Glaucoma in Dogs

Glaucoma in Dogs

When it comes to your dog’s eye health, it is important to make sure that you understand the various different types of ailments that can affect your dog’s sight. Glaucoma in dogs is one of the most common eye problems that canines face. Glaucoma is essentially an elevation of pressure in the eye. It can affect their vision, and it can even lead to blindness. There are two categories of this condition, including both primary glaucoma and secondary glaucoma.

Primary glaucoma is more common in certain purebred dogs, and it is thought to be hereditary. Here are a few breeds that are more prone to this condition:

  • Beagles
  • Norwegian Elkhounds
  • Cocker Spaniels
  • Samoyed
  • Chow
  • Basset Hound

Secondary glaucoma is typically a result of some other underlying medical condition. Eye injury, intraocular tumors, inflammation and lens dislocation are all common ailments that lead to secondary glaucoma.

Getting a proper diagnosis early on is important, because when and if there is permanent damage done to the optic nerve, restoration of vision is not possible. If you have early, aggressive treatment, vision may not be lost. If you suspect any vision issues, contact your vet immediately.

Diagnosing Glaucoma in Dogs

Diagnosing glaucoma in dogs is based on a few different tests that can be done in your veterinarian’s office. They will take a look at their medical history and site any clinical signs that may be evident. They will also do some eye exams to rule out any other issues that may be causing your pup problems.

Here are a few of the clinical signs and symptoms that your vet will look for:

  • excessive tears
  • green or yellow discharge
  • reddened eyes
  • large pupils
  • excessive sleeping
  • excessive irritability

Treatment Options for Glaucoma in Dogs

Glaucoma is not a very easy ailment to treat in dogs. While people can just put drops in their eyes to help get rid of the condition, it isn’t as easy with pets. Typically, surgery is necessary. While your vet may opt to try certain medications and eye drops at first, it isn’t often effective. Saving your dog’s sight will require you to seek medical attention right away. If they still have their vision, here are a few treatment options that are available:

1. Laser Cyclophotocoagulation

Laser surgery is one of the most common procedures because it doesn’t require any incisions. Many times, one round of this laser treatment will be effective when it comes to treating the glaucoma, but sometimes it must be repeated a second time. Talk to your veterinarian to see if laser is the way to go. While it may sometimes be more costly, it typically has the best outlook.

2. Cyclocryotherapy

Cyclocryotherapy in Dogs is a procedure that uses freezing to protect and correct the eye. It helps to improve drainage and decrease the pressure in the eye. There are a few common complications that you will want to be aware of, including retinal detachment, inflammation, and in some cases subsequent surgeries.

3. Anterior Chamber Shunts

Some veterinarians actually recommend implanting a small valve known as an anterior chamber shunt into the eye. The tube offers better drainage, thus taking some of the pressure from the eye. While it is a pretty simple procedure, not every veterinarian will do it. Some veterinarians feel that it is more risky than it is successful. This is because there is the risk of scar tissue that could affect your dog’s vision.


Talk to your vet to see which treatment option is going to be best for your pup. Some veterinarians may even recommend pairing treatment options to ensure the best possible outcome.

If your dog has already lost their vision, there are a few options for treatment that you may consider as well. They include:

  • prosthetic eyes
  • ciliary ablation
  • surgical removal of the eye

Prognosis of Glaucoma in Dogs

If your dog has been diagnosed with glaucoma, you probably want to know about the outlook when it comes to your dog’s overall health. Glaucoma is typically not ever diagnosed early enough to prevent any sort of vision damage (especially in at least the affected eye). Once you get a diagnosis, it is so very important for you to follow through with any recommendations that your vet may give you. If you do this, then you will be able to reduce the risk of surgery and loss of vision. That doesn’t mean that it is a guarantee, but aggressive treatment is a must.

Glaucoma in dogs is one of the leading causes of blindness in canines. Since it is so difficult to treat, it is important that you stay on top of your dog’s regular healthcare. If you are concerned, don’t wait around. You don’t want to wait until it is too late.

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One Response

  1. That’s interesting that you can use lasers to treat the dog’s eyes just like you can for humans. That procedure sounds almost like LASIK. I’ll have to remember that it’s not too bad for the dog to have surgery if my dog ever gets glaucoma as he gets older.

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