We adopted Danger when he was a puppy. We couldn't resist him. Mike, Dulce and I went to "just look" at him,and he came home with us that same afternoon. It was love at first sight.
He wasn't so sure about us in the beginning. He was unpredictable and a bit surly. He most definitely has a strong insubordinate streak. But, in time, he accepted us as his pack. We don't have any human children, but our dogs are our babies, and the four of us are very strongly bonded. We're inseparable.
Over the years, Danger has appeared to be the picture of health. He has always passed every test at his annual vet exams and he has never complained or shown signs of illness- which, in part, is why we are so devastated to learn that Danger has glaucoma.
Glaucoma is caused when there is an increase in pressure within the eye due to an impairment of aqueous humor outflow. In dogs, the effects of glaucoma are far more immediate and severe than they are in humans. Often, by the time the condition is discovered, irreversible vision loss has occurred.
Glaucoma is very painful. The buildup of pressure inside the eye causes persistent migraine-like symptoms which do no dissipate. In dogs, Glaucoma is a MEDICAL EMERGENCY that requires immediate attention.
We had never been told about the warning signs of glaucoma or any related diseases of the eye. We didn't notice the subtle changes that had started to happen. We didn't know to take him to the vet until my sister-in-law, who has had previous experience with a glautomatous dog, mentioned to us that she thought we should have Danger's eyes looked at. He had large pupils, and when the light hit his eyes, you could see a haze covering the surface of his eyeball.
Danger's ophthalmologist has diagnosed him with primary glaucoma, a congenital condition. She explained that Danger has probably had abnormal pressure in his eyes since he was born. And, because it was left untreated for the last five years, it has progressed. In what seems like a flash Danger went from having fully functional sight to having lost complete vision in his left eye and a high percentage of the vision in his right eye. It is a terrible feeling to know there is nothing we can do to reverse the damage that has been done, and we can never take back the pain that he shouldered while this disease progressed.
Please, please, if you have a pet who you hold dear to your heart, learn from Danger. Be better than us. If we had known then what we know now, we likely could have treated Danger's glaucoma years ago and delayed the onset of vision loss. Most certainly, we could have spared him suffering.
Please educate yourself. Please seek immediate attention for your furry friends if your companion starts to exhibit any signs including:
These symptoms may not be overtly obvious. So keep watch for anything unusual. Your furry friends cannot tell you when something is wrong, and they are counting on you to care for and do what's best for them. More information can be found online or by talking to your veterinarian. If you have any concern your pet may have glaucoma, ask your veterinarian to perform tests with a tonometer. This test should be readily available at your clinicians office and it is not invasive or expensive.
We have a lot of emotions about our experience with Danger's diagnostic process. We are angry that we didn't know better. We are sad that he has suffered a huge loss. We are heartbroken that we didn't stop the pain sooner. But, we are also hopeful that veterinary medicine will continue to progress toward reversing the damage this disease causes. We are happy to see him more relaxed and comfortable now that we have started managing his symptoms with medication. We are confident that Danger will learn to adjust and continue to be the happy and lovable pup we've come to adore. And I am certain that our bond will continue to grow as we work through this new challenge.