Glaucoma is a disease of the eye that results in increased pressure within the eye. Glaucoma is more common in dogs than cats, but both species can be affected by it.
Primary glaucoma is most commonly seen in certain dog breeds such as Poodles, Cocker Spaniels, and Basset Hounds due to their anatomy, which causes an obstruction of drainage from the anterior chamber into the canal of Schlemm. If your pet has primary glaucoma, there are treatment options available, but it can be expensive and time-consuming for both owner and pet alike.
The Most Common Cause Of Blindness In Dogs
Glaucoma is the most common cause of blindness in dogs, and it's estimated that more than three million American pets are at risk for developing the disease. In fact, glaucoma is known to affect almost half of all dogs over age 11 and can interfere with their ability to see by causing pressure on the eyeball to increase over time. This increased pressure can lead to blindness if left untreated.
Fortunately, there are pet medications and surgical options available to treat this condition, and they're usually effective. You'll want to get your pet signed up for a yearly visit with their ophthalmologist so they can check their eyesight every year and make sure nothing has changed since last year's checkup.
Caring For a Pet With Primary Glaucoma
Caring for a pet with primary glaucoma can be difficult, but it is not impossible. The first thing to do is to make sure that your pet gets regular eye exams. If you notice any changes in your pet's eyes, call the veterinarian and schedule an appointment as soon as possible.
Primary glaucoma is caused by increased pressure in the eye, which can cause damage to the optic nerve and lead to blindness if left untreated. There are two types of glaucoma: primary open-angle glaucoma and angle-closure glaucoma. Angle-closure glaucoma is more common in cats than dogs, but both types of glaucoma require regular eye exams from a veterinarian who specializes in ophthalmology (the study of eyes).
Your veterinarian will administer eye drops for cats that reduce eye pressure, which may be accompanied by an injection of a steroid directly into the eye pet medicine called dexamethasone sodium phosphate (DSP). These medications help slow down or stop further vision loss from developing until surgery can be performed to remove excess fluid from behind your pet's iris.
Primary Glaucoma Can Be Hard To Diagnose
The diagnosis is difficult because the symptoms of primary glaucoma are similar to those of other eye conditions. Your veterinarian will conduct a thorough examination of your pet’s eyes, including an eye chart test and evaluation for redness or inflammation. In addition, blood tests can help determine if there is an underlying systemic disease that may be causing glaucoma.
A number of diagnostic tests are available to evaluate dogs with suspected primary glaucoma: ultrasound, MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), CT scan, or electroretinography (ERG). These tests are typically not needed unless surgery has failed to improve vision or if additional treatment options are needed.
How Does Glaucoma Affect Your Pet?
Glaucoma is a disease of the eye that causes your pet's eyesight to worsen over time. It's not curable, but it can be managed with pet medicines, dog eye drops, and surgery.
Glaucoma causes the formation of fluid in the front chamber of the eye (anterior chamber). This fluid buildup creates a pressure buildup and damages nerve tissue, causing pain and blindness in some cases. In others, glaucoma may cause cataracts or even seizures if left untreated; some pets experience both blindness and seizures as symptoms of their disease.
Glaucoma is one of dogs' most common causes of blindness, but it can be treated and managed. Since the condition is inherited, breeders should be careful about selecting parents with low risk for primary glaucoma. However, there are still risks even if your pet does not have this disease in their family history. If you think your dog has glaucoma or might be at risk for it because of its breed, get them checked out.