Glaucoma in Dogs and Cats

The eye is one of the most amazing organs! Unfortunately, in pets and humans alike, there can be problems with the eyes. One eye problem shared by humans and pets alike is Glaucoma. Glaucoma is an increase in intraocular pressure which is painful and can lead to blindness. The pressure inside the eye is commonly called intraocular pressure (IOP) and is measured by tonometry. At Animal Clinic of Columbus, we use a Tonopen to determine the IOP. We are providing this measurement FREE all month.

In dogs, Glaucoma can be primary or secondary. Primary glaucoma is inherited and is common in many dog breeds such as the Chow Chow, Bassett Hound, Shih Tzu, Jack Russell Terrier, Shar Pei, Cocker Spaniel and many arctic breeds such as Malamutes and Huskies. Secondary glaucoma is caused by another disease process inside the eye leading to a blockage in the normal recycling of the fluid inside the eye itself. Things such as “uveitis” (inflammation in the vascular layers of the eye), lens luxation or displacement, cataracts, and retinal detachment are common causes of secondary glaucoma. Cats usually get secondary glaucoma.

Signs of glaucoma include a painful eye – your dog or cat may squint a lot, be sensitive to light, or flinch if you pet them too close to the affected eye. Other symptoms include swelling or enlargement of the eyeball, “bloodshot” appearance, and cloudiness to the normally clear cornea. Often times, the good eye is able to adapt so well, that we may not notice the bad eye is actually blind. Many dogs and cats have already lost vision in one eye by the time glaucoma is diagnosed. Unfortunately, in most cases the other eye will also become glaucomatous within a matter of time.

Treatment can be medical or surgical, depending on the cause of your pet’s glaucoma. Medical management includes minimizing stress to your pet, walking them on a harness instead of a leash (which keeps pressure off the jugular veins, thereby decreasing pressure in the eyes), various ophthalmic drops or ointments and oral supplements. Surgical treatments could include correction of cataracts or luxated lenses, laser treatments to open the filtration angle and restore fluid recycling inside the eye, or enucleation (removal) of the blind affected eye.

For more detailed information on Glaucoma, please visit the Glaucoma @ Animal Eye Care website – this is an excellent article, complete with pictures!

Stay Happy, Stay Healthy!

Dr. Daisy


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