Glaucoma, a painful eye condition in pets, is caused by eye pressure linked to various underlying factors. Our eye specialist veterinarian in Clovis will discuss why glaucoma can affect your dog and the treatment options for primary and secondary glaucoma.
What is glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a painful eye condition in dogs where the fluid doesn't drain properly, leading to increased pressure inside the eye. There are two types of glaucoma: primary and secondary, depending on the underlying cause. If left untreated, glaucoma can progress rapidly and cause damage to the optic nerve and retina, resulting in blindness in about 40% of affected dogs.
What causes primary glaucoma in dogs?
In dogs, primary glaucoma is caused by inherited eye drainage system issues. Several breeds, such as Boston terriers, cocker spaniels, shar-peis, beagles, basset hounds,
Siberian huskies, Labrador retrievers, samoyed, toy poodles, and great danes, have a higher risk of developing primary glaucoma.
Each breed has its own unique characteristics that make them more prone to this condition. Usually, primary glaucoma doesn't affect both eyes simultaneously.
It typically starts in one eye and may take months or even years before the second eye is affected.
What is the cause of secondary glaucoma in dogs?
Secondary glaucoma can happen due to eye injuries or diseases. The main reasons for it are lens damage, eye interior inflammation, serious eye infections, lens dislocation (when the lens falls forward in the eye, blocking it), tumors, and bleeding inside the eye.
What are the signs and symptoms of glaucoma?
Dogs suffering from either primary or secondary glaucoma may experience one or more of the following symptoms:
- Watery discharge from the eye
- Eye pain (eye rubbing or turning away when being pet)
- Bulging of the eyeball (whites of eye turn red)
- Cloudy, bluish appearance to eye
- Dilated pupil – or pupil does not respond to light
- Loss of appetite
- Swelling of the eye
- Less desire to play
- Vision loss
Chronic glaucoma can take some time to develop and begin causing symptoms, but acute glaucoma occurs very suddenly. If your dog is showing any of the symptoms listed above contact your vet immediately or visit the nearest emergency veterinary hospital for urgent care. Early diagnosis and treatment are your dog's best bet for good treatment outcomes.
How is glaucoma in dogs diagnosed?
Your vet will check your dog's eye pressure using a tool called a tonometer. If your dog has glaucoma-related blindness, a veterinary eye specialist might use electroretinography to assess if surgery can restore their vision.
How is glaucoma in dogs treated?
After diagnosis, your vet will give your dog medications to lower the pressure in their eye quickly. This can help prevent permanent blindness in some dogs.
Painkillers are usually prescribed to make your dog more comfortable. Other medications may be given to improve fluid drainage and decrease fluid production, which reduces eye pressure. In advanced cases of glaucoma, surgery may be necessary.
If your dog has lost their vision permanently, your vet may suggest removing the eye to relieve pain. Regular eye check-ups are important for your pet's ongoing care and treatment.
These appointments allow your vet to monitor symptoms and manage the condition effectively in the long run.
What is a veterinary ophthalmologist?
Working alongside your primary care veterinarian, our veterinary eye specialist provides care for all ocular diseases that can impact your dog. While some conditions may require surgery, many can be managed with medications alone.