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Light Reflection Of Floor Confuses Poodle

by Kellye
(Kentucky)

This started almost two years ago when our toy poodle was five years old. Without warning, one night he was confused by light from the TV reflecting off our hardwood floor. He seemed to think the floor was gone, as if his depth perception was being severely affected.


I had our vet check him out, but she didn't see anything. We went to an ophthalmologist and she didn't see anything either. We went to an allergist and she ran some tests that showed many food allergies.

We changed his diet and a few months later, the problem went away completely. All was great until I had to start him on a new supplement to treat atypical Cushing's. After ten days on flax seed hulls, the problem came back.

He is fine as long as I put blankets or towels on the floor to block reflections from windows or indoor light sources. He is fine on our upstairs carpet and outside in the yard.

Can a food allergy cause this sort of eye problem? He is allergic to many things and flax seed was not part of the test, so he may very well be allergic to it. We are thinking about changing our floors but if it's an allergy, we don't want to keep feeding him something that affects him this way.

Vet Suggestion Regarding Confusing Dog Light Reflections Off Floor

Hi Kellye,

I think it is unlikely that an allergy is responsible for your dog being thrown off by reflections coming off of the floor, but it certainly wouldn’t hurt to take him off the flaxseed hulls for a period of time to see if the problem goes away.

If it does, and certainly if you were to put him back on and it came back… I guess we’d have to say that is where the problem lies. Are you using the flaxseed as a source of omega-3 fatty acids? If so, and if your dog does better when he is off them, you could try a salmon oil supplement instead.

It wouldn’t hurt to call the veterinary ophthalmologist that saw your dog and mention that the problem has returned. He or she is in the best position to say whether this is something that should be followed up on.

Good luck,

Jennifer Coates, DVM

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Mar 31, 2011
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update on poodle
by: Kellye

Thank you so much for answering my question!

Since I posted it, the poodle has had cataract surgery and "floaters" were also removed from his eyes. He was not completely blind at the time of surgery but had stopped shying away from reflections. Now that he can see again, he is back to stopping in front of any light on the floor. I was hoping the floaters might be the source of his problem but no such luck.

He is on flax seed lignans to treat atypical cushing's. Per U.T. Knoxville's treatment plan, that is the best source of lignans. He is doing well with his treatment so I hate to change anything.

I do find it very strange that a new diet got rid of the vision problem and then an addition to his regular diet brought it back. (or so it seems) His eyes were checked two days ago and nothing is amiss. My vet said the light thing may just be unique to this dog and to not fret too much. There are worse things to worry about but this is a very bizarre thing and if anybody else has experienced it, I'd love to hear about it.

Thanks again!

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