Understanding Canine and Feline Glaucoma: Causes, Symptoms, Treatments, and Care Options

Whether you know someone with glaucoma or not, it is pretty well known that glaucoma is a serious ocular disease that affects more than just us humans. Our feline and canine companions suffer from this sight-threatening condition, which is why our Cloud Peak Clinic has a vested interest in educating our community. Our technology has come a long way since glaucoma has first been identified, meaning our furry friends do not have to silently suffer ever again! This blog aims to shed light on essential glaucoma information about the disease, its symptoms, available treatments, and post-diagnosis care. 

If you need immediate veterinary intervention or advice, stop by our Cloud Peak Clinic ASAP! If you can’t make it through our doors, give us a call at (307) 347-2781 to reach us directly. Let us know how we can improve your furry friend’s quality of life. 

What is Glaucoma?

You may have heard of glaucoma, but understanding the disease will better prepare you if your pet develops eye disease. While it typically presents itself in mid-life or senior dogs, felines and canines of all ages, breeds, and healths could develop glaucoma. This disease is characterized by a pressure increase in the eye, better known as increased intraocular pressure, or IOP. With the extraneous pressure, the animal could deal with a myriad of symptoms, but the most harmful possible effect is damaging the optic nerve. The optic nerve is responsible for sending the visual information your eye gathers to the brain, making it an essential part of sight. When the nerve is compressed, the animal (or person) will begin to lose their vision permanently. Glaucoma can be broadly categorized into two types: primary and secondary glaucoma. 

  • Primary Glaucoma: This type is entirely hereditary, with certain breeds having a higher predisposition. When it comes to feline glaucoma, Siamese cats are the only breed that disproportionately contract the disease. On the other hand, canine breeds like Cocker Spaniels, Basset Hounds, and Siberian Huskies tend to suffer from glaucoma more than other breeds. In primary glaucoma, both eyes are usually affected with gradual eye loss that emerges later in life. 
  • Secondary Glaucoma: As opposed to the first type, secondary glaucoma is a result of eye trauma or underlying health conditions. The disease can be more prevalent in pets that have uveitis, lens luxation, cataracts, or diabetes. Certain drugs can also cause glaucoma in your pet, so be sure to thoroughly discuss side effects with your veterinarian. Depending on what triggers the glaucoma, one or both eyes can be affected either suddenly or gradually. 

With this information in mind, medicine has advanced to the point where early intervention may prevent vision loss and chronic optical issues. To ensure that proper medical attention can be given, monitor your pet and contact your vet if you notice anything out of the ordinary. If you have any immediate concerns, utilize Cloud Peak Clinic’s emergency hours by dialing (307) 347-2781 to speak to a professional. 

Canine and Feline Glaucoma Requires Immediate Veterinary Intervention

Common Symptoms

As discussed, glaucoma can be a scary and sudden experience for you pet, which is why your companion should have their eyes comprehensively examined to catch any early signs or problems. Regardless of their medical history, you should contact a professional if you notice any of the following symptoms:

  • Bluish or cloudy eye appearance 
  • Eye Redness
  • Increased tear production
  • Increased pawing at the eye 
  • Increased face touching 
  • Bulging eyes
  • Frequent disorientation
  • Dilated pupils that do not respond to light changes 

If you notice any of these symptoms, it is crucial that you seek your veterinarian’s help immediately. 

Veterinarian Intervention

If a pet is suffering from any of the aforementioned symptoms, the immediate next step is to seek a professional diagnosis. Once brought to the clinic, the vet will begin a physical assessment that leads to an ocular examination. These two tests will give the professionals more information about how the eyes are being affected. To reach a glaucoma diagnosis, they will need to measure the pressure within the eye. (To learn more specific information about pressure testing, check out this link.) Once the glaucoma has been diagnosed, prompt and professional treatment is crucial to preserve the animal’s vision and quality of life. Because the disease cannot be cured, it is essential to manage the disease’s progression and the animal’s discomfort through veterinarian-approved treatment methods. Some of the most common are:

  • Eye Drops: Veterinarians will commonly prescribe medicated eye drops that will reduce some of the intraocular pressure. Prescriptions like prostaglandin analogs, beta-blockers, and carbonic anhydrase inhibitors will effectively increase eye drainage or decrease fluid production. 
  • Oral Medications: In conjunction with eye drops, oral medication may be necessary to properly manage glaucoma and its diverse symptoms. 
  • Surgery: In cases where medication and eye drops are not effective, surgical intervention may be necessary. Laser therapy and drainage devices are the two most common, and least intrusive, surgeries performed. To release some of the pressure behind the eye, cyclocryotherapy may be the best case scenario. 
  • Enucleation: In the most severe cases, complete eye removal may be the most humane choice to make. Often, enucleation is necessary if the eye has already lost most of its vision or if it causes the animal significant, untreatable pain. 

For more information about the various treatment options available, contact Cloud Peak Veterinary Services. With our modern technology and experienced hands, we will provide your animal with the best care possible, keeping them healthy and happy for longer! Fill out a contact form today. 

Care and Management

While we have already discussed the importance of veterinary intervention and their advised treatment plans, providing proper care for your companion is equally essential for a great quality of life. Here’s a list of common management practices that you can use to your advantage: 

  • Regular Veterinary Check-Ups: By consistently meeting with your vet, they will provide you with important health updates. With regular check-ups, your vet will be able to monitor your pet’s ocular health and make the appropriate adjustments to the treatment plan. 
  • Medication Compliance: Depending on your vet’s advice, they may prescribe eye drops or oral medications to mitigate symptoms and further damage. Consistently providing your animal with as directed medication will yield much better results than occasional medication. 
  • Minimize Stress: When an animal’s brain is stressed, often that emotional response will negatively affect the rest of the body, making minimal stress crucial for the recovery process. By preventing your pet from experiencing as much stress as possible, you will be preventing exacerbated glaucoma symptoms. 
  • Safe Environment: While your animal is becoming accustomed to their change in vision, ensure that their environment is safe to maneuver. Once vision changes, animals will often rely on memorizing their surroundings, so avoid moving furniture and other common objects to avoid injury. 
  • Specialized Diet: In some special cases, veterinarians may recommend a specific diet to provide your pet with the nutrients they need for recovery. 

Your furry friend deserves a care plan that is entirely tailored to them, their needs, and their environment. Contact your trusted veterinarian at (307) 347-2781 for more information about what YOU can do for your sweet puppy or kitty.

So, What Now?

As we have discussed in length, both feline and canine glaucoma is a challenging condition that requires immediate attention and often, ongoing management. With the combination of early intervention, veterinary-advised treatment, and consistently loving care, you will be making a significant difference in preserving your pet’s vision and overall well-being. Remember, with proper care and attention, you can ensure that your pet leads a happy and fulfilling life. If you are concerned about glaucoma developments in your companion, our Cloud Peak Clinic is the plan to seek advice and information. 

With years of pet-care experience, we have seen hundreds of glaucoma cases and we have the experience to execute a thorough evaluation and personalized treatment plan. Give our compassionate team a call at (307) 347-2781 or use our website to schedule an appointment. Our doors are always open, so feel free to stop by if you have a concern that you need addressed ASAP, we are available 24/7 for emergencies calls, so do not hesitate to reach out.



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