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When To Put Down A Dog With Glaucoma?

It is never easy to euthanize a dog, especially if that dog has been with you for a long time.

However, there are times when it is more merciful to do so because the dog no longer has any quality of life whatsoever.

One condition that can severely reduce a dog’s quality of life is glaucoma.

Essentially, this makes it so that the dog can barely see at all and it is always heartbreaking to watch a dog struggle through its daily routine.

Here is some information that you should know about when it might be time to euthanize a dog that has glaucoma.

The Stage of The Glaucoma Matters

One factor that goes into when you should euthanize a dog with glaucoma is the stage of the disease.

In earlier stages, your dog will do its best to overcome the disease itself while you are simply watching the disease gradually get worse.

However, in the latter stages of the disease, your dog will have to rely on you a great deal because their eyesight has become so poor or they have become entirely blind.

You know your dog better than anyone else, so it is ultimately your decision.

Getting some advice from your veterinarian is a good idea, though.

Does Your Dog Experience Frequent Eye Pain?

There are many things to consider when you are thinking about when it makes sense to euthanize a dog struggling with glaucoma.

One of these is if your dog is dealing with frequent eye pain that any kind of treatment can manage or relieve.

If this is the case, then surgery to remove your dog’s eyes is a viable option.

Despite the fact that glaucoma is certainly painful, dogs typically don’t let on that they are in pain.

This is why it makes sense to make the assumption that your dog is in pain if it has untreated glaucoma.

Does Your Dog Get Hurt Often Due to Its Poor Vision?

Your dog can experience many different kinds of difficulties due to poor vision because of glaucoma.

Your dog getting hurt because of vision problems, even though everyone is trying to avoid it, is one such difficulty.

This can happen in a number of ways.

Falling and bumping are two ways that a dog with poor vision often gets hurt.

If your dog is in this situation, then euthanizing your dog with glaucoma might be the best choice.

Does Your Dog Become Depressed Due to Its Limited Mobility?

Depression is not something that only affects people.

Dogs can become depressed as a result of various outside influences.

If your dog becomes depressed because it can no longer do things it can normally do, like playing, eating, and other parts of its daily routine, then euthanization seems like a more understandable option.

In other words, if your dog can no longer enjoy its favorite things and its life is devoid of joy, then you might find euthanization is preferable.

After all, if your dog has no quality of life, watching them struggle through each day is simply painful.

Learn More About Canine Glaucoma

It is important to know everything about canine glaucoma when considering this difficult choice.

You should know that glaucoma is a disease where the eye experiences more pressure than usual because eye fluid does not drain away properly.

Glaucoma gets gradually worse and worse most of the time.

In the event that glaucoma eventually becomes severe, dogs’ optic nerves can become damaged.

This damage to the dog’s optic nerves is what can eventually lead to serious pain and even permanent blindness in the dog.

What Causes Glaucoma?

There is one primary cause of glaucoma.

As previously mentioned, this is due to eye fluid not draining properly like it normally does.

It is crucial to clarify that this is not the result of the eyes producing too much fluid.

The type of canine glaucoma known as primary glaucoma causes increased pressure in the healthy eye of a dog.

The type of canine glaucoma called secondary glaucoma causes greater pressure because the eye has become injured or diseased.

This distinction is important because understanding the cause of glaucoma makes choosing how to deal with it easier.

Can Dogs Continue Living with Glaucoma?

Naturally, euthanization is the last option for a dog that is struggling with glaucoma disease.

Quite a few dogs with glaucoma can live normally as a result of regularly taking glaucoma medication.

Treating glaucoma as quickly as possible is vital.

Doing so can decrease the disease’s effect in addition to slowing its progression, as well.

If you do not take the necessary steps to treat glaucoma quickly, then the risk of your dog experiencing permanent blindness is fairly high.

If your dog can live normally because of glaucoma medication, then you should definitely not even consider euthanizing it.

What Are Some Glaucoma Symptoms?

The symptoms of canine glaucoma are many and varied.

One symptom of glaucoma is that the white of the eye becomes red.

The most obvious and perhaps well-known symptom of glaucoma is that the eye starts to look cloudy or hazy, though.

Your dog rubbing its eyes and your dog’s eyes bulging are two more symptoms of glaucoma.

If your dog starts to tilt its head frequently, it sleeps more, and its eyes water suddenly, these are all glaucoma symptoms, too.

