Glaucoma Awareness Not Just for Humans

~Keeping an Eye on Pets during National Glaucoma Month~

Eden Prairie MN, January 13, 2010 – In recognition of National Glaucoma Month, BluePearl Veterinary Partners, a referral-based veterinary hospital, in Minnesota is spreading the word and increasing awareness of animal glaucoma because pets are as susceptible as humans.

“Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness in dogs and cats,” said Dr. Nicole Scotty Trumble, DVM, DAVCO, a board-certified ophthalmologist at BluePearl Veterinary Partners. “Glaucoma in animals can be inherited which is known primary glaucoma, or it be secondary to another eye disease such as cataracts.”

Like humans, primary glaucoma occurs most commonly in dogs.  Breeds that are commonly predisposed include the American cocker spaniel, basset hound, chow chow, Chinese shar pei and various terrier breeds.

Secondary causes of glaucoma include uncontrolled inflammation from cataracts, dislocation of the lens, trauma and tumors.  All of these factors can impair fluid drainage from the eye which results in elevations in eye pressure.

If treatment for glaucoma is not started within a few days, or in some cases, within hours, permanent vision loss can result.  It is therefore important to take immediate action and be aware of the earliest signs of glaucoma, especially if you have a pet that is predisposed to this condition based on their breed. Dr. Trumble recommends monitoring your pets for the following signs:

– Redness on the white part of the eye (“bloodshot eye”)
– Elevation of the “third eyelid”, a membrane in the inner corner of the eye
– Excessive squinting and/or tearing
– Dilated pupil(s)
– Cloudiness of the cornea
– One eye seeming larger or protruding more than the other
– Sudden blindness

Furthermore, certain types of glaucoma, such as the primary inherited glaucoma of Basset Hounds and Cocker Spaniels, can be detected before your pet actually shows signs of the disease. A veterinary ophthalmologist can detect the inherited abnormality (“goniodysgenesis”) using a technique called “gonioscopy”. Gonioscopy is quick and noninvasive, and can be added to a routine ophthalmic exam when indicated. This allows for the most appropriate monitoring and treatment protocols to be instituted as soon as possible.

All glaucoma cases benefit from medical therapy with topical eye drops. BluePearl Veterinary Partners also offers surgical therapies to help maintain long-term control of glaucoma. Surgical therapies include specialized laser therapy to reduce fluid production and pressure within the eye, and/or microsurgical implantation of a valve that can help to maintain normal intraocular pressure by shunting fluid from the eye.

The BluePearl Veterinary Partners is a referral-based hospital with services dedicated to providing a superior level of patient and client care through close cooperation with the family practitioner.  Their specialized services include internal medicine, ophthalmology, dentistry and oral surgery.  BluePearl Veterinary Partners in Eden Prairie is located at 7717 Flying Cloud Drive.