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Veterinary tonometry devices measure the amount of pressure within your pet's eye. Just as humans may develop glaucoma if ocular pressure is too high, dogs and cats can also suffer glaucoma when interior eye pressure remains elevated and untreated. Your veterinarian in Winnipeg evaluates your pet's ocular pressure by gently touching the animal's cornea with a rod that measures indentation. Less indentation occurs if the eye has higher than normal intraocular pressure. More indentation occurs when the eye is softer and less pressurized. To receive an accurate measurement, your vet will point your pet's nose toward the ceiling to minimize the effects of gravity on the tonometry reading.
Fluid build-up in the eye causes increase of intraocular pressure that can lead to optic nerve damage and vision loss in a dog or cat. Tonometry techniques also help identify low intraocular pressure indicating possible eye inflammation (anterior uveitis) or dehydration. Deterioration of the optic nerve due to glaucoma is irreversible, making it vital for pet owners to have their dog or cat tested for glaucoma during yearly wellness examinations.
Dogs and cats with glaucoma may experience headaches, seem irritable, rub and paw at the affected eye or squint continuously. A glaucoma-stricken eye may have a dilated pupil or bulge enough to look different from the normal eye. In most cases, glaucoma is diagnosed in one eye only. Determining if glaucoma exists may be facilitated by comparing the appearance of both eyes if pet owners suspect their dog or cat has glaucoma.
If your veterinarian in Winnipeg diagnoses your dog with primary glaucoma, this means your dog has inherited the disease. Certain dog breeds are prone to developing glaucoma, such as Siberian huskies, basset hounds, cocker spaniels, Shih Tzus and Jack Russells.
Secondary glaucoma emerges due to pre-existing eye disorders that prevent drainage of fluid in the eye. Advanced cataracts, uveitis, chronic retinal detachment and lens displacement are common eye problems responsible for glaucoma in dogs and cats.
If a tonometry evaluation reveals elevated pressure in your pet's eye and ensuing eye exams find that glaucoma exists, your vet may need to keep your dog or cat for a few days, depending on the level of intraocular pressure. Oral or intravenous osmotic diuretics are needed to decrease pressure as quickly and safely as possible. Once the pressure in the eye is stabilized, your vet will prescribe medications to improve fluid outflow and suppress production of excess eye fluid.
If medication cannot control eye pressure in pets, various surgeries are available that may reduce pressure and prevent further damage to the optic nerve. Cyclophotocoagulation (a laser procedure to eliminate cells that produce fluid) and Gonio implants (tiny tubes) to improve fluid flow out of the eye. Typically, cyclophotocoagulation is performed in combination with Gonio implants.
Protect your pet's vision and eye health by making an appointment today at Best Friends Animal Hospital: 204-269-4451. We are located in Winnipeg! We look forward to meeting with you!