Glaucoma (increased eye pressure) in the dog
What is glaucoma?
In glaucoma, an eye is damaged by an increased pressure in the eye. This increased pressure in the eye is caused by the fact that aqueous humor can no longer be removed from the eye. If the increased pressure is too long, the dog can become blind to that eye.
What are the causes for glaucoma?
This can be caused by an inherited disorder (primary glaucoma) or as a result of another abnormality of the eye such as a lens luxation or inflammation of the iris (secondary glaucoma). Primary glaucoma is very rare in the cat and is not often seen in the dog.
What are the symptoms of glaucoma?
Within a day or a few days a very sudden increase in pressure occurs in the eye. As a result, the following symptoms can be seen:
1. Painful eye
2. Blue-and-white cornea
3. More blood vessels visible on the eye
4. A very wide pupil that is no longer small in response to light
5. Less or no eyesight
6. Enlarge bulging eye
Varieties in which glaucoma occurs
Primary glaucoma is often seen in the Basset Hound, Bouvier, American Cocker Spaniel, Husky and Entlebucher Sennenhund. Dogs with primary glaucoma must be excluded from breeding.
If your dog has an eye that is acutely blind or ‘blue’, the dog should be examined and treated by your veterinarian in the very near future!
Diagnosis of glaucoma
With an extensive eye examination and the measuring of the eye pressure, the diagnosis glaucoma is made.
Treatment of glaucoma
The treatment of glaucoma depends on the cause. The treatment consists in the first instance of the administration of ophthalmic drugs. Often, however, surgery will also be required. Unfortunately, there is a chance that the eye will still keep glaucoma despite rapid treatment. In 50% of cases, the eye with glaucoma eventually becomes blind. And in 25% of the cases the eye remains painful. If an animal does not react well to the eye pressure reducing medication, the eye should be removed altogether.
What is the prognosis for a dog with glaucoma?
If action is not taken in the very short term, an eye with glaucoma is definitely blind within 2-7 days. Animals where it is decided to remove the eye, can easily save with one eye. These animals would have had continuous pain without removal of the eye in question. If a dog has glaucoma on one eye, it is advisable to also have the other eye examined. If there is a hereditary form, the other eye must already be treated with eye pressure-lowering drops and it is advisable to have the dog regularly checked.