One pit bull in New York named Gremlin is getting a ton of attention for her eyewear. As of today, Gremlin is one of the few dogs in the USA that wears contact lenses.
It was about one year ago that Chris and Mariesa Hughes, the founders of the nonprofit dog shelter Mr. Mo Project, noticed that Gremlin was vision problems. Gremlin appeared to have cataracts on her eyes as well as some partial blindness.
The Hughes’s' veterinarian performed surgery on both of Gremlin's eyes. Unfortunately, Gremlin started to develop some internal pressure behind her right eye, which caused some permanent blindness and pain.
Even though the vet gave Gremlin a shot to numb the right eye, Gremlin still suffered severe visual symptoms. The Hughes’ noticed Gremlin bumping into things around the house. Gremlin also became extremely reclusive.
At their wit's end, the Hughes's decided to send Gremlin to a veterinary ophthalmologist named Dr. Petra Lackner. Dr. Lackner was the first person to suggest putting contacts on Gremlin's eyes. She used an autorefractor to determine Gremlin's visual prescription and then fitted the contact lenses to the dog's eyes.
This was the first time in Dr. Lackner's career that she prescribed contacts for an animal. The only time Lackner used contacts before Gremlin was as a bandage for dogs suffering from eye injuries.
Once Mariesa put the first contacts in Gremlin's eyes, she noticed a huge improvement in Gremlin's attitude and emotional wellbeing. Ever since putting in those first contacts about a month ago, Gremlin is back to her old self.
While prescribing contacts to animals is uncommon, it's not unheard of. Not too long ago one German company gained international attention for creating custom-made lenses for animals at SeaWorld resort. A few animals that used these specialized lenses include a rhino and a sea lion.
Before residing at the Mr. Mo Project shelter, Gremlin was abused in dog fighting rings. Luckily, Gremlin was rescued when she was four years old and was adopted seven years ago.
Besides visual issues, Gremlin has faced numerous health challenges in recent times. Just a few diseases Gremlin has had to combat include irritable bowel syndrome and cancer.
Anyone interested in watching the Hughes’s put in Gremlin's contacts can watch a video they posted online.
Lackner recommends anyone who has a pet with visual issues go to a professional veterinary ophthalmologist. Also, don't be afraid to ask your vet whether or not contacts or glasses would be a good option for your pet's visual issues.
The Mr. Mo Project is a senior dog rescue shelter located in Clifton Park, New York.