"Knowing when glaucoma in dogs is an emergency
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"Knowing when glaucoma in dogs is an emergency

Dogs
Health & Safety

When dogs fall sick, it can be a really worrying time for their owners and getting them to the vet so they can be checked out can turn into an emergency which adds to the whole stressful situation. Learning how to recognise when things might be wrong with your dog can ultimately make their condition that much easier to resolve. Getting a dog treated in time could even mean it saves their lives. One condition that is not only extremely painful, but which could permanently damage a dog's vision is acute glaucoma and it's important to recognise the signs of there being a problem as early as possible.

What is acute glaucoma

When a dog suffers from acute glaucoma, the pressure in an affected eye increases and needs to be treated as a matter of urgency to prevent a dog from permanently losing the sight in that eye altogether.

Signs to watch out for that there may be something wrong

When dogs develop acute glaucoma, they will show the following symptoms:

  • They will experience a sudden onset of pain and discomfort
  • Dogs develop an aversion to any sort of light whether natural or other which is a condition known as photophobia
  • Excess tear production which gives the impression that a dog is constantly crying
  • A dog's eyes become bloodshot which is due to congestion
  • The clear surface of a dog's eyes called the cornea begins to turn grey to white which is caused by an oedema forming in the eye
  • When the surface of a dog's eye is gently touched, they do not respond - this is something that is best left up to a vet to do because of the sensitivity of a dog's eyes
  • A dog's pupil remains dilated and does not shut even when a bright light is shone close to the eye
  • A dog will suffer blindness in an affected eye

What causes acute glaucoma

There could be several reasons why a dog develops acute glaucoma one of which is a congenital disorder known as pectinate ligament dysplasia or gionodysgenesis. The condition prevents a dog's eye from draining as it should which leads to pressure building up in the affected eye as time goes on so that when dogs reach a certain age, they suffer acute glaucoma. Other reasons why a dog might develop the condition because an eye cannot drain at the right angle as it should include the following:

  • Neoplasia which includes melanomas and other abnormal growths that can either be malignant or benign and when they develop in a dog's eye, it can cause a blockage which prevents the eye from draining as it should
  • Lens rupture which results in macrophages filling the lens with debris. Sometimes the condition is referred to as toxic cataracts"" and develops due to a dog suffering some sort of trauma to the eye which includes a scratch from a cat or some other form of blow that causes the lens capsular to rupture
  • Inflammatory cells in a dog's eye which leads to them suffering from a severe case of conjunctivitis where the conjunctiva becomes extremely inflamed which in turn prevents the eye from draining properly
  • Pupillary block which prevents an eye from draining as it should and leads to pressure building up in the eye causing all the problems
  • Subluxation which is when the lens in a dog's eye becomes detached/dislocated
  • Lens luxation this is also when a dog's lens is dislocated
  • Uveitis can be caused by tumours or cancers that develop in a dog's eye or the condition can be caused by trauma or injury to the eye. However, other reasons why a dog might develop uveitis includes a dog suffering from some form of metabolic disease or lens protein finding its way into the fluid found in the eye causing cataracts. Dogs suffering from a parasitic infestation, bacterial or fungal infection can also develop uveitis

The importance of an early diagnosis and treatment

As soon as you notice any sort of cloudiness in one or both of your dog’s eyes, it is essential to get them to the vet as a matter of urgency so they can be treated and made to feel more comfortable as soon as possible. The vet would examine an affected eye before recommending the best form of treatment. However, they would also want to use eye drops to alleviate any pain a dog is experiencing which often sees them rubbing and scratching at their eyes which can worsen their condition.

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