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Life after PLL by Dave Mills

My name is Dave Mills and I would like to relay to you my experience with PLL. Tina my wife and I joined the Mini club approx. 11 years ago and in that time both Tina and I worked on the committee of the club and I personally held the post of Health co-ordinator and was also Chairman for a couple of years, I tell you this only so as to give you a background on our level of information surrounding PLL.

Jack my minibull is 6 and a half years old now and has had PLL for just over 15 months, His father was discovered to be a carrier but his mother our Amy still has shown no signs and none of her other puppies have become affected, one afternoon whilst watching TV Tina looked at Jack and noticed he was squinting, we looked at him and we both knew instantly what it was, the effect on us was sickening almost like being punched in the stomach, Jack is a lovely boy, wonderful temperament and the only dog he doesn't like is his litter sister, but Jack is also a huge wimp, he could not cope with going blind and I wondered if this was going to be a death sentence to him. Straight away we had him to the vet who confirmed our fears, to be fair to our vet he didn't really know what to do other than refer him to the AHT in Newmarket, as it was a Saturday he phoned them to tell them we were coming and we left immediately, when we arrived a vet met us looked at his eye and confirmed it was wobbling she instantly said they wanted to keep him over night and the main vet would look at him on the Monday, we were concerned about the operation as she told us that there was still a good chance that he could still lose the sight in that eye even after the op, we wanted the top vet to look at Jack so left him there, the journey home from Newmarket to Skegness was horrible, we discussed our options but there didn't seem to be any alternative both Tina and I had heard about some drops that might give us another option but that was about all we knew.

When we arrived home I phoned Juliet Shaw of the Badlesmere kennel and although we have not always seen eye to eye, Juliet was wonderful and I will always be in her debt, she told me the name of the drops XALATAN and said once you have him on them just forget about any worries, he will be just fine. She had had one of her dogs on them and knew from her experience (she was absolutely right). On the Monday I phoned the AHT and was told the main vet wanted to talk to me but the receptionist could not tell me what was wrong, as you can imagine over the next three hours I went through all sorts of agonies, had he already gone blind, had the other eye gone etc. etc, I phoned 5 times in that period and could get no information at all, Tina left to go to Newmarket and I stayed at home on the phone, eventually when I did speak to the main vet, she only wanted me to confirm that they could do the operation, I told her we had decided not to have the operation but to use the eye drops instead, it was here that the vet tried to badger me into agreement telling me I was being unfair to my dog who would always be in pain, when I asked if the drops XALATAN themselves would cause pain she said no they wouldn't actually cause pain but the operation would be better for him, they had had Jack on the drops along with antibiotics from the moment he was admitted on the Saturday so his eye problem had been stabilised and that he was in no immediate danger, it was only because of my animal health background and my talk with Juliet that stopped me from giving in, I left it with her that Tina would pick him up, when she arrived they tried the same thing with her but Tina is made of stout stuff and stuck to her guns. Tina paid the bill and asked for some of the drops until we could get some, it was here that my faith in the AHT finally disintegrated, apparently even though he had been on them for two days they didn't have any Tina could take with her. I will leave you to make up your own mind about that. She phoned me and I contacted my vet who didn't have any but he phoned around until he tracked a vet down who lived in Derby who had some, some very good friend who had been in constant touch immediately jumped into their car and drove to Derby to get them for us.

For the next three weeks Jack had drops in his eyes every two hours, once with antibiotics to help the inflamation and then the next time with XALATAN. After that time we reduced the drops to once in the morning and once at night, three months later the other eye went and we just had our vet confirm it and put drops in that eye as well, 15 months later and Jack is still just Jack, the 2nd eye to wobble has fully detatched and fallen away so as to cause no further problems the 1st eye is still wobbling but causes no concerns, when people see Jack they have no idea something is wrong with his eyes, he still watches the chickens very closely, some of you will know what that means, to the others it means he is a normal Minibull, Jack will continue to have these drops every day and I will not worry about him going blind ever again.

One final thing Jack was not insured, we had allowed it to lapse just three months before, you know the story Jack was 5, Mum 7 and alright, grandparents alright, annual check ups, no signs whatsoever then wallop down he goes, the eyedrops were not the cheap option, the operation costs about 1,300 pounds per eye but the drops were costing 45 pounds per bottle (2ml) this lasts about 12 days when both eyes go. This won't please a lot of the vets, with the surprise exception of our own who did everything he could to get it cheaper for us, but you can get it cheaper from your local chemist get the prescription from your vet it cost us 24 pounds a bottle, then we went to spain on holiday and you can get it over the counter without a prescription and it costs only 22 Euros a bottle.

If anyone has any concens or questions over this article you can speak to me or Tina at anytime, 01754 880180 by the way our vet now recommends the eye drops and eagerly asks about or checks Jack everytime he sees us.


(Posted with permission from the author)






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