Senior Chihuahua with Glaucoma

Glaucoma In Dogs And How CBD Can Help

Written by: Dr. Athena Gaffud



Time to read 9 min

Glaucoma in dogs is relatively common, especially in certain breeds. It can be primary (hereditary) or secondary (due to other eye conditions like cataracts or inflammation).

 Primary glaucoma is more frequent in breeds such as Cocker Spaniels, Basset Hounds, and Shih Tzus. It's important for dog owners to be aware of the symptoms, which include eye pain, redness, tearing, and vision loss, to seek veterinary care promptly.

What Is Glaucoma In Dogs?

Glaucoma in dogs is a serious eye condition that affects the optic nerve, leading to vision loss and potential pain due to increased intraocular pressure. It can occur in both primary and secondary forms, impacting various breeds with varying severity.

Canine glaucoma is a common ocular condition leading to optic nerve degeneration and irreversible blindness, influenced by multiple factors such as aging and oxidative stress,” (Pizzirani, S., 2015).

What Are The Common Eye Problems In Dogs?

Eye problems in dogs are quite common and range from mild conditions like conjunctivitis to severe issues like glaucoma that affect their vision and overall eye health. Regular eye tests by a veterinarian are crucial to maintain your dog's ocular wellness.

Other common eye problems in dogs include:

  • Cataracts cause cloudiness in the lens, leading to vision impairment.

  • Corneal ulcers, often resulting from injuries or infections, are painful and require immediate attention to prevent complications.

  • Dry eye syndrome is characterized by a lack of tear production, leading to discomfort and potential damage to the cornea.

  • Entropion and ectropion, are eyelid conditions where the eyelids roll inward or outward, respectively, that are irritating and require surgical correction.

What Causes Glaucoma In Dogs?

Chromosomes and DNA Structure Closeup

The causes of glaucoma in dogs are attributed to genetic predispositions that affect the cells responsible for regulating intraocular pressure. Primary glaucoma is often inherited, while secondary glaucoma results from other underlying health conditions.

Primary glaucomas in dogs are a leading cause of vision loss in dogs, with genetic causes and breed predilection, and identifying disease genes and developing genetic tests help prevent breeding and potentially improve diagnosis and therapy (Komáromy, A., & Petersen-Jones, S., 2015). 

Genetic mutations in these breeds lead to abnormal drainage of fluid within the eye, causing a buildup of pressure. On the other hand, secondary glaucoma occurs as a consequence of other ocular issues like lens luxation or uveitis, impacting the drainage mechanism and leading to increased intraocular pressure.

Secondary glaucoma may be caused by ocular blood flow disturbances, leading to unstable ocular perfusion and ischemia/reperfusion damage,” (Flammer, J., et al., 2002).

Is Glaucoma Hereditary In Dogs?

Yes, glaucoma is hereditary in dogs, especially in cases of primary glaucoma where certain breeds are more predisposed to developing this condition due to genetic factors.

What Other Factors Can Contribute To Glaucoma In Dogs?

Other factors such as trauma, inflammation, or underlying health issues contribute to the development of secondary glaucoma in dogs, impacting their ocular health.

Certain ocular conditions like uveitis or lens luxation also trigger secondary glaucoma in dogs. When the eye experiences trauma, whether from injury or surgery, it disrupts the normal fluid drainage process, leading to increased intraocular pressure. Systemic health problems such as diabetes or hypertension indirectly impact the eyes and contribute to the development of glaucoma in dogs.

Understanding these various factors is crucial for early detection and effective management of this sight-threatening condition.

What Are The Symptoms Of Glaucoma In Dogs?

Symptoms of glaucoma in dogs include:

  • redness in the eye

  • excessive tearing

  • cloudiness in the cornea

  • dilated pupil

  • rubbing or scratching at the affected eye

  • reluctance to play or exercise

  • sensitivity to light

Pain, vision loss, and increased eye pressure are hallmark signs that require immediate veterinary attention.

In some cases, the affected eye may appear larger than normal due to the increased pressure. Owners may also notice a change in the color of the iris or a bluish haze over the eye.

