Glaucoma in Bassets

By Diane Morgan
Author of The Basset Hound Owner's Survival Guide

   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 
   and cyclocryosurgery.

   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.

Canine Health Index

Reprint or redistribution of material with permission only.
Questions or comments? Email BROOD Webmaster