Glaucoma In Dogs

Definition of Glaucoma

It is a condition where the eyes generate pressure, and as a  result, causes improper drainage of fluids in the eyes. If in the long run, the condition remains untreated and becomes chronic, it can result in long-lasting damage to the eyes and even blindness.

Glaucoma in Dogs

It is a common condition in some genetically predisposed dog breeds. Some of these breeds are cocker spaniels, Samoyeds, chow chows, poodles, and Siberians. The fact is around forty percent of glaucoma affected dogs will become blind in the future, more accurately within the first year itself, with or without getting medical and surgical intervention.

Signs and Types

There are two types of glaucoma, namely the primary and the secondary. Symptoms of sudden primary glaucoma, where the eyes become unable to flush out fluid through the angles of filtration, are as follows:

  1. Massive burden within the eyes
  2. Frequent blinking of the eyes
  3. The eyeball may abate back into the eyes
  4. A reddish tinge in the white part of the eye
  5. Cloudy display at the front of the eyes
  6. Dilation of the pupils
  7. Loss of vision

The long-term variant of the disease:

  1. The growth of the eyeball
  2. Loss of vision
  3. Massive degeneration of the eyes

Secondary Glaucoma infections:

  1. Enormous burden within the eyes
  2. A reddish tinge in the white part of the eye
  3. Cloudy display at the front of the eyes
  4. Inflammatory accumulation of debris
  5. Possible narrowing of the pupils
  6. Possible tilting of the iris to any of the part of the eye, namely the cornea or the lens
  7. The edge of the iris in a circular way may stick to the lens

Some other Signs are:

  1. Repeated episodes of headaches, with heavy pressure in the head
  2. Reduction in appetite
  3. Change in the behavior and less interaction
  4. The decrease in the desire to play


Extreme pressure in the eyes will happen when the regular outflow of fluid in the eyes gets disrupted due to the main ocular diseases, like the abnormal development of the eye’s filtration angles, or as accompanying partner to other eye diseases, like luxation of the eye lenses, infection of the eye tissues, tumors of the eyes, or a sudden collection of blood at the front of the eyes due to an injury. According to surveys, secondary glaucoma is much more prevalent than primary glaucoma in dogs.

Test and Diagnosis

The owner will have to provide a complete history of the dog’s health along with the onset of symptoms. There may be a possible incident which may have preceded the condition in dogs. Injuries to the eyes, be it of any kind can accelerate the condition. The vet will test the pressure of the eyes using a tonometer superficially on the eyes. If the disease is a sudden occurrence, the vet will refer the owner to a vet ophthalmologist for a  detailed examination. The vet will evaluate the pressure of the filtration angles using a gonioscopy.

The expert will measure the anterior of the eyes. The pressure in the eye can measure up to forty-five to sixty-five mmHg. A measurement as high as this makes it a painful condition. The expert will also perform electroretinography to determine if the eye will remain blind despite receiving treatment. In the cases of secondary conditions, the expert can take the help of ultrasounds and Xrays to check if there is an abnormality within the eyes. According to experts, mostly both the eyes are affected, but not always.


The vet will probably prescribe multiple drugs to reduce the burden on the eyes. And to get it to the standard range as soon as possible, in order to save the vision. The dog may have a long-term condition, which was unnoticed by the owner, or may go undiagnosed before the general symptoms of the disease start to bother the dog. In such a scenario, the damaged optical nerve is beyond reparation and may indicate surgery.

The treatments vary according to the exact nature of the condition. The fluid may have drained, and the liquid producing cells have suffered alteration to stop fluid buildup within the eyes. It is called as cyclocyrotherapy, and partners with cold temperatures to kill the cells which produce intraocular fluid. If done in the initial stages, this process may slow or stop the progression. But in most of the cases, the eyes need to be removed. The surgeon may close the empty eye socket permanently, or fill the eye cavity with an orb.

Life after the Surgery

Most of the dogs with time will adjust to the loss of the eye(s). The owner will have to get a good conversation with the vet to help the dog transit, and the future responsibilities of the dog owner. In the later stages of the dog’s life, the owner will have to be its stick and make the dog’s indoor and outdoor life much more easier. The owner will always have to stay beside the dog for the rest of its life.

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