Have you ever seen a dog cautiously walking around, bumping into furniture or objects, with milky white eyes?
Chances are, this poor pup had glaucoma. According to MedVet, approximately 2% of canines in North America are diagnosed with glaucoma every year. While this number might seem low, glaucoma can lead to blindness in pets if ignored and drastically reduce their quality of life.
So, to avoid permanent eye damage – and keep your dog happy – it’s important to be able to recognize the signs early!
What is Glaucoma?
Tammy Hunter of VCA Animal Hospitals explains that glaucoma is a disease which affects a dog’s eyeballs. It can happen in two ways; either by being inherited genetically (also known as “primary glaucoma”) or “secondary” (from pressure, disease, or injury). Basically, fluid in the eye doesn’t drain correctly. Instead, it builds and builds and builds…increasing pressure on the eye and leading to disease.
Signs and Symptoms to Watch Out For
The good news is, glaucoma is very easy to recognize!
1. Cloudy Eyes
The eyes of a healthy dog will look bright and clear. If your pup begins to develop a cloudy whitish or blue color, it is likely a sign of advancing glaucoma.
2. Decreased vision
Does your dog seem lost? Are they disinterested in playing with toys? Not quite their usual perky self? Vision loss – even acute – can point to glaucoma.
3. Eye discharge
Watery fluid leaking from the eye is another telltale sign.
4. Blinking and squinting
All dogs blink, but if your pup’s eyes are narrowed more often than not, and they are blinking rapidly or constantly rubbing their face with a paw, this could be a warning to get checked for possible glaucoma onset.
Puffy eyes and redness in the white area of the eyeball should be taken seriously. Glaucoma inflammation can be painful for dogs. Don’t wait! Book an appointment with a veterinarian as soon as possible.
Are Some Dog Breeds More at Risk for the Disease?
Though all breeds can develop glaucoma, the disease it more likely to occur in certain dog breeds that are predisposed to it. If you own any of the following, pay extra careful attention to your dog’s eyes.
- Cocker Spaniel
- Siberian Husky
- Boston Terrier
Treatment Options for Dogs with Glaucoma
Unfortunately, there is no cure for dog glaucoma. However, acute to severe glaucoma can still be treated using a combination of medicine and adjustments to your dog’s daily routine to make them more comfortable and lesson any pain they may feel.
For example, something as simple as walking your dog using a harness can be a great help! Whereas a leash pulls the neck, a harness is a gentler way to guide a dog suffering from low vision. In addition, owners can be mindful of furniture placement. If you notice your dog bumping into tables and chairs, don’t rearrange your home too often. Allow your dog to draw a mental map of the layout. Pick up tripping hazards. These small acts of kindness will make a big difference to a dog with glaucoma!
Lastly, a vet can prescribe medication. Or suggest surgery. Your best bet is to talk to them early about options.
Although primary glaucoma is not preventable, secondary glaucoma is. As a loving pet parent, be mindful of your dog’s eyes and provide them with the best eye care possible to minimize their risk of developing glaucoma in the future.
They will thank you for it!