One more obvious symptom of glaucoma is that your dog starts to only open its eyes reluctantly.

Does Glaucoma Affect Both Eyes At Once?

Knowing how canine glaucoma affects your dog is also useful, too.

How canine glaucoma affects each dog can certainly vary somewhat.

In the vast majority of cases, though, canine glaucoma does not affect both of your dogs’ eyes at once.

Instead, it starts off by only affecting one of your dog’s eyes.

Over time, glaucoma will eventually spread to the unaffected eye, as well.

You might not even know that your dog is dealing with glaucoma during the earlier stages of the disease.

This is why taking your dog to see the vet regularly is necessary, because the vet is trained to notice such things right away.

Your Dog’s Age Also Matters Greatly

You might associate canine glaucoma exclusively with older dogs, but such an association is not always correct.

Despite this, your dog’s age is still definitely a relevant thing to consider.

This is because older dogs are more likely to have other health conditions aside from glaucoma when compared to younger dogs.

Glaucoma on its own might not eliminate your dog’s quality of life.

Glaucoma along with other health problems can do so, and if so, euthanization is one possible option that you do have and should consider after consulting with your vet.

Your Dog’s Quality of Life is The Most Important Thing

You have to think about a lot of different things when considering if euthanizing your dog with glaucoma is the right thing to do.

The most important thing to take into account is your dog’s quality of life.

If your dog has glaucoma but still has a good quality of life, then euthanization doesn’t really make too much sense.

On the other hand, if your dog has little or no quality of life due to glaucoma, then putting your dog down is an understandable course of action.

No matter what, you should talk to your family and consult your vet before you make the final decision.

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4 thoughts on “When To Put Down A Dog With Glaucoma?”

  1. My dog is at the point of having her remaining eye removed. She is 12 and has no other health issues. She’s not ready to be euthanized. I need help with caring for her. Should we get her a cone to wear to prevent injury. I know she can no longer be off leash. I need other tips.

  2. Hello I also just found out my dog has glacoma,very heart wrenching to find out my little girl is sick,they have talked about removing her eye,or yet putting her down,if anyone knows anything about this any info is helpful,removing her eye sounds terrible,but also they say it can spread to the other eye,she is my world and I love her like part of my family,if anyone knows about this with hands on experience drop me a line want her to have a happy,pain free comfortable life..

    • Hello debra I am sorry about your little one my guy also has the same issue but does not seem to be in any pain either he is and can hide it or there is no pain but I could be wrong we are giving him eye drops now but we have been given the same diagnosis as you. He is my rescue and we are joined at the hip I too love this little guy he is like my son the vet said to remove the eye or there is some medicine they can inject but only a 50% chance it would work. I really don’t want to remove his eye but I am going to get another opinion before that and they said maybe put him down I won’t do that not now. I am sorry I could not give you a more positive outlook I do feel your pain

    • Hi, my little dog just had his eye removed. He had a mature cataract for several month and then all of a sudden his eye started looking inflamed and red so I took him into the vet. He was given a steroid eye drop but his eye continued to swell and it was huge. I took him back in and he was given two more eye drops to try and lower the pressure. His eye looked so painful and he was on an anti-inflammatory med and gabapentin to control his pain while we let the drops work. They didn’t do anything for the first 24 hours and in fact his pressure went up more. After a week the pressure came down 10 points but his eye continued to change and look awful and he was already blind in it from the cataract. We had no choice but to remove the eye because the pressure was still high after a week and a half on eye drops 4-6x per day. This all transpired over the course of 3 weeks, it was so sudden. The vet said that the pressure was just not responding. He just had surgery yesterday. I can tell you removing his eye was extremely emotional and I cried when I saw him. It was a gut wrenching experience I hope to never have to do again BUT I did find some relief knowing that now he isn’t in pain with that eye and that there really wasn’t anything else we could have done. Some of the drops aren’t suitable for long term use and then he would have had to be on two medications for pain for the rest of his life assuming that the drops kept the pressure down (which they normally don’t). So eventually we would have had to remove the eye anyway whether it be now, 3 months from now or 6 months from now. Glaucoma is very painful for a dog, its like having a constant headache daily that never goes away. I am worried it can spread to his other eye but I can’t dwell on that. I am going to love him every day and enjoy the time I have left with him, he will be 14 in August.


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National Canine Research Association of America