Posted by: arcticpackseppalas | June 8, 2015

Glaucoma is a bitch.

Yes, indeed it is.  A horrible, sight stealing, pain causing, traumatic, bitch of a disease.

Last week was a very shitty week.

One of our beautiful, innocent, trusting, loving, wonderful dogs developed this disease last Sunday.  She showed no outward signs she was in any discomfort until it was too late to save the sight in her eye.  The only sign something was up was a pupil slightly larger than the other and even then it was still reacting to light.  Not as much as it should, but still reacting nonetheless.  We had her at the emergency vet within an hour but by that point the eye had already started to enlarge a little.  At this point we were still pretty sure she could see out of it.

Betty was immediately started on glaucoma medication which consisted of two sets of eye drops geared at lowering the eye pressure. She also had Loxicom to help with the pain. (although she wasn’t showing any whatsoever!)  The Tonometer our vets have is shared between two practices and unfortunately it was at the other branch 45 – 50 minutes away,  so we couldn’t test her eye pressure on the Sunday.  (we were willing to travel to the other branch, but the treatment wouldn’t have been any different had we known her pressure was high on the sunday.  It would have been more undue stress to the dog so we took her home to keep her calm and quiet and hopefully give the drops the best chance to work.  We would take her back on the Monday  to check pressure then,  once they got the equipment they needed. )  Despite the quick action of both us and our excellent vets at getting her on the drops, we think she went blind sometime on Monday.   Her eye pressure on the Monday was at 48 in that eye.  Normal range for dogs (and humans) is between 10 – 20.   Her good eye was at 12.  On the Monday afternoon her eye had started to cloud over which is really not a good sign.  I made an appointment to see our ‘local’ eye specialist Tony Wall for the Thursday.  We needed to know for absolute certainty she had lost the sight in that eye and for him to give us a prognosis for the ‘good’ eye.

Overnight on the Monday into Tuesday was the only time she showed any signs of being in discomfort.  She wasn’t screaming, or crying or pawing at her eye or anything, but she was incredibly restless and couldn’t settle to sleep.  She would groan a little and change position and was generally not all that happy.   In the morning the eye looked pretty awful.  It was weeping and red and she mostly had it shut.  I phoned the vets in the morning first thing and we started her on Tramadol to help with the pain/discomfort.  From the first dose she was opening the eye and seemed neither up nor down with it from then on.   Three cheers for Tramadol!

Thursday couldn’t come quick enough, although Betty was carrying on as normal, eating, telling off her brother and I’m fairly certain if we had put her in harness she would have ran.  These dogs never cease to amaze me with their ability to cope with things that would have us in a darkened room screaming, doped up with every drug known to man.  Unfortunately Tony did not deliver good news.  She had lost the sight in her eye, despite being on the drops as quickly as we could possibly get her on them.  Her pressure had come down to 33 in the bad eye and remained low in the good eye at 11.  An eye pressure of 33 is extremely uncomfortable and would be like a constant migraine.  (i can only imagine what 48 must have been like for her.)

Unfortunately we do know a few people who have been in this position and they were invaluable in helping us decide how to proceed from here.  Cam and I were very glad we had a conversation long ago about ‘what if’ and ‘what we would we do if’.  From experience and seeing friends dogs first hand with the disease, coupled with reading up about the disease previously, we had made a decision that if we were ever in this position we would remove the eye.

The general consensus from people who have had dogs with glaucoma is that they wished they hadn’t persevered with drops and that they had the eye removed sooner.  The eye is blind with no hope of regaining sight.  The drops were only bringing the pressure down to the 30’s, which is still very uncomfortable.  She couldn’t run (Betty LOVES to run) with an eye like that as every time she did the pressure would be sky-high again with the raised blood pressure and excitement.  She would likely need to be on pain meds for as long as she had the eye.  So, with all that in mind and after discussion about it with the specialist, we booked her in at our own vets for the next day for enucleation surgery on her left eye.

We felt, and still feel physically sick about doing this to her.  It does feel very like we have mutilated her and she does look like something out a Frankenstein movie at the moment.  But day 3 after the surgery it is rapidly becoming apparent this was indeed, the right thing to do for Betty.  Already she isn’t needing the full dose of her Tramadol and even on the Friday night when she came home she lay with her head flat on her bed on the side she had the op on.  She hadn’t lay on her left side at all last week.  She must have felt some immediate relief with the eye gone.

Today one week after she developed glaucoma and 3 days after she had her left eye removed, she is bright, happy and very, very bored with being indoors and in a crate.  She will have to stay quiet another couple of days (wish me luck with that!) and as our dogs are not known for being particularly gentle (read they are a bunch of louts!) she will have to stay separate from the others a while longer too.  She has been out eating her breakfast and dinner with the two old boys Kifa and Kai as they are too old now to run about daft like the youngsters.

We have to thank those involved in helping me get where I needed to be with Betty during last week, Tony for his  expertise and never ending patience and our super vets for carrying out the op so quickly.  Her wound looks excellent and the swelling and bruising is starting to look much better too.    As far as Betty is concerned she says, ‘No eye… No problem!’


Outside enjoying some sunshine post surgery

Business as usual relaxing belly up on the couch

Business as usual relaxing belly up on the couch



  1. Oh my, how horrible. Glad she’s feeling better, hugs to you all!

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