Dog Glaucoma


You might be surprised to learn that glaucoma isn’t just a problem for humans.

In fact, many dogs are at a high risk of developing this devastating condition as they age. Before you panic, take some time to learn about dog glaucoma, the signs of glaucoma in dogs, and how to prevent glaucoma in dogs.

canine glaucoma

With the right knowledge and preparation, you can make sure your pup stays as healthy as possible.

Here’s everything you need to know…

What is Dog Glaucoma?

Canine glaucoma is a painful condition in which the pressure on the eyes is increased.

When this occurs, the dog’s eyes are not able to drain fluid properly, and the pressure just continues to increase. When left untreated, this will eventually lead to permanent damage including blindness.

The two types of glaucoma are secondary and primary.

If the glaucoma is secondary, this means there is an underlying condition causing the pressure buildup. Secondary glaucoma is more common in cats than dogs, however.

The Signs of Glaucoma in Dogs

Although the symptoms of glaucoma can vary slightly depending on the type, these are the most common signs that your dog may experience:

  • Frequent, abnormal blinking of the eye
  • The blood vessels in the whites of the eyes becoming more red than normal
  • A cloudy appearance in the front of the eye, ranging from mild to severe
  • Dilated pupils
  • Pupils not responding to light
  • Enlarged eyeballs
  • Vision loss
  • Tearing from the eye
  • Anti-social behavior caused by excessive pain

If your dog experiences any symptoms of canine glaucoma, it’s important to contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.

glaucoma in dogs

Photo by Joel Mills (CC BY-SA 3.0 licence)

Treating Glaucoma in Dogs

Glaucoma treatment in dogs varies depending on the type and severity of the condition.

The good news is that it can be treated if caught early enough. The bad news is that it is much harder to treat in dogs than it is in humans, and tends to be much more painful.

Therapies for glaucoma include opening the drain, which can be difficult in both dogs and cats, as well as decreasing the fluid levels in the eye.

Take a look at this video to find out more:

Medications for Glaucoma

The first step is prescribing one of many drugs that will reduce the pressure in your dog’s eyes. The goal is to lower the pressure until it is in the normal range to avoid vision loss.

There are many different medications prescribed to dogs with glaucoma:

  • Topical drops – usually given up to three times a day
  • Oral medications – beta blockers and diuretics
  • Corticosteroids – used to control inflammation of the eye
  • Antibiotics – used to clear infection

Unfortunately, many cases of dog glaucoma go untreated due to misdiagnoses and late onset of symptoms.

When this happens, the fluid may have to be drained surgically using a procedure known as cyclocryotherapy. This treatment uses extremely cold temperatures to halt the production of intraocular fluid.

If done soon enough, this can slow down progression of the disease, giving your pup more time.

Most long-term cases do result in removal of the eye eventually. When the eye is removed, the socket will often be filled with an orb or closed up entirely.

Although losing an eye can be devastating, dogs generally adjust well with time.

Your veterinarian will be able to provide tips and support so that you can help your dog adjust at home and return to normal activity as soon as possible.

dog glaucoma

By Pete (CC BY-SA 2.0 licence)

How to Prevent Dog Glaucoma

There is no guaranteed way to ensure your dog will not get glaucoma.

Routine examinations, however, can help detect it in the early stages, giving your dog a better quality of life. Any changes in your dog’s intraocular pressure can be an early sign of glaucoma and if caught early, treatments are much more likely to work. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. If your dog is experiencing even one of the symptoms noted above, your veterinarian should know.

If your dog has glaucoma in only one eye, make sure you stay up-to-date on veterinarian appointments and follow all directions.

You may become very frustrated and tired of having to monitor your dog’s eyes constantly, but it is important that you treat your dog’s infected eye daily as directed and try to provide a calm, stress-free environment. This is important for both your pet and yourself.

As stated above, losing one or both eyes due to severe glaucoma is not the end of the world for you or your pet.

Most dogs will adjust very quickly. The best thing you can do at this point is make sure you’re keeping your dog comfortable and giving them any medication prescribed.

Glaucoma can be very painful so oftentimes removing the eyes provides extreme relief for the dog.

As long as you provide love, comfort, and keep the headaches away, your dog will be back to normal again in no time.

Has your dog had glaucoma?

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