What is Canine Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is an eye condition in which an increase of the intra-ocular pressure on the optic nerve causing inadequate fluid drainage in the eye. Depending on the form of Glaucoma, this eye condition can cause permanent blindness in your dog.
Primary glaucoma is an inherited condition affecting certain breeds, where the eye fluid drainage problems are linked to genetic abnormalities.
Breeds Typically Affected by Primary Glaucoma
- Cocker Spaniels
- Chow chows
- Great Danes
- Basset Hound
Secondary Glaucoma is a side effect of a secondary ocular disease the increased intraocular pressure.
Eye Disease that Causes Glaucoma
- Uveitis (Inflammation)
- Lens Luxation
- Retinal Detachment
- Watery Eyes
- Eye Pain
Symptoms of Glaucoma
Early symptoms of glaucoma are a lack of interest in playing or other behavior changes, you dog may become more irritable or lethargic. Visible signs are a constant rubbing of the eyes and face, squinting or blinking all of the time, your dog may have two visible different sized pupils and as the disease progresses your dog's pupils will become a cloudy white or blue.
How Glaucoma is Diagnosed
Glaucoma can be diagnosed with a combination of methods. Your vet will begin by testing the vision of your dog. After, measurements of the intra-ocular pressure will be taken, along with a detailed examination inside the eye and gonioscopy (a test that uses a special type of contact lens to look inside the eye in order to identify primary closed angle glaucoma). Ultrasound scanning of the eye could also be recommended if the vet is unable to see into the eye directly.
Is Glaucoma Reversible?
Oftentimes, glaucoma goes unnoticed as pets adapt very quickly to declining eyesight so the disease progresses past the point of treatment. If you are able to catch the symptoms of canine glaucoma, medications that can decrease fluid production and promote drainage can be prescribed to treat the increased pressure.
In more severe cases, surgery can be preformed by a veterinary ophthalmologist.
If the glaucoma has progressed to the point of blindness and your dog in extreme discomfort due to the increased pressure, the ophthalmologist may remove your dogs eye to remove the source of the pressure and pain.
How to Help A Blind Dog Get Around
If your dog does end up losing their eyesight due to glaucoma, blindness is a perfectly manageable condition! Dogs are able to adapt to going blind very easily. Some of the key things to consider to help your blind dog navigate without their sight is consider getting them a Blind Dog Halo. The Halo allows your dog to play, run, and generally be a normal dog without having to worry about hurting themselves by running into walls and furniture.
You will also want to avoid moving the furniture around, your pup will have the house mapped out in their mind and a change of layout will completely throw off your dog.
A blind dog can do everything a sighted dog can do! As you and your dog adapt to their blindness you will find not much about their day to day routine has to change.