 16th, 2015

On October 6, 2014 our precious Lila, a seven year old mini-dachshund, was diagnosed with SARDS, a condition I had never heard of until the previous day, when in a panic I searched the Internet for possible causes to our fur baby becoming blind pretty much from one day to the next. It was a Sunday and all of a sudden we noticed Lila acting disoriented and bumping into furniture and doors. When we read about SARDs we thought it could not possibly be… it was too cruel and improbable that this could happen to her, although with a sinking heart we did note some symptoms that sounded familiar: the increased appetite and obsession with food, the weight gain, the lethargy…

The next day, Lila was diagnosed with a definite case of SARDS after a veterinary ophthalmologist performed an ERG and we were told it flat lined (i.e. no response whatsoever). We were most definitely and with utmost finality told that there was nothing to be done, no possible change or improvement in Lila’s vision but to accept the situation and learn to live with a blind dog. We were also recommended the book “Living with Blind Dogs “.

We were totally devastated and the whole family cried for a day or two, after which we rolled up our sleeves and decided we had to see what other options existed and give Lila any possible chance of conquering this awful condition. Our internet searches immediately led us to Dr. Al Plechner’s website which contains his theory about the autoimmune nature of the disease, his medical protocol and the testimonials of other dog owners who have reversed their dog’s blindness. With the first bit of hope we had felt in a few days, we were able to contact him and he explained the urgency of getting Lila started on the shots (to be followed by oral meds for the rest of her life) to address her adrenal imbalance. The only vet we could find to implement the protocol was in Norfolk which is 3.5 hours away but we knew we had to try this for our darling doxie. We then embarked on the process of getting Lila the shots approximately every 10 days, and went to Norfolk 4 times in a period of about 7 weeks.

After the first 2 shots, we still had not noticed any changes in Lila’s vision and were beginning to wonder if this would work for us. On the other hand, there were other notable symptoms; tremendous thirst and increase in urination usually lasting for about a week after each shot. However, by the time of the third shot we had started to notice an increased confidence and change in Lila’s attitude and definite following of movement by her eyes. We were so excited!!!! Her doctors were a bit more skeptical which sobered us up. We kept telling ourselves we needed to tackle this imbalance even if her vision was never regained, in order to avoid other possible deadly conditions such as cancer developing as a consequence if left untreated. We were told Lila needed a fourth shot (rather unusual) because her IGA level was one point short of the required level to ensure that the gut would be able to absorb oral medications in lieu of the shots. So we went ahead and the shot was administered on Dec. 9th.

By the time mid-December rolled around we were convinced Lila had gained a great deal of her vision back; she could navigate in places where new obstacles were placed, she was willing to walk outside and she even started barking at the door when the doorbell rang – she has always been the alpha but had been so insecure and probably depressed following her blindness that she had pretty much tried blending into the background.

Then the day before Christmas, we had our confirmation in what was the happiest day since SARDS came into our life!!! Before I show you our video; let me explain that Lila has always been an extremely smart dog who could perform a lot of tricks; her signature trick being the stackable rings (you know, the baby toy). Well of course I never thought she would be able to do this again (I had tried once a few weeks before) but before throwing out the toy I decided to give it another try! And now, you can see the video for yourself!!!

I would just like to add that we are amazed that the veterinary establishment can show so little interest in this condition and these poor afflicted dogs; thank goodness that we found Dr. Plechner’s protocol. It is early days yet but if your dog has been diagnosed with SARDs do not accept the inevitable blindness diagnosis – there is hope!!!

Marta Peri