Why Do Dogs Develop Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a condition whereby the flow of fluids going to the eye changes, leading to damage to the optic nerve. The causes of glaucoma are varied, but they all result in increased pressure within the eye. Since the eye is a closed globe, the fluid within it has no place to go when too much builds up. The extra fluid puts pressure on the optic nerve and retina, leading to damage of these structures and ultimately to blindness if left untreated.
Types of Glaucoma in Dogs
Primary glaucoma is an inherited condition that is generally more severe than secondary glaucoma. It may result from a developmental defect, such as a poorly formed drainage canal in the front of the eye. Primary glaucoma can affect one or both eyes and usually occurs in dogs between 5 and 7 years old. This type of glaucoma can be present at birth, but it usually takes several years to develop.
Primary glaucoma strikes more often in certain breeds than in others for unknown reasons. Dogs most commonly affected are Basset hounds, Cocker spaniels, and Siberian huskies.
Secondary glaucoma occurs when something blocks the flow of liquid through the eye's internal drainage system, causing pressure buildup. Anything that causes swelling in or around the eye can lead to secondary glaucoma as they block fluid flow through the drainage system. Some triggers that may bring about secondary glaucoma in dogs may include:
- Inflammation caused by injury
- Chronic Retinal detachment
- Advanced cataracts
Symptoms of Glaucoma
There is a possibility that some dogs may not show any signs of glaucoma. Early signs of long-term glaucoma are so subtle that some owners are unaware of the changes. These include sluggish to slightly dilated pupils, early enlargement of the eye, and mild congestion of the veins in the conjunctiva.
Some of the common noticeable symptoms of glaucoma in dogs include:
- Severe eye pain
- Avoiding bright light
- Becoming head shy
- Weepy eyes
- Cloudy/blue eyes
- Red, bloodshot eyes
- Wide or uneven pupils
- Bulging eyes
Glaucoma is a problem that doesn't discriminate. It can develop in any breed of dog, which can happen at any age. If your pet is showing early signs of glaucoma, visit your veterinary clinic for treatment options that may help prevent your dog from developing permanent vision loss.
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