How Is Glaucoma In Dogs Diagnosed?

red bloodshot eye in dog

Diagnosing glaucoma in dogs involves comprehensive eye examinations, intraocular pressure assessments, and specialized tests like ocular ultrasound or gonioscopy to determine the extent of optic nerve damage.

During the initial examination, veterinarians will observe for typical symptoms of glaucoma like redness, cloudiness, or dilated pupils. Intraocular pressure measurements play a crucial role in diagnosing the condition, as elevated pressure levels often indicate the presence of glaucoma. “Tonometric evaluation is essential for early diagnosis and management of glaucoma in dogs,” (Brooks, D., 1990).

In more advanced cases, imaging techniques such as ocular ultrasound provide detailed views of the eye's internal structures, aiding in confirming the diagnosis. Gonioscopy is utilized to evaluate the drainage angle of the eye and identify any abnormalities that may contribute to increased pressure (Sakata, L., et al., 2008).

What Are The Diagnostic Tests For Glaucoma In Dogs?

Diagnostic tests for glaucoma in dogs may include tonometry to measure eye pressure, funduscopy to evaluate the optic nerve, and ultrasound to assess fluid buildup within the eye. These tests help in confirming the presence and severity of the condition.

  • Tonometry : an instrument is used to gauge the pressure inside the eye, crucial for diagnosing glaucoma.

  • Funduscopy : involves examining the back of the eye, focusing on the optic nerve's appearance, which can indicate nerve damage.

  • Ocular ultrasound : aids in visualizing any abnormalities in the eye's structure, like fluid accumulation, offering insights into the disease progression.

What Are The Treatments For Glaucoma In Dogs?

Woman dripping eye drops in eye of Chihuahua dog

“There is no cure for canine glaucoma, but treatments include early diagnosis, optimization of IOP-lowering medical treatment, new surgical therapies, and novel treatment strategies like gene and stem cell therapies,” (Komáromy, A., et al., 2019).

Medical treatments commonly involve the use of topical eye drops to control fluid buildup within the eye and oral medications to manage underlying conditions contributing to glaucoma.

Surgical interventions such as laser therapy or conventional surgery are recommended in more severe cases to improve drainage and reduce pressure on the optic nerve, potentially restoring some visual function.

Therapeutic goals in managing glaucoma focus on maintaining quality of life, preventing further damage to the eye, and managing associated discomfort to ensure the dog's well-being.

What Are The Medical Treatments For Glaucoma In Dogs?

The medical treatments for glaucoma in dogs aim to reduce intraocular pressure (IOP) to prevent further damage to the optic nerve and preserve vision. The specific treatment plan depends on whether the glaucoma is primary or secondary, the severity of the condition, and the overall health of the dog. Common treatments include:

  • Topical Medications : These are eye drops that help lower intraocular pressure.

    • Carbonic Anhydrase Inhibitors (CAIs): reduce the production of aqueous humor

    • Beta-Blockers: decrease the production of aqueous humor

    • Prostaglandin Analogues: increase the outflow of aqueous humor.

  • Oral Medications : These are used in conjunction with topical medications.

    • Carbonic Anhydrase Inhibitors.

    • Osmotic Agents

Are There Any Home Remedies For Glaucoma In Dogs?

While professional veterinary care is essential for managing glaucoma in dogs, some home remedies like incorporating antioxidants in their diet, such as beta-carotene-rich foods , can support ocular health and provide additional antioxidant activity.

Alongside dietary interventions, natural supplements like omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E also play a vital role in reducing inflammation and supporting overall eye wellness in canines.

These supplements can be given through food toppers like Primal-Vitality Beef Organ Complex.

Preventive measures such as ensuring regular eye check-ups, maintaining optimal body weight, and minimizing exposure to environmental toxins can further aid in the management of canine glaucoma.

Check “Effective Home Remedies to Tackle Dog Eye Discharge” for more information.

How Can CBD Help With Glaucoma In Dogs?

CBD oil in dogs has shown promise in managing glaucoma in dogs by reducing intraocular pressure, providing pain relief, and exerting neuroprotective effects on the eye cells. Understanding the appropriate CBD dosage is crucial for optimal treatment outcomes.

