Understanding of glaucoma in dogs

Posted on May 31 2018

Understanding of glaucoma in dogs

Glaucoma in dogs is an eye disease that is often not detected until after a dog has lost vision in one or both eyes. With several breeds are predisposed to the disease, it is important to know if glaucoma is common in your dog's breed and to keep a watch on symptoms such as glaucoma can make the permanent loss of vision a reality in a matter of a few hours.

Defined glaucoma

Glaucoma increases eye pressure within the eye. This is caused by fluids from the inside of the building eye up because the drain system is clogged. As the pressure builds up, the fluid exerts pressure on the optic nerve and cuts off the blood supply to the retina. This can cause a permanent loss of vision if the condition is not controlled. Unfortunately, the disease often goes undiscovered until the dog has permanently lost sight in one eye and is experiencing difficulties in the second eye.

There are 2 types of glaucoma.

Primary glaucoma is a hereditary disease and is common in many breeds including American cocker, outcrop dogs, Chow Chow, Elkhounds, Eskimo dogs, Labrador Retriever and Shar Peis. Primary glaucoma will be more typically started in one eye, but time will involve the other eye as well. Glaucoma can progress very quickly, in a matter of hours, so once a problem is detected, it is imperative to seek treatment immediately.

Secondary glaucoma is caused when other eye diseases such as mature cataracts or inflammation within the eye reduce drainage of the eye.

Glaucoma Diagnosis

In order to diagnose glaucoma, the veterinary ophthalmologist must perform a tonometry test that measures the intraocular pressure of the dog (IOP). If your IOP reading is between 10 and 20 mmHg, the pressure is normal. While anything above that is considered high, dogs often present readings of 45 to 60 mmHg, increasing pain in the eye.

Once glaucoma is confirmed, the veterinary ophthalmologist will perform other tests to determine if it is primary or secondary glaucoma, what the visual prognosis is for your dog's eye (s) and what course of treatment is recommended.

The symptoms of glaucoma

In most cases, the presence of glaucoma is difficult to detect for the untrained eye. Your dog's eye may appear red or bloodshot and loss of vision is common. The eye may also appear distended or enlarged. If the eye has reached this stage, the loss of vision is usually permanent.

Treatment for glaucoma

There is no standard method of treatment for glaucoma. Depending on the type of glaucoma (primary or secondary) and if the eye still has sight, the recommendation can be very different. Medical options include drops or lozenges to reduce IOP and surgical options begin with root canal implants to allow drainage of the eye, as well as other surgical options for a blind eye.

Glaucoma can have a tremendous impact on your dog's vision. It is important to know if your dog is predisposed to glaucoma so that he can see if there are signs of change in his vision, whether caused by heredity or another eye disease. By keeping these things in mind, you can help prolong your dog's vision through rapid medical treatment should glaucoma arise.

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