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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Glaucoma and your dog

This isn’t an easy post to write. We pride ourselves on being not just good, but involved, devoted, educated, aware dog owners, so having a young – three years old – dog show up with aggressive glaucoma in one eye over Christmas was devastating. The other eye has been checked and also has primary (genetic) glaucoma and its untreated pressure did touch on the lower end of the glaucoma/ eye pressure range.

December 2010 010After spending a month in survival mode – for the humans, not the eye… we lost that fight probably before we even knew we were at war – it was time to educate ourselves on canine glaucoma so we are fully equipped to face the almost inevitable day when the remaining eye also spikes into that dangerous, damaging pressure range. Now that we know the basics, it’s time to pass them along, and hopefully help someone else spot the warning signs faster, and in time to save both eyes. (Photo taken 12-26-10)

I have to pause here to be sure everyone knows we have the best vets – not just in my opinion, but according to the AAHA’s accreditation – around, and Sissy – our one eyed-girl – has very regular visits for her allergies. We didn’t miss anything; primary glaucoma is just that hard-hitting. In fact, we’re very lucky that our veterinary practice has specialized eye care equipment and the vet we saw on December 27th trusted her hunch and checked those eye pressures.

January 2011 011While our eye surgeon is working on an article to share with any of our doggie friends who want to publish a little something on their blogs, in their rescue or breed groups’ newsletters, etc., I’ve cobbled together a little something on what to look for. I must stress that early intervention is critical, so if you see ANY of these signs, please don’t delay and call the vet right away.

Rubbing the eyes
Redness in the whites of the eyes
Any deformity of the eye (an advanced symptom)
Cloudiness of the eye (also advanced)
Excessive blinking and/or tearing
Bumping into things or suddenly refusing to jump up or down off of familiar spots (also advanced)

You can see why we didn’t rush to the vet when these symptoms appeared in our allergic to the world girl on Christmas Eve. (There was no deformity or cloudiness until January 1, after treatment had begun.) If you have a dog with allergies, I’d still recommend talking to your vet about glaucoma and general eye health, because I haven’t touched on – and am not well-versed on – secondary glaucoma, which is caused by something other than bad genes, such as trauma or untreated eye conditions.

January 2011 005

Sissy has given me permission to share all photos within this post, some of which have not been posted in blogland before, because she really does want to help other dogs avoid the serious pain glaucoma causes, along with the torture of lifelong eye drops daily, not to mention the sad surgery… I haven’t sited sources, but if you want or need more information, I can share my saved favorites upon request.


  1. I'm so sorry to hear about Sissy's eye problems. I appreciate you sharing this information - it is very helpful!

  2. We have been through the agony of having a dog with glaucoma that did not respond to treatment. Lucky's glaucoma was caused by damage to his optic nerve during ear surgery. He lost one eye after a few weeks of trying to control the pain unsuccessfully and the other about a year later. Both very sudden and very painful. Thankfully he did pretty well as a blind dog for several years.

    Great PSA for dog owners.

  3. Nice post, very informative and helpful. This is a great blog, you do such wonderful things online!

  4. Poor Sissy. Thanks for sharing all of this great information.

    Nubbin wiggles,

  5. It'a always good to have eyes checked if you are worried. Often it's nothing serious but if it is things can go downhill in a hurry!

  6. Thanks for sharing this vital information with all of us. Kisses to your babes.

  7. Thanks for sharing this important information.

  8. Hello!! Good information that you've given. One of our senior Goldens that we've had for 3 years was diagnosed with glaucoma about 2 years ago. His was caused by uveitis--Originally we thought his eye problems were allergies--But after spending more than $250 a week for a couple of months on medication to try and relieve the pressure, we decided on a non surgical approach and did an Intravitreal Gentamicin Injection. While not as successful of a treatment, thankfully for him it worked.

    Like you, I encourage dog owners to keep looking for the answers if they feel that their pup isn't getting any better, or if they suspect something else may be going on with their eyes--That's what I did, and I am so glad I did!

  9. my rescue puppy has a bulgy eye due to injury at 6 weeks. I can't decide if to keep her on meds, do the Gentamicin injection or have it removed. I don't feel she is in pain but vet is afraid it will get injured in the yard or playing with other dog


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