Glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness in middle-aged dogs and occurs in approximately 8% of dogs in the U.S. Normal healthy eyes contain and have a continuous flow of liquid substance called aqueous. In glaucoma, there is an obstruction to this flow and a consequent build-up of pressure inside the eye. Some cases of glaucoma are congenital while others develop secondary to infections, cataracts, tumors, etc. Certain breeds of dogs are more predisposed to this disease including the Cocker Spaniel, Beagle, Basset Hound and Siberian husky.
Symptoms of glaucoma may include pain, redness, or a bulging eye with a large pupil. Signs your dog may show you in the early stages of glaucoma re squinting, lethargy, or being head shy. The veterinarian can diagnose glaucoma readily with a pen-like device called tonopen which measures intraocular pressure. Glaucoma is treated with variety of topical medications as well as oral and intravenous medications. Unfortunately, the prognosis for vision in certain types of glaucoma is guarded and most dogs will ultimately require surgery to lower the pressures or to remove a blind and very painful eye.
Oftentimes, the symptoms of glaucoma are subtle initially and intraocular pressure can change rapidly. If you suspect that your pet is having problems with its eyes, this is an emergency and it is best to have it examined by a veterinarian as soon as possible. Early diagnosis and treatment are the keys to preserving vision and ultimately most dogs benefit from the care and expertise of a veterinary ophthalmologist.
Courtesy of Deepwoods Veterinary Clinic