Glaucoma Symptoms and Treatment in Dogs

Dog glaucoma signs
Dog glaucoma signs | Source

Why early diagnosis is so important

Glaucoma may be considered as a silent condition that gradually yet steadily, will ultimately take away a dog's vision. Because of a dog's great ability to compensate vision with the other eye, glaucoma usually goes undetected for a while. Symptoms, therefore, may start showing only once a good part of the damage was done.

Symptoms Suggesting Glaucoma

Recognizing early symptoms of this condition is therefore key in granting a better prognosis. An early treatment plan may allow alternative surgical procedures possibly sparing the dog from an enucleation (removal of the affected eye). Early warning symptoms suggesting glaucoma are as follows:

  • Red, bloodshot eye
  • Cloudiness
  • Vision loss
  • Irritability
  • Pain

As the condition worsens, the eye may enlarge and stretch. At this point, the vision is unfortunately, in most cases lost. If you notice any of these symptoms, time is of the essence, please see your vet!


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Causes of Glaucoma

Because glaucoma is caused by increased pressure within the eye, the best way to diagnose this condition is via an intraocular pressure reading, also known as "Tonometry". Generally a normal pressure reading will be between 10 and 20 mmHg, in a dog affected by Glaucoma the reading may sky rocket up to 45-65 mmHg. The vet hospital I used to work for, had an eye specialist who routinely preformed this test. Tonometry is not a painful procedure and does not require anesthesia but some eye drops will be used to numb the eye.

A normal eye produces fluids and these fluids are routinely drained, in glaucoma, the drainage system is clogged causing these fluids within the eye to expand creating a lot of pressure which ultimately enlarges and stretches the eye causing substantial damage to the optic nerve and blindness.

Dogs are prone to two different types of glaucoma:

  1. a primary form which is inherited and which some breeds seem to be more prone to and
  2. a secondary from that derives from underlying eye issues such as uveitits, cataracts, and retinal detachment.

Treatment Options

Eye drops and medications may help reduce the fluids being producing or may on the contrary, increase the drainage, however they are not a long term remedy, rather they simply will work for a bit.

Usually, such treatments are used for temporary management as a surgery is scheduled for a better treatment plan. Gentamycin may be injected directly in the eye in order to destroy the cells that produce fluids. This treatment plan will also in some cases, shrink the enlarged eye.

If the eye still has good probabilities of retaining its vision, there is a surgical procedure where the eye cells responsible for producing fluids are destroyed and subsequently, a drainage implant is inserted.

In eyes with no vision, the eye may be removed (enucleation) and if the owner wishes, a prosthetic eyeball may replace the eye. In some cases, specialized centers such as the Animal Eye Care center may be able to put a prosthetic eye that even blinks and moves.

Glaucoma is a frustrating condition to deal with, and many times despite all the care and the expensive treatment the vision loss is inevitable. Early detection, is therefore vital and of utmost importance.

Veterinarian discusses glaucoma

Causes of Glaucoma

Because Glaucoma is caused by increased pressure within the eye, the best way to diagnose this condition is via an intraocular pressure reading, also known as "Tonometry". Generally a normal pressure reading will be between 10 and 20 mmHg, in a dog affected by Glaucoma the reading may skyrocket up to 45-65 mmHg.

Tonometry is not a painful procedure and does not require anesthesia but some eye drops will be used to numb the eye.

A normal eye produces fluids and these fluids are routinely drained, in Glaucoma, the drainage system is clogged causing these fluids within the eye to expand creating a lot of pressure which ultimately enlarges and stretches the eye causing substantial damage to the optic nerve and blindness.

Dogs are prone to two different types of Glaucoma:

  1. a primary form which is inherited and which some breeds seem to be more prone to and
  2. a secondary from that derives from underlying eye issues such as uveitits, cataracts, and retinal detachment.

Treatment Options

Eye drops and medications may help reduce the fluids being producing or may on the contrary, increase the drainage, however they are not a long term remedy, rather they simply will work for a bit.

Usually, such treatments are used for temporary management as a surgery is scheduled for a better treatment plan. Gentamycin may be injected directly in the eye in order to destroy the cells that produce fluids. This treatment plan will also in some cases, shrink the enlarged eye.

If the eye still has good probabilities of retaining its vision, there is a surgical procedure where the eye cells responsible for producing fluids are destroyed and subsequently, a drainage implant is inserted.

In eyes with no vision, the eye may be removed (enucleation) and if the owner wishes, a prosthetic eyeball may replace the eye. In some cases, specialized centers such as the Animal Eye Care center may be able to put a prosthethic eye that even blinks and moves.

Glaucoma is a frustrating condition to deal with, and many times despite all the care and the expensive treatment the vision loss is inevitable. Early detection, is therefore vital and of utmost importance. In this article, Mary Hyatt shares a first-hand experience with glaucoma affecting her miniature schnauzer Baby.

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Comments 4 comments

Saefull 5 years ago

OOW .. turns out animals can also be affected gloukoma, I think the only human


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mary615 17 months ago from Florida

My Miniature Schnauzer has glaucoma and is completely blind. I am writing a Hub about my experience with the disease. May I link this informative Hub to mine after it is published?


alexadry profile image

alexadry 17 months ago from USA Author

Sure can! When it's done, let me know if you would like yours linked to mine as well. I am sure people may benefit from reading a personal story about it.


mary615 profile image

mary615 17 months ago from Florida

Thanks so much. Mine is published, and I have linked this valuable Hub.

My little dog has been blind for four weeks now, and it has certainly been a heart breaker.

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