As you age, you begin to experience the obligatory aches and pains. Your body is unable to move in the same way it once did. These whole-body changes include changes in your eyes. Two common eye conditions include glaucoma and cataracts. These same eye conditions can occur in your pet. Therefore, it’s important for your animal to receive a regular eye exam, including a pet glaucoma screening. Certain dog breeds, such as cocker spaniels and poodles, are especially prone to cataracts and glaucoma. Even though the animals may possess symptoms, discussed below, they are capable of masking their pain, including loss of vision in one eye, and go about their day without your awareness.
A cataract is an abnormality in the eye that causes blurred vision. As cataracts become thicker and denser, they can result in blindness. Along with old age, cataracts are also the result of trauma, disease, and diabetes. The most common observable symptom a pet with cataracts exhibits is a cloudiness or a bluish-gray color in the eyes. This symptom also refers to another condition called nuclear sclerosis. Therefore, taking your pet to the vet to confirm the exact condition is the best course of action. A veterinary ophthalmologist can surgically replace your pet’s lens with plastic or acrylic ones, resolving your pet of unwanted symptoms. Untreated, cataracts may dissolve, causing painful inflammation in the eye. Additionally, cataracts may move into a free-floating stage, blocking natural drainage from the eye and, ultimately, leading to glaucoma.
Glaucoma involves pressure to the eye caused by improper fluid drainage from the eye back into the bloodstream. In time, the pressure buildup, which can be extremely painful for your pet, may cause permanent damage to the optic nerve, resulting in blindness. About 40% of animals are likely to become blind in the affected eye within one year, with or without treatment. More than 50% of animals with glaucoma in one eye are likely to develop complications in their other eye within eight months. As a result, preventative eye car is important even before glaucoma develops and also when glaucoma has only affected one eye.
Two types of glaucoma exist: sudden primary disease and glaucoma due to a secondary infection. Symptoms for the two forms of glaucoma include the following. You may be able to observe some of the symptoms in your pet, but others require a trip to the vet for a physical exam to measure the pressure within the eye and for possible imaging.
- Pressure within the eye
- Blinking of the eye
- Receding eyeball
- Dilated pupil or constriction of the pupil
- Redness of blood vessels in the eye
- Cloudy appearance of the eye
- Vision loss
Different courses of treatment exist depending on how far along the condition is, as well as the other medical conditions of your pet. Treatment options include prescription meds to stop the pressure, surgery to repair the optic nerve, a fluid drainage procedure known as cyclocryotherapy to prevent progression, or removal of the eye (if glaucoma has been long-term). After diagnosis and treatment, the vet will need to monitor your animal regularly to make sure you and your pet are able to manage the medications or the ramifications of any treatment plan.
Contact a Vet Near You
Animal Medical Center, an animal clinic in Somerset, PA, offers pet glaucoma screenings with experienced veterinarians. If you need to reach the Animal Medical Center for an appointment, call 814.443.6979. If you are not near AMC, contact a respected veterinarian in your area right away if you notice any of the above symptoms for glaucoma and cataracts. Ideally, set up regular eye exams for your pet in order to protect your loved one’s vision.