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Dog Glaucoma

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Dog Glaucoma

Signs and Symptoms

Dog Glaucoma manifests itself in dogs much the same way as it does in humans. When the aqueous humor, which is the fluid the eye produces, is unable to pass through the eye, pressure begins to build and symptoms will start to occur. It's a matter of increased fluid being produced and decreased fluid draining away. The pressure that builds in the eye due to this imbalance is called glaucoma.

Types of Glaucoma

The different types of glaucoma are pigmentary, open angle, closed angle, and goiodysgenis glaucoma. Glaucoma can be the primary disease or one that is the result of another disease process in the body of the dog or possibly even an eye injury. Some of the causative factors can be Dog Cancer, trauma, advanced cataracts or detached retina.

Signs and Symptoms

Early symptoms of glaucoma are numerous. Your dog may have a severe headache that is believed to be worse than that in humans. However, since your dog obviously cannot ask you for headache medicine, they will probably manifest these pain symptoms with other behavioral changes that are not normal for your dog to usually exhibit. Your dog may show disinterest in food, play or will be just plain irritable. You may also notice some general loss of vision, dilated pupils, cloudy eyes, increased tearing or bloodshot eyes in your dog. Often there is a sensitivity to light that is characterized by squinting when out in the sun. If left untreated, it can result in bulging eyes and blindness in that affected eye. Early diagnosis is essential to prevent progression of the disease process.

Photo of a dog with glaucoma. Symptoms seen here include buphthalmos (enlargement of the eye), corneal edema, deep corneal vascularization, and episcleral injection. The large upper eyelid mass is probably a Meibomian gland adenoma.


Treatments vary as do expectations. It depends on the cause and type of glaucoma that has afflicted your pet. In order to obtain an accurate and proper diagnosis, you dog must be seen by a canine ophthalmologist. Before the medical tests are performed, sedation will be used to do the tests accurately.

When diagnosis is done, treatments vary according to the diagnosis. Although treatments are available, they will help your pet only temporarily, resulting in the need for eventual surgery.

Non-surgical treatments may involve administration of eye drops to relieve the pressure and help to decrease the production of the fluid in the eye. Oral medications are also used, mainly in the category of diuretics which will also help decrease the production of fluid in the eye. In the event that medication is not sufficient to decrease the pressure, surgery may have to be performed.

If vision is still present there are several procedures that can be done. One is a drainage implant; the other is injection of an antibiotic to effectively kill the cells that are producing the fluid in the eye. This will usually leave the eyeball cloudy and smaller. Another option is insertion of an implant. This can be either a semi-artificial eye or complete removal of the eye.

If permanent blindness has occurred, the eye may be removed and a fake eye inserted. It can be one that allows the eyelid to open and close or one that will include sewing the eyelids shut. In either case the dog will remain blind and, sadly there is no present cure for that. Both of these procedures are extremely costly. Often additional surgeries may be indicated.

Ideally the dog will be diagnosed early and eye removal will not be necessary. The leading cause of blindness is canine glaucoma. It is a serious condition and can cause irreversible damage quickly. Any signs of the disease should prompt you to visit a canine ophthalmologist immediately.

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