Glaucoma in dogs is a serious eye condition that can lead to blindness if not treated. Unfortunately, the early symptoms of glaucoma are often masked by other conditions, so it’s important for dog owners to be aware of the risk factors and know how to spot the signs. In this article, we’ll discuss the symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of canine glaucoma. Let’s get started!
What is Glaucoma in Dogs?
Glaucoma is a condition in which the pressure inside the eye is elevated. This can cause damage to the optic nerve, which is responsible for transmitting visual information to the brain. If left untreated, glaucoma can lead to blindness.
There are two types of glaucoma in dogs: primary and secondary. Primary glaucoma is an inherited condition, while secondary glaucoma is caused by another underlying condition, such as uveitis (inflammation of the eye).
Glaucoma in dogs causes
- Uveitis: Uveitis is the most common cause of glaucoma in dogs. It’s an inflammation of the uvea, which is the middle layer of the eye. Uveitis can be caused by a variety of things, including infection, trauma, and autoimmune disease.
- Eye tumors: Tumors located in or around the eye can also cause glaucoma. The most common type of tumor that leads to glaucoma is called a ciliary body tumor. These tumors are usually benign (non-cancerous), but they can still put pressure on the optic nerve and lead to glaucoma.
- Intraocular bleeding: If there is bleeding inside the eye, it can also cause glaucoma. This can happen as a result of trauma, cancer, or other conditions.
- Anterior dislocation of lens: This is a condition in which the lens of the eye moves out of its normal position. It’s usually caused by trauma, but it can also be a congenital defect. Anterior dislocation of the lens puts pressure on the optic nerve and can lead to glaucoma.
- Damage to the lens: The lens is a clear, curved structure that helps focus light on the retina. It’s held in place by ligaments and muscles. If these structures are damaged, it can cause the lens to move out of position and put pressure on the optic nerve. This can lead to glaucoma.
What is intraocular pressure?
Intraocular pressure (IOP) is the pressure inside the eye. It’s measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg).
The normal IOP for dogs is 10-20 mmHg. However, some breeds are predisposed to glaucoma and may have an IOP that is outside of this range. For example, Basset Hounds typically have an IOP of 30-40 mmHg.
There are several risk factors for glaucoma in dogs. Breeds at highest risk include the Cocker Spaniel, Basset Hound, Beagle, Boston Terrier, Boxer, Brussels Griffon, Bulldog, Chow Chow, Dachshund, English Springer Spaniel, French Bulldog, Lhasa Apso, Miniature Poodle, Pekingese, Shih Tzu, and Staffordshire Bull Terrier.
Dogs with certain health conditions are also at increased risk for glaucoma. These include diabetes, hypothyroidism, and hyperadrenocorticism (Cushing’s disease).
Symptoms of Glaucoma in Dogs
The early signs of glaucoma are often subtle and can be easily mistaken for other conditions. common signs include:
- Eye redness
- Sensitivity to light
- Squinting or rubbing the eyes
- Watery eyes
- Cloudiness of the cornea (the clear outer layer of the eye)
- Enlargement of the eye
If you notice any of these signs, it’s important to take your dog to the vet right away for an evaluation. Early diagnosis and treatment are essential to preserving your dog’s vision.
The first step in diagnosing glaucoma is a complete physical examination and ophthalmic examination. This will allow your vet to rule out other conditions that could be causing the signs.
If glaucoma is suspected, further testing will be needed to confirm the diagnosis. This may include tonometry (measurement of intraocular pressure), gonioscopy (examination of the drainage angle of the eye), and ultrasound biomicroscopy (imaging of the internal structures of the eye).
The treatment for glaucoma depends on the type and severity of the condition. In most cases, medical therapy is necessary to reduce the pressure inside the eye. This may include the use of medications, such as beta blockers, prostaglandins, and carbonic anhydrase inhibitors.
In some cases, surgery may be necessary to relieve the pressure on the optic nerve. This may involve creating a new drainage pathway for fluid to exit the eye or removing part of the eye.
Prognosis for Dogs with Glaucoma
The prognosis for dogs with glaucoma depends on the underlying cause and how early the condition is diagnosed and treated. With proper medical management, many dogs can maintain their vision. Unfortunately, some dogs will eventually lose their sight despite treatment.
As you can see, glaucoma is a serious condition that can lead to blindness in dogs. If you notice any of the signs, it’s important to take your dog to the vet right away for an evaluation. With early diagnosis and treatment, many dogs can maintain their vision.