Sudden acquired retinal degeneration syndrome (SARDS)
is a disease in dogs causing sudden blindness.
It can occur in any breed, but female dogs may be
Approximately 4000 cases are seen in the United
The cause of SARDS is considered to be idiopathic and
the veterinary community is divided as to its cause, but
the disease possibly involves autoimmune disease,
toxins, elevations in adrenal sex hormones or Cushing's
Symptoms include sudden permanent blindness, but may
occur more slowly over several days, weeks or months,
dilated pupils, and loss of the pupillary light reflex.
Other symptoms commonly seen are similar to those
seen with Cushing's disease and include increased water
consumption and urination, weight gain, confusion,
restlessness, behavioral changes and lethargy.
These symptoms may develop over a few months
preceding the onset of SARDS.