Glaucoma can be an unfortunate by-product of getting older and can come on rapidly for senior dogs. Did you know your buddy can go blind in just a matter of hours if left untreated?

As with humans, serious eye diseases like glaucoma and cataracts are just a fact of life. Sadly, glaucoma in dogs can lead to blindness if their eye pressure stays at a certain point for longer than four hours. A certain type of glaucoma can affect dogs as young as 3 to 7 years old.

It may be hard to tell if your dog is experiencing any symptoms of eye disease if you're not sure what they are. Easy signs to look out for are constant squinting, excessive redness, or if your dog is constantly pawing at the affected eye. These symptoms can indicate injury or eye disease; either way, you'll want to see a specialist as soon as you can.

pug, dog

Courtesy of Unsplash, photo by Matthew Henry

Time is of the essence.

In the case of glaucoma, when the fluid starts to build up, a dog's eyeball can be under an increasing amount of pressure, causing headaches, blurred vision, and overall pain. As a pet parent, you may not even notice it if it occurs over a long period of time. When the eye reaches a critical pressure point, it can cause permanent damage to the optic nerve within a matter of hours and can lead to irreversible blindness.

Taking your dog to your regular vet in this case is probably not your best option. Many general practioner clinics lack the tools and treatments available to treat him right away. That's where the veterinary ophthalmologist comes in. 

Be prepared.

If you have a dog with protruding eyes like a Boston Terrier, Chihuahua, or French Bulldog, you should keep a hard, clear Elizabethan collar on hand at all times. At the first sign of squinting, excessive fluid or redness of an eye, you should strap that thing on and go to the ophthalmologist.

The difference between immediate treatment and surgery can be thousands of dollars in less than a day when a dog's eye is seriously injured or diseased. It's always better to be safe than sorry.

Find someone local.

With ocular injuries or advanced eye disease, you're going to need to act fast and follow up frequently. Ask your regular vet for recommendations and make sure you pick a specialty clinic relatively close to home if you are given several options.

chihuahua, dog

Courtesy of Unsplash, photo by Danil Shostak

With a little special attention and a dedicated specialist on hand, you can stave off eye problems for your elderly or accident-prone dogs. Keep an eye out for the symptoms and help your best buddy see clearly as long as you possibly can.

For more information about glaucoma and other eye diseases in dogs, visit the website for the Hope Advanced Veterinary Center. You can also ask your local vet for a referral to a specialist in your area.

Has your dog experienced eye injuries or advanced eye diseases? What tips or advice do you have for other pet owners? Chime in by leaving a comment!