Vision is a highly valued commodity for those of us blessed with functioning eyes. Our dogs and cats have highly developed visual skills that are important and should be preserved if possible. In this blog, I will discuss one important condition that pet owners should be aware to prevent and detect a potentially devastating eye disease.
Glaucoma is a nasty process that closes the drainage mechanism of the eye, leading to a painful build-up of pressure in the eye which will eventually lead to blindness. The symptoms are a red, bulgy, cloudy, and painful eye. The treatment for a chronic glaucoma is enucleation (removal of the eye) or removing the contents of the eye and putting an implant inside the eye for cosmetic effect. Acute glaucoma can be treated if the cause is dealt with quickly!
There are several diseases that can cause glaucoma including diabetes, chronic eye inflammation called uveitis, cancers and trauma to list a few. If your dog is suddenly pawing at his runny, red eye seek help from your local Dartmouth veterinarian promptly.
Some breeds are genetically susceptible to developing glaucoma; Beagles, Bassetts, Poodles, Cocker Spaniels, Springer spaniels, Arctic breeds, Shar-pei, Chow Chow, Dalmations and Bouvier de Flanders. In these breeds there is no underlying disease or injury and once one eye is affected the second has a 50% chance of becoming afflicted within two years.
If you are a Halifax or Dartmouth pet owner with one of the at risk breeds, have your dog’s intra-ocular eye pressure tested at least every year after middle age. Regular intra-ocular pressure measurement is definitely part of our recommendations for all senior pets. If our Full Circle veterinarians notice a gradual rise in pressures over time, they will start preventative treatment. Early identification of rising intra-ocular pressures permits medical treatment that can reduce inflammation and lower sub-clincal pressure. This medical care can also involve herbal, nutritional and homeopathic support as well as pharmaceutical treatments. Our aim will be to alleviate pain and reduce the chances that your dog will need an eye removal.
So far I have not mentioned cats… Glaucoma is rare in cats compared to dogs and is usually secondary to a severe inflammation or neoplasia. The Siamese, European shorthair and Burmese may have primary glaucoma and would also benefit from regular ocular pressure measurement.