High Pressure: Glaucoma in Dogs

It’s hard to look into your pet’s eyes and not see the pure love and admiration that they have for us, their people. That might be why it is so heartbreaking when our pet patients are suffering from eye problems.

Glaucoma in dogs is a relatively common diagnosis and one that can result in the loss of vision and even the eye itself if not addressed. Animal Medical Hospital & 24-Hour Urgent Care Center knows how important your pet’s eyes are and is there to help in the event of glaucoma in dogs as well as other animal eye problems

Understanding Glaucoma in Dogs

Glaucoma is an ocular condition that occurs when the pressure inside the eye increases to a level above normal. This often painful problem happens when the fluid inside the eye, called aqueous humor, builds up in the eye due to either increased production or decreased drainage.

Glaucoma in dogs can happen for several reasons and often may come on quite suddenly. It can be:

  • Primary, caused by an inherited condition that affects fluid balance in the eye
  • Secondary to inflammation in the eye (called uveitis)
  • Sequential to cataract formation
  • Brought on by cancer of the eye
  • Related to some type of traumatic injury
  • Due to the displacement of the lens within the eye

No matter how it occurs, glaucoma in dogs results in increased pressure within the globe, leading to pain and vision loss.

It can sometimes be difficult to determine a cause for the increased pressure,  however we do know that certain breeds of dogs are genetically predisposed to glaucoma formation. These breeds include the arctic breeds like Huskies as well as Cocker Spaniels, Bassets, and Chow Chows.

Signs of Trouble

Eye problems of all kinds can appear very similarly. Especially with glaucoma, though, time is essential. When pressures spike, getting them down quickly is essential to preserving vision and alleviating pain. 

Call us right away if you notice that your pet is experiencing:

  • Red eyes
  • Cloudy eye(s)
  • Squinting
  • Pawing or rubbing at the eye
  • Sudden vision loss
  • Signs of pain
  • Obvious eye trauma

Even a day or two of increased pressure in the eye can damage the optic nerve and destroy the possibility of the return of vision. Eye problems are always a pet emergency, as you can’t tell what is going on just by looking at the eye. 

Once your pet is being assessed by our expert team, we will often recommend testing including ocular pressures which are obtained using a tonometry pen. 

If we determine that glaucoma is present, we will search for underlying causes as well as make it a priority to get the pressures down quickly, often using topical medications.

Glaucoma often needs long-term management. Sometimes, despite our best efforts, surgical removal of one or both eyes (enucleation) is the best option to provide a pet with a comfortable existence. 

Glaucoma in dogs is an often serious condition. Its outcome often depends on you as the caretaker to recognize and seek care quickly. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you think something is not right, we want the best for your pet, too, and are here to help.