Dealing With Glaucoma in Dogs
There are many diseases that dogs can suffer from. In some instances they can be cleared up with little medication and treatment, such as eye infections. There are of course other diseases that take extensive treatment. Glaucoma is more than just an eye infection. In fact your dog doesnt have to suffer from eye infections to develop glaucoma. We will look at the different reasons for glaucoma to form, what it is, and of course what treatment may exist to make your dog more comfortable.
Glaucoma is a condition of the eye in dogs when there is a fluid build up in the eye. Every eye secrets a fluid that helps it stay moist as well as move in the eye socket. With glaucoma the build up of the fluid can actually cause under pressure in the eye in various spots. It can affect the retina, the lens, and the blood vessels attached to the lens. There are three types of glaucoma: open angle, narrow angle, and mesodermal dysgenesis. Depending on the dog breed you have you may experience one of these types of glaucoma. It has been shown that there are certain breeds that are more affected with glaucoma such as beagles, poodles, basset hounds, cocker spaniels, and Samoyed. This by no means is a full list of dogs that can develop glaucoma, but is a list with the most common breeds that contract the disease. We have discussed the reason for the disease to occur, but not really the cause. After all why do some dogs produce more fluid than others resulting in the disease? The actual cause like many diseases is unknown. It has been linked to a genetic disorder as well as eye infections. In some cases it could be a lack of proper formation of the eye, a mutation of cells, or just a decrease in proper nutrients for the diet.
It is important to understand the symptoms your dog will have if they have the disease so that you can get them treated as soon as possible. There are early signs of glaucoma that include inflammation, squinting with the dogs eyes, pain, tearing of the retina, and cloudy vision. They may even have a dilated fixed pupil. In other words the pupil will be large and the eye probably has lost motor function. It can be difficult to diagnose some of the symptoms like pain, but usually a sensitivity to light that they didnt have before is one indication that they have an eye problem. You will also find that the dog will have trouble walking. They may become clumsier, such as walking into things that have always been there, but they now cannot see. Glaucoma is a degenerative disease. This means that left untreated the dog can become blind. There are a few treatments that will help reduce the inflammation caused by the fluid increase.
The first treatment a vet will usually try is an injection of antibiotic into the eye. The medication is supposed to help reduce any inflammation that has occurred as well as take care of any infection. This is not always the best medication because it can be toxic to the retina causing blindness. There are also surgical procedures that you may wish to try. These procedures allow for a small tube to be inserted into the eye to help the flow of fluid drain away from the eye. This can be a costly procedures and often times owners elect not to have the surgery. There are other medications that are anti- inflammatory that can be used orally. These are not as effective. You also have a choice of eye drops to help reduce the inflammation in the eye.