cocker.gif (10105 bytes)Glaucoma

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Glaucoma is a group of diseases manifested by an increased pressure of fluid within the eyeball. The globe of our eyes and those of most animals are filled with two reservoirs of fluid. These help to maintain the round shape of the eye, yet are translucent enough to allow light to pass through to the lens, giving us vision. This fluid is constantly being produced within the eye, flows through various structures and then exits where the cornea (the clear outer surface of the eyeball) meets the iris (the colored structure with the pupil in the center). Anything that causes too much fluid to be produced, restricts the movement of fluid through the eye, or prevents fluid from draining out of the eye will elevate the pressure within the eyeball, causing glaucoma.

There are various treatments for glaucoma. Some involve medications while others utilize surgical procedures. The goal is to either decrease the amount of fluid being produced or make it easier for the fluid to drain from the eye. In Pal's case, however, the damage to the eyeball itself had been so severe that none of these methods would have provided any benefit. And, Pal was 22 years old - geriatric in anyone's book. Ophthalmic (eye) surgery would be expensive and his eye would never function again, so we felt the best case scenario would be enucleation: the total removal of the eyeball and the suturing closed of the exposed socket. Done correctly, enucleation's after-effects are virtually indiscernible.

Early recognition of the signs of glaucoma can save your pet's vision, eye, and a lot of pain. The outward signs associated with this condition are very consistent:

Eye irritation
Pet will rub his eye everywhere he can.
Some pets may paw at the eye with their foot.
In almost every case, the pupil of the affected eye will be larger than the pupil of the other eye.

If you see these signs, take your animal to your veterinarian immediately. Do not wait until morning, as that may be too late. Glaucoma is a true emergency needing immediate care.

Race Foster, DVM and Marty Smith, DVM
Drs. Foster & Smith, Inc.

2000 Drs. Foster & Smith, Inc.
Reprinted as a courtesy and with permission from (
On-line store at
Free pet supply catalog: 1-800-323-4208


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