Glaucoma In Dogs – What You Should Know


Glaucoma in dogs is a health condition characterized by pressure that is placed on the eye which causes the latter to suffer from inadequate fluid drainage. When the condition reaches a chronic state or it continues without any treatment, the dog can experience blindness as a result of the permanent damage on his optic nerve.

Dog breeds known to be genetically predisposed are said to be more prone to suffer from glaucoma. These include breeds such as Siberians, Chow Chows, Poodles, Cocker Spaniels and Samoyeds. The bad news is that 40 percent of affected dogs will experience blindness in the affected eye within just the first year of being diagnosed with the condition. This is particularly true whether the dog received medical or surgical treatment.

What are the types and symptoms of glaucoma in dogs?

Glaucoma in dogs has 2 main types: primary and secondary. Primary glaucoma is characterized by the inability of the eye to drain through its filtration angles. Symptoms of sudden occurrence of glaucoma include:

1. Loss of vision
2. Dilated pupil or the pupil being unresponsive to light
3. Cloudy appearance at the eye’s front part
4. Unnatural blinking of the eye
5. Blood vessels in the eye’s whites appearing obviously red
6. Receding eyeball back into the dog’s head
7. High pressure felt within the eye

Glaucoma, in the long-term, is said to develop into certain advanced diseases. These include advanced degeneration within the dog’s eye, obvious vision loss and bupthalmos or enlargement of the eyeball.

Secondary glaucoma, which is said to be caused by secondary eye infections, have the following symptoms:

1. Suspected circular sticking of the iris’ edge to the lens
2. Suspected sticking of the iris either to the lens or to the cornea
3. Suspected pupil constriction
4. Inflammatory debris in the front part of the eye
5. Cloudy appearance at the front part of the eye
6. Unusual redness of the blood vessels in the eyes’ whites
7. High pressure found within the eye

Other notable symptoms of glaucoma include less desire to interact or play; obvious change in attitude; absence of appetite; and headaches.

What causes glaucoma in dogs?

High pressure occurs as a result of impaired fluid outflow in the eye as brought by a primary eye disease. One example of the latter is the improper development of the filtration angles of the eyes. It can also be secondary to other eye diseases that include blood collection found in the front of the eye due to an injury; eye tumors; inflammation of the eye tissues; and primary lens luxation which refers to the slipping of the lens in the eye.

Secondary glaucoma in dogs is more common compared to primary glaucoma.

Glaucoma and Its Diagnosis

In order to have an accurate diagnosis, you should be able to provide a comprehensive health history of your dog. This will include symptoms that have occurred as far as you can remember and notable incidents that could have contributed to the condition. One example would be injuries to the eye regardless whether they are minor or major.

When conducting a physical examination, the vet will use a tonometer on the eye’s surface in order to test the pressure within. If glaucoma has been diagnosed as a sudden disease, the vet will advise you to take your dog to a veterinary ophthalmologist. The latter will conduct detailed examination on both eyes. This includes using gonioscopy which is the method of measuring the eye’s anterior in order to evaluate its filtration angles.

Generally, the pressure within the eye is said to measure between 45 to 65 mmHg which gives the impression that glaucoma is a very painful health condition.

Veterinary ophthalmologist will also perform the so-called electroretinography for the purpose of determining whether the eye will remain blind even after treatment. On the other hand, abnormalities in the eye are usually detected through ultrasound and X-rays in secondary diseases.

While both eyes can be affected in most cased, it does not happen in every case. When the dog has been diagnosed to have glaucoma in one eye, certain measures are taken to protect and prevent the unaffected eye from suffering the same condition.

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