Glaucoma in Dogs

A Dog’s Eye View: Glaucoma in Dogs

If you’ve ever wondered if dogs can develop glaucoma; yes they can.  There are a number of eye problems that affect humans, that also affect dogs.

We’ve already discussed how cataracts affect the eyes of your dog in an earlier article. In this post, we’ll be talking about naturally treating dogs with glaucoma.

 What Is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is intraocular pressure or increased pressure within the eye.

The cells inside the eye create aqueous humor, a fluid that helps the eye keep its shape and provides nutrients.

Some measure of aqueous humor drains out of the eye and into the bloodstream. The eye requires the right balance of draining and production in order to keep standard pressure.

In cases with glaucoma, the equilibrium of drainage and production is off. It can get congested, partially or completely, and cause the build-up of pressure inside the eye.

When this pressure becomes too much to handle, the eye can actually stretch and enlarge. This leads to a number of irreparable conditions, including blindness.

Dog Glaucoma Treatment

Natural treatments for glaucoma or any other eye condition in dogs should include a good source of antioxidants such as Vitamin A, C, E., Magnesium, Alpha Lipoic Acid, Selenium, COQ10, Beta Carotene, Copper, etc.

Vitamins A, C, and E, Carotenoids, Selenium, Coenzyme Q10, and Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) are all powerful antioxidants.

The best sources of antioxidants from natural foods include fresh fruits (e.g. berries – blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, wolfberries, pomegranates, dark red grapes), vegetables (e.g. dark green leafy vegetables; broccoli, beets, green beans, peas, carrots) and whole grains.

 Recommended Supplements

There are two products that can can work very well for dogs with eye problems.  The first product is made by VetriScience and it treats at the cellular level which reaches the very core of where the problem stems from in the body; whether the human body or our pet’s body.

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As mentioned, most courses of action related to canine glaucoma come about suddenly and result in blindness in at least one eye. Treatment is a matter of relieving discomfort, but there are some possibilities available.


Surgery is the most common and most effective traditional option for enduring management of canine glaucoma. Laser surgery, for instance, is employed to destroy tissue to aid in production of more aqueous humor and a shunt is sometimes utilized in concert with surgical procedures.

Other cases involve something called “enucleation,” which is actually the removal of the eye. This is only done on dogs with what is termed “end stage glaucoma.” Intraocular evisceration and implantation involves the removal of some components of the eye and their replacement with implanted materials. The outside of the eye remains intact and an implant, such as the TR-ClarifEYE (a biomaterial implant), can be utilized without valves and sutures.

Some treatment options include shunts to aid in draining the liquid, but these are mostly used in those dogs not responding to medical therapy or forms of surgery. These options can also result in more discomfort for dogs, so care must be taken to define the best course of treatment going forward.

What Are The Causes of Glaucoma In Dogs?

There are a number of conditions that can lead to glaucoma in dogs. In some breeds, it is an inherited condition (primary glaucoma).

Dog breeds most likely to experience congenital glaucoma include:

  1. American Cocker Spaniel
  2. Chow Chow, Shar Pei
  3. Shih Tzu
  4. Siberian husky
  5. Elkhounds
  6. Basset Hound
  7. and other Arctic breeds

Secondary glaucoma is usually a result of something obstructing drainage of the aforementioned eye fluid. This is often the result of other eye problems and conditions, like inflammation, cataracts, cancer, lens displacement, and even retinal detachment.

Your veterinarian will be able to determine if your dog is experiencing primary or secondary glaucoma. This assessment is essential because treatment is distinctive to each type of glaucoma.

What Are The Symptoms of Glaucoma?

The most important symptom of canine glaucoma is pain due to the amplified pressure. At times, the pressure can become unbearable and results in headaches and migraines.

Because animals show pain in different ways, determining if your dog is suffering a headache can be an uphill battle. As we’ve outlined elsewhere, dogs generally don’t show pain or discomfort.

One of the more perceptible symptoms is vision loss. Because pressure on the optic nerve results in reduced blood flow to the retina, vision loss becomes an issue.

If pressure becomes intolerable, the optic nerve and retina can degenerate and vision can be lost – permanently. In some cases, permanent blindness occurs within hours.

In most cases, glaucoma will affect one eye at a time. This is generally the only way that people are able to determine if their dogs have the condition. Sadly, the first eye to develop primary glaucoma is typically irreversibly blind by the time diagnosis is made.

Treatment tends to err toward lessening of distress and pain as a result in these cases.