January is Glaucoma Awareness Month. Are you aware that dogs can get glaucoma? Watch for these 5 warning signs and save your dog’s eyesight!
Glaucoma is an increase in pressure within the eye that affects vision. Healthy eyes produce and remove fluid from the eye to maintain normal pressure. Glaucoma occurs when this process is disturbed. Congenital or primary glaucoma is rare in dogs. Cocker spaniels, Bassett hounds, Chows, Shar-Peis and Boston terriers are the top five breed predisposed to primary glaucoma. Secondary glaucoma occurs when some disease process disrupts the normal flow of fluid within the eye. Cataracts, lens luxation, and blood in the eye are just a few of the diseases that can cause secondary glaucoma.
Glaucoma is a very painful condition and is considered a medical emergency.
Signs of glaucoma include:
1. Squinting the eye closed
2. Excessive tearing
3. Swollen eye
4. Vision loss
5. Cloudy cornea
Diagnosis is made by testing the intraocular pressure of your dog’s eye. Most veterinarians will refer you to a veterinary ophthalmologist for a definitive diagnosis of glaucoma. If secondary glaucoma is diagnosed early and managed properly, vision may be preserved.
Canine glaucoma can be treated medically or surgically depending on the underlying cause. The goal of therapy is to preserve or regain vision by maintaining normal eye pressure. Canine glaucoma can be difficult to manage and unfortunately, some chronic end stage cases require removal of the eye to alleviate pain and further medical problems. Forty percent of dogs with glaucoma become blind within the first year of treatment. Fortunately, blind dogs adapt quickly to their environment and can live normal lives.