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Research Note: Visual Aids for Navigation in Blind Dogs

Ophthalmology

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November/December 2020

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This study evaluated 2 commercially available visual aid devices, one using echolocation and the other a physical barrier that incorporates tactile sensation, on the ability of 12 chronically blind dogs’ transit time and number of collisions in a maze. All dogs had fewer collisions with the physical barrier device as compared with baseline. Smaller dogs (≤26 lb [11.8 kg]) had fewer collisions with the physical barrier device as compared with baseline or when acclimatized to the echolocation device. Larger dogs (>26 lb [11.8 kg]) completed the maze faster when using the echolocation device as compared with no device or when acclimatized to the physical barrier device. Owners did not note any improvement in quality of life or home navigation on surveys.

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