Aging dogs can develop many of the same problems that humans develop, and the eyes are no exception. Glaucoma can be inherited or caused by another eye problem. Glaucoma is often hard to detect in its early stages, but there are some things you can look out for. It can be treated, but often results in blindness or removal of the eye.

Glaucoma is the same in both humans and canines. There is fluid in the eyeball that is constantly produced and, simultaneously drained. Through continuous production and draining, this fluid (known as aqueous humor) creates and maintains even pressure throughout the eye. In cases of glaucoma, the balance is disturbed: the eye is producing more fluid than it is able to drain. This imbalance causes increased pressure, or glaucoma. If left untreated, glaucoma can cause blindness.

There are two types of glaucoma. Primary glaucoma is hereditary. It normally begins in one eye but will, eventually, effect the other. Some breeds are more susceptible to glaucoma than other breeds. For instance, Basset Hounds, Cocker Spaniels, Chow Chows, and Boston Terriers have all been known to develop the problem. If you have a breed that is known to have glaucoma, then talk to your veterinarian. There are tests that can take measurements of the eyes to detect the presence or possibility of glaucoma. Secondary glaucoma is a result of other eye problems. Often, a damaged eye that was once filled with blood can lead to glaucoma. Other causes include cancer of the eye, eye inflammation, and lens dislocation.

There are ways to detect glaucoma, although it is most noticeable in its later stages. The eye is painful to your pooch, so a change in behavior may also accompany the signs of glaucoma. Pay close attention to your dog’s eyes. Any type of discoloration should be examined. Often, the eye will appear unusually red or cloudy. An odd colored discharge may be excreted from the eye. The affected pupil will also be larger than the unaffected pupil. If you notice an enlarged pupil, then grab a flashlight. Shine it in your dog’s affected eye (on a low setting), and see if the pupil reacts. If not, then it is probably glaucoma. As the problem worsens, the eye will swell and may have a bluish tint. If you think your dog has glaucoma, or another eye problem, then take him to the veterinarian immediately. Remember that, because of the possibility of sight loss, this is an emergency and your pet is in pain.

Your veterinarian will be able to determine if your dog is experiencing glaucoma. Your vet can also instruct you on what steps need to be taken. Your dog may be prescribed eye drops that will help with the pain and discomfort. The eye drops do one of two things: they decrease production of the aqueous humor, or they increase drainage. As mentioned before, glaucoma can be treated, but not cured. So, the drops are only a temporary solution. Your vet may recommend surgery that can decrease the pressure in the eye. If the dog can still see, then this surgery is the best choice; in most cases, the surgery can save your pet’s vision. This can be expensive, but necessary. If the glaucoma has already developed too far, then removal of the eye may be required. It may seem excessive, but it is often the only way for your dog to get relief from the pain. By this stage, he is unable to see out of his eye, so keeping it is pointless.

Glaucoma is a serious condition that can take the eyesight of your pooch. It is not merely a problem; it is an emergency. If you have a breed that is prone to the problem, then start visiting your vet early. There are ways to detect glaucoma before it results in blindness. Other signs include a red or cloudy eye, an unresponsive pupil, and an enlarged eye. There are ways to treat glaucoma, but not cure it. Eye drops can help, but surgery is often required. Once the glaucoma gets passed a certain stage, removal of the eye is required. One eye or two, your pooch will still be a happy, pain-free companion!

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