Muttley’s Story

bassethoundMuttley is a 7 year old Bassett Hound whom we have had since a 12 weeks old pup. After initial care arrangements failed – we relied on a voluntary neighbour – we both agreed that the best option for Muttley was to employ a regular lunchtime walker. After much searching and asking for recommendations we found Nina's Nannies for Pets who have been walking Muttley for the past 6 years.

When Muttley was first diagnosed with primary Glaucoma, everyone was so supportive in their responses.Nina as always, was straight on the telephone with her regular questions what can we do? Muttley had his enucleation (eyeball removal), on his 7th birthday. Instead of getting upset, like the rest of us, Nina brought him a birthday present and came over to see him. She made a big fuss and let him know it was all back to normal.

Nina and Doug are now helping us with the training of our potentially blind dog by reassuring him and talking him through his walks. The glaucoma will develop in the other eye within the next 18 months and he will need a similar operation for his good eye. With careful preparation we have been informed that Muttley will lead a perfectly active life. Nina's Nannies for Pets are playing a significant part in this as the other people in Muttley's life.

The good news is that Muttley has Primary Glaucoma, and that has been confirmed. Secondary Glaucoma is the one that often ends up with animals being euthanised as it is caused by trauma or cancers.

What is Glaucoma?

It is increased pressure within the eye. Cells inside the eye produce a clear fluid (aqueous humor), that maintains the shape of the eye and nourishes the tissues inside of the ye. The balance of fluid production and drainage is responsible for maintaining normal pressure within the eye. In Glaucoma, the drain becomes clogged but the eye keeps producing fluid. Therefore, the pressure in the eye increases. The increased pressure in the eye actually can cause the eye to stretch and enlarge.

What causes glaucoma?

It is classified as either primary or secondary in animals.

Primary Glaucoma is an inherited condition and occurs in many breeds, especially American Cocker Spaniels, Bassett Hounds, Chow Chows, Shar Peis, Labrador Retrievers and Artic Circle breed dogs (Huskies, Elkhounds etc). It is rare however in cats.

Primary Glaucoma usually begins in one eye, but almost always eventually involves both eyes, leading to complete blindness.

How does Glaucoma affect the eye?

Vision Loss. Pressure damage to the optic nerve and decreased blood flow to the retina, the film in the camera, results in loss of vision. However, if the pressure in the eye remains uncontrolled, the retina degenerates and vision is permanently lost. Permanent blindness can occur within several hours if the pressure is very high and the Glaucoma develops rapidly. This is what happened to Muttley.

Unfortunately, the first eye to develop primary glaucoma in dogs is usually already blind by the time the disease is recognised. For this reason, treatment in these cases is directed at relieving discomfort in the blind eye and preventing or delaying glaucoma development in the other eye. Gonioscopy of the remaining visual eye helps determine how to treat this eye

Pain. Increased intraocular pressure is painful. Dogs, cats, and humans have normal intraocular pressures between 10 and 20 mmHg. Glaucoma, often results in pressures of 20-28 mmHg in humans, but pressured of 45-65 mmHg are common in dogs and cats. For this reason, glaucoma in pets is more painful than in humans. The pain persits in the form of a constant headache or migraine. This discomfort can result in decreased activity, less desire to play, irritability, or decreased appetite and is often not apparent to the owner. Your pet will not tell you the eye is uncomfortable.Muttley had a pressure of 80mmHG.

How do I know if my pet has Glaucoma?

The only way to know for sure is to have the intraocular pressures measured by a veterinarian. Signs of Glaucoma can include a red or bloodshot eye and/or cloudy cornea. Vision loss is also characteristic of glaucoma. However, loss of vision in one eye is often not obvious because animals compensate with their remaining eye. Eventually, the increased pressure will cause the eye to stretch and become enlarged Unfortunately, eyes are usually permanently blind by the time they become enlarged.

If you dog has lost one eye and the other eye is at risk of developing Glaucoma. The median time until an attack occurs in the other eye is 8 months. Prophylactic medical therapy for the remain eye delays the onset of Glaucoma from median of 8 months to a median of 31 months.

Secondary Glaucoma occurs when the other eye diseases cause decreased fluid drainage. Common causes of secondary Glaucoma are inflammation inside the eye (uvetitis), advanced cataracts, cancer in the ye, lens subluxation or luxation and chronic retinal detachment.

Source: Muttley, Caroline & Nina

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