In May a few years ago, my Bitch Meltari Chrystal Gazer was expecting a litter from Meltari blue Denim. The weather was turning cooler and my heating pad I had used for years had finally packed up. All the books I have on puppy rearing suggest the use of the infrared lamp, saying this was the best way of keeping young puppies warm, so instead of buying another heating pad, I bought an infrared lamp from the chemist.

My bitch's litter of nine puppies were born but two died soon after birth. The rest survived and were kept warm under the infrared lamp. No, unknown to me, I sued a medicated infrared lamp, not knowing at the time you could buy a special lamp for keeping puppies or chickens warm. I left the lamp on all night and turned it on periodically during the day when the weather turned chilly - never knowing the damage I was causing my lovely puppies and their mother.
My puppies thrived and grew and soon their eyes were open. All of them had bright blue eyes and as they grew the blue did not fade away very much. Only two puppies' eyes eventually turned brown at six weeks of age. I took my bitch puppy Meltari Melushka to the vet and on careful examination he pronounced her blind in both eyes. The corneas were badly damaged and he suggested I put her down and it was possibly a genetic disability.
Well I went through my puppy's pedigrees to try to trace this blindness but all dogs on both sides were of sound bloodlines and there was no blindness. I did not destroy my puppy and today although she cannot see, she can find her way around like any Chow with sight. I telephoned S.A. Phillips to get a replacement globe for my infrared lamp. The gentleman I spoke to was horrified when I told him what I wanted " You cannot use a medicated lamp on small puppies, you need an incubator lam" was what he said. Suddenly it struck me; Melushka's blindness was not a genetic fault by my fault for using an incorrect infrared lamp. I phoned my Vet and spoke to him about my discovery and he agreed immediately with me. It was the rays of the infrared lamp that had burned the corneas of the whole litter of puppies abut somehow my puppy received more than the others. There were three puppies that developed white spots on their corneas, my blind puppy, only one had clear eyes and two were blind in one eye. This was terrible and all puppies were given away to people who wanted them. Their mother Chrystal, because of receiving such a large dose of infrared has lost all the hair on her chest and tummy. I am horrified at the dangers of a medicated infrared lamp. Don't trust your chemist for providing the correct lamp. They may also not know the difference. Rather get professional advise on where to buy the correct item from S.A. Phillips or use a heating pad which is far safer for you precious litter.

You all read about the devastating effect of the infrared lamp on my puppies. Now I am going to tell you about my blind chow, "Melushka".
She was the pick of the litter, a lovely sturdy puppy with good bone and a lovely head; only we did not know that she would never be able to see.
As a tiny puppy she won every one's heart. When we realised there was something very wrong with her sight, I took her to my vet who confirmed my fears and suggested that we put her down. She was then 8 Weeks old. Instead I asked him to inoculate her as I would be keeping her, blind or not she was a Chow and one of mine.
As the months went past, we watched her grow from a tiny puppy, which at first would stumble around the garden finding her feet, but soon learnt where every obstacle was that she might bump into. In her rush around the yard, she soon learned that her best friends were my three cats. She would gleefully sniff them out and the chase was on. She flew around the garden after them. Looking at her you would never think this lovely chow was totally blind. She has never seen the sun or the trees and really has no idea what the cats look like. Many a time, when the cats were well and truly cornered, they would jump over my garden fence. She was not perturbed by their actions and would stand with her two front paws balanced on the fence. She was not perturbed by their actions and would stand with her two front paws balance on the fence "looking" over to see if they were anywhere within reach. While she was still very young, I also got Charlie, a black Maltese Cross Toy Poodle to be her companion. She loved Charlie and when they are together, follows him around the garden. It's like having a guide dog for a blind dog. They have always got on very well together.
Two weeks ago Melushka had to have one of her eyes removed as she had developed glaucoma in it. It was unsightly to look at. I thought it would be better if it were not there at all. She sailed through the operation and although my Vet said it was a difficult operation as the eyeball itself was a big as a golf ball and full of fluid, he thought that infection might set in and that he would have to put her down. But again she proved him wrong and she healed very quickly and was soon getting around even better than before. Without the pain and the weight of a very bad eye, the cats are now even more aware of her. You would never think that she was blind unless you look at her eyes. She is a truly lovely young 18-month-old chow and so far she has coped extremely well with her disability. And I am sure she will cope very well with anything put in her way. On a sad ending note of Melushkas life I had to put her down at the age of 8 years because she developed cancer in her throat.