Glaucoma is a condition wherein pressure – specifically intraocular pressure – increases within the eye. It can happen in dogs as well as people and is caused by dysregulation of eye fluid; also known as aqueous humor.
This fluid is constantly being produced and provides the eye with the nutrients and oxygen it needs to properly function. However, if a blockage occurs which prevents the fluids from draining normally, then the pressure in the eye will subsequently increase.
The eye will get larger, can take on an irregular shape, and if left untreated, can permanently damage the optic nerve leading to full vision loss in most cases. Additionally, glaucoma can be a very painful disease as the pressure pushes against the inside of the head, causing what is described as intense migraine-like discomfort.
Cost of Dog Glaucoma Surgery
While glaucoma can be treated with medications, these are more of a short-term solution rather than long-term as they will not prevent the eventual loss of function of the eye. Surgical intervention, on the other hand, is the most common treatment, although there are several types of surgery available depending on the specific prognosis and medical history of your animal.
The dog glaucoma treatment costs would be determined through these options mentioned above.
Diagnosis is, of course, the first step for treatment. Glaucoma can lead to blindness after just one year from the onset in almost 40% of cases, so detection is extremely important.
Symptoms that your dog may be developing glaucoma include red or cloudy eyes, abnormal eyeball or pupil size, abnormal blinking, lack of interest in food and socializing, discharge from eyes, rubbing of eyes against objects or paws, and increased intolerance to light. If you see any of these signs, you should take your animal to the vet as soon as possible.
A basic exam will run around $50 wherein a doctor will measure the fluid pressure in your dog’s eyes with a tonometer. If the pressure is outside of the normal range and there are no additional medical problems that could be causing it, then you should see a veterinary ophthalmologist.
Ophthalmologists have additional specific equipment which can measure the functioning of the optic nerve as well as the eye fluid drainage angle. An exam with an ophthalmologist will run around $100 as they are a specialist.
Additionally, they may want to get an X-ray or ultrasound done in order to rule out a tumor or other internal problem that can cause an increase in intraocular pressure. These cost around $150 to $350 depending on your area and clinic.
Treatment of Dog Glaucoma
The type of surgery you elect to get for your dog depends on what stage the glaucoma has progressed to.
This involves the use of a laser beam to destroy the fluid producing cells in the eye. After this, an artificial lens is inserted as well as an artificial draining device in some cases.
This procedure can cost up to $1,500 for one eye and $3,000 for both.
Unfortunately, this procedure only has a 60% success rate in restoring full vision, so the earlier it is done the better. Additionally, dogs that receive this treatment need long-term medication moving forward, specifically antioxidant vision supplements which can cost from $30 to $100 a month depending on the dosage and type of drug prescribed.
It’s a procedure wherein a shunt is placed in the dog’s eye which acts as an artificial drainage pipe for the eyeball fluid. It is important to know, however, that eventually, the implant will fail as the body forms scar tissue around it – causing a new blockage.
This means that after 6 months to 1 year, the implant will either need to be replaced or other treatment options should be pursued. This type of dog glaucoma surgery costs around $500 to $800 while aftercare antibiotics and pain management drugs will be required as well, which can run from $50 to $100 a month.
In cases where vision loss has already significantly progressed, enucleation may be the best option. This entails the complete removal of the eyeball in order to prevent further pain and complications.
The dog eye removal surgery costs between $500 and $1,000 per eye depending on the specifics of your animal’s case. This is actually the safest procedure – with complications being rare and recovery taking about 2-3 weeks.
Of course, your animal will need to adjust to this new lifestyle and there are aftercare pain management medications to consider which can run from $25 to $100 a month or so depending on the size of your dog and dosage recommended.
Additional and Other Expenses
In some cases, your dog will require a surgical procedure to correct its glaucoma but it will usually be able to return home on the day of its procedure. A day’s hospitalization and recovery care typically cost about $50.
- Elizabethan collar
To prevent your dog from scratching or rubbing its eye following its glaucoma procedure, it will need to wear an Elizabethan collar which costs about $13 to $40, depending on size.
- Diode laser
Your dog may be treated using diode laser therapy. The cost of treating one eye is around $1,400 and treatment of both eyes costs about $1,800. This procedure is carried out under general anesthetic.
- Toxic Intravitreal Ciliary Body Chemical Ablation
TICBCA is usually performed under sedation and costs around $1,100 for one eye and about $1,600 for both eyes.
Prognosis and Recovery
Although glaucoma medication can delay the progression of the disease and provide pain relief, most dogs lose their sight in one or both eyes within two years if surgery is not carried out. After surgery, you will need to attend at least two further check-up appointments with the specialist vet who carried out the procedure on your pet to make sure that all is well. This would cost around $120 per appointment.
If only one of your dog’s eyes is affected by glaucoma, you will need to have its other eye examined every six months or so to make sure that it is healthy. If problems are detected and treated quickly, the long-term prognosis for that eye is good.
If your dog has had its eye removed, don’t worry! Most dogs adapt very quickly and a minor loss of depth perception will not prevent your canine companion from continuing to enjoy its life pain-free.