Hershey is a 13 year old, male, Shih Tzu that has been a patient of the HAH and Dr. Sessa his entire life. In 2012, Dr. Sessa began noticing Hershey’s eyes failing him and referred him to our Ophthalmologist, Dr. Swinger. Hershey was diagnosed and treated for bilateral cataracts and while he had to loose his much loved pony tail in the process of preparation, surgery was a success. It seemed that the real struggle now would be growing out his bangs. However, within the year, Hershey developed glaucoma in both eyes and daily treatment began again.
Glaucoma is a term used to describe a group of eye disorders that have many causes but are shared by one common characteristic- elevated pressures in the eye. These elevated pressures caused by the inability of fluid produced in the eye to drain appropriately, causing permanent damage to the eye affecting vision and potentially leading to blindness. Dr. Swinger, Hershey and his mom embarked on an aggressive plan for his eyes but after months of treatment found that the glaucoma could not be controlled. After all options were discussed it was decided that Hershey would receive a Gentamicin injection. This injection stops the cells that produce the fluid in the eyes thus alleviating the painful pressure. Sadly this also causes immediate blindness. This was a difficult decision for his family to make. Hershey was a career therapy dog and “the best watch dog ever” but treatment was necessary and has proven to make Hershey a much happier pup.
Since the surgery Hershey is out of pain. The headaches associated with glaucoma were relieved and everyday he gets more and more comfortable with himself. His 16 year old sister is a big help too; allowing him to walk all over her and his pride is visible with each new thing he succeeds to do.
Hershey’s family were among the first clients of Dr. Swinger’s when he joined the HAH from his practice in Chicago. They have proven themselves to be loving, diligent and committed to Hershey’s care and have developed a very close connection to the HAH and the Animal Eye Guy Team. Their one complaint however, is the loss of Hershey’s beloved ponytail but now that his knot top has grown back- all seems right with the world. We are very pleased to highlight Hershey as Patient of the Month!