Cannabinoid agonists like WIN 55212-2 and anandamide have demonstrated potential in managing glaucoma by reducing intraocular pressure and acting as neuroprotectors on retinal ganglion cells,” according to the 2011 study by Pinar-Sueiro, S., Rodríguez‐Puertas, R., & Vecino, E.

In terms of administering CBD oil for treating glaucoma in dogs , the mechanism of action involves interacting with the endocannabinoid system to regulate various physiological functions. By targeting specific receptors, CBD oil like CBD Full-Spectrum Happy-Furever Oil helps in reducing inflammation and oxidative stress in the eye, thus alleviating the symptoms associated with glaucoma. 

The therapeutic potential of CBD oil in keeping intraocular pressure in check not only aids in managing the condition but also supports overall ocular health. It is essential to consult a veterinarian to determine the appropriate dosage based on the dog's weight, condition severity, and other individual factors.

What Is CBD Oil And How Does It Work?

CBD oil is a natural extract derived from the cannabis plant that interacts with the endocannabinoid system in dogs, exerting anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective, and pain-relieving effects that can benefit in managing glaucoma and promoting overall eye wellness. Read “10 Reasons Why Your Dog Would Embrace CBD Oil's Benefits”.

What Are Other Natural Supplements That Can Help With Glaucoma In Dogs?

Natural supplements like grass-fed beef organ meat, Ashwagandha, Turmeric Curcumin, and Ginger can provide antioxidant support, anti-inflammatory benefits, and overall eye wellness for dogs with glaucoma.

Grass-fed beef organ meat is rich in essential nutrients such as vitamin A, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids, which are beneficial for maintaining eye health in dogs. Read “Learn About The Benefits Of Organ Meats For Dogs”.

Similarly, Ashwagandha, an adaptogenic herb, helps in reducing oxidative stress and supporting the immune system, ultimately aiding in managing glaucoma. Turmeric Curcumin, with its potent anti-inflammatory properties, help alleviate inflammation in the eyes and improve blood circulation, thus promoting better vision in dogs suffering from glaucoma. Additionally, Ginger is known for its anti-inflammatory effects and aid in reducing eye pressure, which is crucial in managing the symptoms of glaucoma in canines.

Ashwagandha, Turmeric Curcumin, and Ginger can be given to pets conveniently through treats such as Super Health Vitality™ Chews.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Glaucoma in dogs?

Glaucoma in dogs is a common eye condition that affects the optic nerve and can lead to vision loss or blindness if left untreated. It is caused by high pressure in the eye, which damages the optic nerve and can be painful for dogs.

What are the common causes of Glaucoma in dogs?

Glaucoma in dogs can be caused by a variety of factors, such as genetics, age, and underlying health conditions. Breeds that are predisposed to the condition include Cocker Spaniels, Chow Chows, and Beagles.

What are the symptoms of Glaucoma in dogs?

The symptoms of Glaucoma in dogs may vary, but some common signs to look out for include redness in the eye, excessive tearing, cloudiness or haziness in the eye, and vision impairment.

How is Glaucoma in dogs diagnosed?

If you suspect your dog may have Glaucoma, it is important to seek veterinary care as soon as possible. Your veterinarian may perform several tests, such as measuring eye pressure and examining the optic nerve, to confirm the diagnosis.

What are the available treatments for Glaucoma in dogs?

There are various treatments available for Glaucoma in dogs, including eye drops, oral medication, and surgery. The treatment plan will depend on the severity and underlying cause of the condition.

Can CBD help with Glaucoma in dogs?

Studies have shown that CBD, a non-psychoactive component of the cannabis plant, may have potential therapeutic benefits for Glaucoma in dogs. CBD helps reduce inflammation and relieve pain, which aids in managing symptoms of Glaucoma.

Dr. Athena Gaffud, DVM

Author: Dr. Athena Gaffud

Dr. Athena is a seasoned, board-certified veterinarian with comprehensive expertise in general practice, veterinary medicine, laboratory operations, and veterinary writing. She is passionate about animals and holistic health. 

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