I have made the decision to get a second opinion on Thane's eyes- probably during the summer when the weather is more predictable for longer trips.
I'm just not comfortable with an eye specialist who does not even dilate eyes to evaluate the retina for genetic diseases like PRA and existing symptoms that could point to some form of retina involvement.
I know from friends experiences with their service and guide dogs, as well as my own eye health, that early diagnosis can be the difference between saving eyesight and thus a partnership and retirement.
After further research on Niacinamide, following return of allergy and gut issues, and some severely cautious, resistant and stubborn effects in work from Thane that something more than a heavy workload for the week was at play. I did not get full disclosure of any side effects to look for, nor ingredients in the tablets they wanted him having at the minimum for three months and at the outset were wanting him taking them for life.
What I discovered (thank you Medline) was that this supplement increases the release of histamine and can be problematic for some with gastrointestinal issues. There were other things as well that just told me that this is not the answer for him. I had already decided that I was not going to pursue this further until I spoke with his regular veterinarian who is much better about thinking about his special needs.
There are other supplements that are beneficial for eye health including the reduction of cataracts and nourishment to retinal health. One of them- Taurine, I am quite familiar with, after having used it with my previous service dog in part of his regimen for seizure control. Perhaps that's why he never got cataracts that we so commonly see in our senior dogs.
Even if I were comfortable with this eye specialists care for Thane, their obvious structural ADA violation on wheelchair access is not something I am comfortable with continuing to pursue. It was difficult last year when I had a lot more vision than I now have, but even with them opening the door for us, that open edge on the porch being so close to our position for wheeling just is not worth chances. Yes, they should be made to rectify this under the ADA, but I personally do not have what it takes to work with them and the ADA to make this happen.
In the meantime, I will watch for any worsening of the symptoms I have been noting over the last 4-6 months with Thane. I will invest in a pair of doggles and train him to accept them as well. This way when his eyes are dilated, a long trip home will not be problematic for us.
One of the biggest things though that I plan on doing is to appreciate Thane more for what he does for me, realizing there may be a day when his eyes just can no longer be my eyes to the world.