Earlier this month, a family of little dogs came in for health certificates as they prepared to travel across country. The owner had noted one of the dog ™s eyes was a little red. When Dr. Tao examined this dog, he saw what you see here in this picture. One eye was quite red, a little larger than the other eye and the pupil was quite dilated. He was concerned about glaucoma and so immediately checked the intraocular pressure (the pressure within the eyes) and confirmed the diagnosis. Glaucoma can be caused by inflammation in or trauma to the eyes, or it can be a primary problem that is almost genetically induced. The eyes make fluid constantly in order to keep the eyeball round and not collapsing in on itself. This fluid drains at a normal rate through the front of the eye. If the drainage can ™t occur, the eye just keeps getting bigger and the pressure inside the eye increases. This is called glaucoma and is very painful. It also destroys the structures inside the eye and can cause blindness. Most cases of glaucoma in dogs come on very suddenly and lead to permanent vision loss. Because they can be very painful, we often have to surgically remove the eye. Glaucoma that is secondary to inflammation or trauma may be more treatable. The little dog in this case had the interior of his eye removed, and an œartificial eye placed. He has normal eyelids that blink, the eye moves, but he can ™t see. Best of all, he feels better now.
We are fortunate to have a wonderful board certified veterinary ophthalmologist in our area. If you feel your pet is having eye problems, come see us. If the problem is severe or requires laser surgery or other advanced techniques, we can set you up with a referral.
by Bonnie Markoff, DVM, ABVP