'Doggles' give Collie with incurable eye condition a new lease of life

'doggles' help collie with an incurable eye condition
'Doggles' give Collie a new lease of lifeChloe Godliman

It was the summer of 2021 when Chloe Godliman first spotted a cloudy pink patch in the corner of her Border Collie, Gus', left eye.

After consulting their vet, Chloe and her husband Joe were devastated to learn that Gus was suffering from an incurable condition called pannus. It's an autoimmune disease that affects the cornea and, if left untreated, can eventually scar the eye so badly it can cause serious vision impairment or blindness – an unthinkable scenario for the couple.

Deciding to research further into the condition, Chloe discovered Rex Specs – a company that sells secure eye protection for dogs. Their dog-friendly goggles – otherwise known as 'doggles' – provide UV protection, blocking 99.9% of harmful rays.

'doggles' help collie with an incurable eye condition
Doggles have given Gus a new way to enjoy being outdoors.Hearst Owned

Due to pannus, Gus is very sensitive to UV light. Without his protective doggles, the Collie would be forced to stay inside for the rest of his life. With them, Gus is able to enjoy an active and otherwise unchanged life with his family on the Scottish island of Oban.

Chloe told Country Living: "Gus is a member of our family and we were devastated when told that this incurable condition was severely going to impact his life. He was one at the time and is a Collie, so he's full of life. It seemed unimaginable that he would have to stay inside throughout the summertime.

"I did vast amounts of research and discovered Rex’s Spec. This has meant that, other than wearing the goggles, Gus can lead a totally normal life and we can continue adventuring outside as a family.

"What we are trying to do is raise as much awareness as possible about the condition, hopefully helping other dogs and owners to get a diagnosis and feel confident that there is a positive alternative."

She adds: "Gus is now three, and naturally when he wears his goggles he attracts a lot of attention. We want people to know that he has to wear them and that without them he wouldn’t be allowed outside – looking cool is just an added bonus."

'doggles' help collie with an incurable eye condition
Other than wearing doggles, Gus has a completely normal life.Hearst Owned

Whilst Chloe is keen to raise awareness of Gus' condition, she also explains that his doggles can attract intrusive attention, too. She told us: "We have a 10-month-old baby, so sometimes the attention Gus gets with his goggles can be quite difficult and invasive. Lots of people want to take a photo, often without asking.

"He’s a very, very friendly dog and gets very excited and a little overstimulated with the amount of attention he receives. So, we’ve spent a lot of time when he’s wearing his goggles up the hills and in quiet places to try and preserve some privacy.

"I’m in the process of getting him a lanyard stating that he has a medical condition, and I'm hoping that this helps. But really, we are just happy to spread the word and raise awareness about his condition."

To help manage his condition, Gus has also been prescribed steroidal drops, something which does not cure pannus but does help to halt progression.

Thanks to his doggles, Gus is safe to go on adventures with Chloe and Joe, including hikes, wild swimming trips, and even mountain biking trips.

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