Dog Glaucoma: 6 Things to Know as a Pet Owner

Have you ever heard of glaucoma? Did you know dogs can have this problem, just like humans can? Would you like to find out more about glaucoma and its risk for your dog?

Below, we’ll provide six important pieces of information related to glaucoma in dogs. You can use this quick guide to better under the condition, its symptoms, and the way in which it may affect your pet. Be sure to talk to your veterinarian for more information and assistance if your pet is diagnosed with glaucoma or if you suspect they may have this condition.


1. What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is an eye condition that causes too much pressure within the eye. It has several potential causes, and it eventually prohibits the aqueous fluid from draining out of the eye.

When fluid can no longer drain from the eye properly, this leads to a buildup of pressure. The pressure, then, causes damage to the eye and its mechanisms.

2. What Causes Glaucoma in Dogs?

There are a few different possible causes for dogs to develop glaucoma.


Some dogs are genetically predisposed to developing glaucoma. Certain breeds may be more likely to have this problem than others.


Injury to the eye can cause the lens to become damaged, which may lead to a lack of proper drainage. Other injuries can cause problems with internal bleeding of the eye, which increases the pressure as well.


Some types of illness, such as cancer or even pinkeye, can cause glaucoma, particularly if the illness is contributing to the pressure within the eye. The longer the illness continues, the more likely it is to cause glaucoma.

3. What are the Risk Factors for Dogs with Glaucoma?

These factors could mean that your dog has a higher possibility of developing glaucoma. 


Many breeds have a genetic predisposition to glaucoma. Some of these include the Dalmatian, the Cocker Spaniel, the Poodle, the Boston Terrier, the Beagle, and more.


Older dogs are more likely to develop issues with their eyes and vision than younger dogs. However, any dog of any age can potentially suffer from glaucoma, and age alone is not the only risk factor to keep in mind with your pet.


Dogs with underlying health problems may be more likely to develop glaucoma as a secondary issue. Even if the health problem does not actively cause glaucoma, it may lead to other issues that do.

4. What are the Symptoms of Dog Glaucoma?

If your dog is showing any of these symptoms be sure to talk with your veterinarian.


Discharge from the eye can be an early sign of glaucoma. This discharge may look like water, but it is different.


Pain can cause your dog to paw at their eye frequently. It may also cause them to become defensive or even aggressive when you try to pet them.


Bulging of the eye may occur as glaucoma progresses. The white of the eye may turn red along with this symptom, but not always.

Clouding and Blindness

The eye may look cloudy with glaucoma. Over time, glaucoma can cause blindness, so a dog who is losing their vision could have glaucoma.

5. What are the Treatments for Glaucoma in Dogs?

There is no specific cure for glaucoma, and dogs will typically have this condition throughout the rest of their lives. With that said, however, it is possible to manage a dog’s glaucoma and prevent it from causing too much damage.

Dogs may be given medication for pain as well as fluid reduction. Some dogs may need surgery to stop the problem before it progresses to the point of blindness. Your vet will help you choose the best treatment and management solutions for your dog’s glaucoma based on their age, overall health, and more.

6. Dog Glaucoma Prognosis

Although there is no cure for glaucoma and its damage is irreversible, dogs can live long, happy lives even when managing this condition. With the help of a trusted and qualified vet, you can help your dog stay on top of this problem, and you can cut down on the long-term effects of glaucoma in your pet as well.

Glaucoma is not life-threatening, but it can cause blindness in dogs if left untreated for too long. The sooner you have your pet seen by a vet for any vision changes or eye pain, the more likely they will be to continue seeing properly.

Talk with Your Veterinarian

With the help of the guide above, you should have a better understanding of glaucoma in dogs. However, you may also still have a lot of questions, so be sure to follow up with your vet for more information. Your vet can give you specifics about your individual pet’s needs, too, so it is important to work closely with a vet when managing your dog’s glaucoma.

Many dogs live full, happy lives even when dealing with glaucoma. The good news is that dogs do not rely on their sight the way humans do, so you can help your pet manage this condition successfully.

Ready to talk with your Heart + Paw veterinarian? Use the online form to book an appointment at any of our locations!

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Heart + Paw was founded in 2018 by Chief Veterinary Officer Dr. George Melillo, who currently serves the Mid-Atlantic area. Heart + Paw offers a combination of veterinary care, pet grooming, and dog daycare to help be a resource in your pet parenthood journey.

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