Like human beings, dogs can suffer from glaucoma. Unfortunately, basset hounds are particularly prone to this painful
blinding disease. It is caused by a buildup of fluid (aqueous humor) pressure inside the eye, which comes about when
the drainage outlets become blocked. The disease most commonly affects dogs between the ages of 4 and 9.
Although there are two types of glaucoma, bassets generally suffer from primary glaucoma. This is hereditary and usually
starts in one eye; later it affects both. Secondary glaucoma usually results from injury or trauma to the eye and is thus not
inherited. To make things a bit more complicated, primary glaucoma also comes in two forms: closed angle and open angle.
In closed angle glaucoma, the disease is characterized by a shallow anterior chamber and a narrow angle that compromises
filtration due to the iris's blocking the angle and causing an increase in intraocular pressure. This is the type most often
found in bassets. In open angle glaucoma, the angle of the anterior chamber remains open, but filtration of the aqueous
humor is gradually reduced, causing (again) an increase in intraocular pressure.
Symptoms: Glaucoma can come on very suddenly. The affected eye is swollen, red, and cloudy. It is obviously painful. The
pupil will be abnormally large, and may weep. The dog may be sensitive to light.
Treatment: It is critical to get the dog to a vet at once. Although a veterinary ophthalmologist is best, you will need to
stabilize the condition as fast as possible, so get the dog to any vet as quickly as possible. Your vet will make an accurate
diagnosis with a tonometer to measure the pressure (almost all vets have one.) The veterinarian will try to relieve the
pressure with eye drops and/or diuretics. Several medications may be required. The point is to relieve the pressure as
quickly as possible. The vet will need to re-evaluate the dog every couple of days during the first week. In many cases
surgery to remove the affected eye is the only option. Even in cases where the eye is not removed, your dog will need
surgery, less than ten percent of dogs will have vision at the end of one year. Surgery options include diode laser surgery
If Your Dog Goes Blind: One-eyed and even blind dogs can adjust remarkably well, much better than people. Because they
rely heavily on their noses, the loss of sight is not so dire to them as it would be to us. After all, dogs don't care about
reading books, viewing sunsets, or going to the movies. They do enjoy their supper, though, and blindness doesn't hinder
their enjoyment of that one bit.