Tonometry – a preventative procedure for canine glaucoma

tonometerGlaucoma in dogs refers to a group of diseases that result in an increased pressure of the fluid within the eye. This increased pressure is both painful and may result in loss of sight due to damage of the retina and optic nerve.

Canine glaucoma can be divided into two main categories, where the glaucoma is occurring either primarily or secondary to another disease process within the eye. If the glaucoma is primary it is often due to reduced drainage of fluid from the eye near to the limbus. This is often called closed angle glaucoma. Other ocular diseases may cause glaucoma such as lens luxation, inflammation (uveitis) or cancer.

Certain breeds are more likely to suffer from glaucoma. The disease is most frequently seen in Cocker Spaniels, Terriers, Northern breeds such as the Siberian Husky, Poodles, Beagles, Jack Russell Terriers, Bassett Hounds and Dalmations. However, primary glaucoma has been documented in almost every single breed.

Canine glaucoma can present as an emergency and quickly progress to blindness. We are really happy at Vet4life to have invested in a state of the art high quality Tono-Pen tonometer. The tonometer is used to measure the pressure inside the eye,and is an essential diagnostic procedure during an eye examination where glaucoma or uveitis is suspected. A simple and non-invasive procedure, tonometry allows us to evaluate too high or too low pressure in the eye, as well as monitoring glaucomatous and inflamed eyes for progression or improvement from therapy. A normal reading is around 12 to 25 mmHg.

Many dogs in the at-risk breeds have their ocular pressures taken at the time of their annual health examination and vaccination.

Here we examined Ruby the Cavachon (a cross between a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and a Bichon Frise):

Ruby being examined by the vet

The eye is numbed with a local anaesthetic:

Local anaesthetic on eye

An antiseptic mask is put on to the tonometer:

antiseptic mask on tonometer

The tonometer is calibrated:

tonometer calibration

The intraocular pressure is read by lightly touching the tonometer on to the dog’s eye:

tonometry reading

The tonometer takes 4 measurements and the average is taken:

tonometer reading

Here Ruby’s intraocular pressure is 25 mmHg so she is healthy and there are no signs of glaucoma.

For a preventative check for canine glaucoma, please call Vet4life on 020 8977 3955 (Teddington), 020 8390 5270 (Surbiton) or 01932 229 900 (Shepperton). We would be happy to talk through any concerns you may have about your dog.

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Vet4life

Veterinary Surgeon at Vet4life
Ian Stroud is a highly experienced small animal veterinary surgeon with over 15 years working in practice. He has particular interests in several areas including minimally-invasive surgery, orthopaedics and oncology (cancer treatment). He currently practices in Teddington, Shepperton and Surbiton where he is the director of Vet4life.
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