Glaucoma is an eye condition that is found in both cats and dogs. Glaucoma is often occurs when the pressure within the eye is increased. This is when the fluid within the eye is produced at a faster rate than it is able to exit between the iris and the cornea. This high pressure within the eye can lead to many negative effects on the optic nerve and retina, which in some cases may lead to blindness. Although Glaucoma will first occur in only one eye, in many cases, the other eye will experience Glaucoma within a short period of time. There are two classifications of Glaucoma; primary and secondary.
If your pet has Glaucoma, they may demonstrate certain symptoms, including red or bloodshot eyes, vision loss, or in severe stages the eye may appear enlarged. At this severe stage of Glaucoma, the vision loss experienced by your pet is often permanent. If you suspect that your pet has glaucoma, immediately visit your veterinarian for an evaluation. Your veterinarian will diagnose your pet's condition based on a tonometry test that measures the pressure within your pet's eye. If your pet has glaucoma, your veterinarian will conduct several other tests to determine the type of glaucoma and the extent of your pet's vision loss.
Primary Glaucoma is hereditary, and is generally found in specific breeds of dogs, including Basset Hounds, Samoyeds, Beagles and Cocker Spaniels. Primary glaucoma is rarely found in cats. Secondary glaucoma occurs as a result of another ocular condition and is found in both dogs and cats. Conditions such as uveitis, displacement of the ocular lens, ocular cancers, cataracts and trauma to the eye may contribute to secondary glaucoma by decreasing fluid drainage from the eye.
The treatment of Glaucoma depends on a variety of factors, including the type of glaucoma, the severity of your pet's glaucoma, and the extent of your pet's vision loss. There are several different treatment options, ranging from laser eye surgery to medication. Surgery procedures are most often effective in the long term management of Glaucoma, and your veterinarian may recommend one after your pet's Glaucoma is controlled. Over-the-counter medications may also be used to treat Glaucoma; your veterinarian will likely recommend a treatment in the form of eye drops, although oral treatments for glaucoma is not unheard of. If you suspect that your pet has Glaucoma, it's important to take them to your veterinarian right away, as Glaucoma is a fast acting condition that can impair your pet's vision for life.