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Knowing the normal eye pressure range in dogs is important so to exclude ocular problems such as glaucoma. 

Your vet can easily check the pressure of the eyes with a simple exam. High values may warrant a visit to the emergency center.

Just as it happens in humans, there are veterinary specialists who have made of eye disorders their area of expertise. 

These specialists can provide dogs the best care, if eye problems are present. 

What is Intraocular Pressure in Dogs?

It may not seem like it, but your dog's eyes retain their shape because they are filled up with fluid. Yes, just like an inflated ball or the tires of your car.

In order to stay healthy, the intraocular pressure in the eyes needs to stay at an optimal level, which is done by fluids (aqueous humor) that are regularly drained. 

Just like a tire, you therefore want the eyes to be not overfilled and not underfilled.

When there is an imbalance between the production of fluids and drainage, this results in the “over-inflation” of the eye with associated increased levels of intraocular pressure. 

Vets use a special instrument to measure a dog's eye pressure

Vets use a special instrument to measure a dog's eye pressure

How is Eye Pressure Measured in Dogs?

While tires are measured in pounds per square inch (PSI), the eyes are measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg). 

The vet will use a test called tonometry to measure this pressure.

In humans, intraocular pressure ranges between 10 and 20 millimeters of mercury (mmHg), while in dogs it's between 10 and 25 millimeters Hg.

What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is an eye disorder caused by an increase in the intraocular pressure in the eye. Such increase is also known as "ocular hypertension." 

The symptoms are similar to the symptoms of human glaucoma (redness of the white of the eye, eye color changes, dilated pupil, intermittent blindness, squinting). Dogs may also manifest head shyness. 

Canine glaucoma is a devastating condition because it's quite prevalent, painful, costly to treat and leads to a high percentage of blindness.

Without treatment, the eye may become blind.

Treatment for glaucoma in dogs is usually aimed at lowering the pressure inside the eye. This can be achieved by using eye drops to reduce intraocular pressure or promote drainage of fluid.

Advanced cases may require surgery, which may include removal of the eye (enucleation). 

What Types of Glaucoma Affect Dogs?

 There are two kinds of glaucoma in dogs. 

One is primary glaucoma, which is inherited. In this cases, the dog has a deformity in the iridocorneal drainage angle which prevents proper flow of aqueous humor. 

It is common in dog breeds such as, basset hounds, cocker spaniels, beagles, Norwegian elkhounds, great dane, Siberian husky, Jack Russell Terrier, Samoyed, Chow Chow, Samoyed, Labrador retriever and Chinese Shar Pei.

The other is secondary glaucoma, which can be caused by  underlying conditions that cause blockage to the drainage hole in the eye.

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These underlying conditions may be an eye tumor, lens luxation (due to cataracts), trauma, a complication of canine cataract surgery, and inflammation of the inside of the eye causing blockage

Unlike primary glaucoma, secondary glaucoma in dogs often affects one eye.  

Special eye drops can help the fluids flow

Special eye drops can help the fluids flow

What Medication is Used?

Xalatan for dog glaucoma is a common eye drop that is prescribed for glaucoma. It's categorized as a prostaglandin analog drug.

It's available in eye drops or as an eye ointment. These drops are usually applied once or twice a day, every 12 to 24 hours.

Xalatan is not approved for use in animals by the FDA but it is common practice for veterinarians to legally prescribed this drug to dogs as an extra-label drug.

Only veterinarians can give you exact dosage instructions and directions for how long to use this drug, depending on your dog's condition and response to it.

Follow your vet's guidelines exactly as directed and report to your vet if you are planning on making any changes.

Mode of Action

How does Xalatan for dog glaucoma work?

In a dog with healthy eyes, the eyes produce fluids that nourish the lens and cornea and help maintain ideal intraocular pressure levels.

These watery fluids are constantly drained to prevent them from building up. As mentioned, in a dog with glaucoma, these fluids don't drain as they should, and therefore they tend to accumulate, causing increased pressure within the eye.

This pressure is not only painful to the dog, but can potentially end up damaging the dog's optic nerve and retina, which can ultimately lead to blindness.

Early intervention is imperative with this condition.

Without treatment, permanent vision loss from glaucoma can occur in less than 24 hours, warns Mark Bobofchak, a board-certified veterinary ophthalmologist.

Because time is of the essence, it's very important to see your vet at once if you notice any eye problems in your dog.

Glaucoma in dogs may occur primarily, but also secondarily to other eye conditions such as eye cancer or trauma.

When Xalatan is used, this drug facilitates the flow of fluids, increasing the outflow of aqueous humor through the uveoscleral pathway, which in turn, reduces the intraocular pressure, thus, preventing further damage to the dog's eye.

When used correctly, under the guidance of a vet, Xalatan is a very potent drug, capable or reducing intraocular pressure by 65 to 70 percent.

What if Ocular Hypertension is Left Untreated?

  If the pressure in the eye continues to increase, the optic nerve will be damaged and vision will be impaired.

 High intraocular pressure damages the retina and optic nerve, which are the innermost layers of the eyeball.

 The retina is responsible for converting images into nerve signals that travel from the eye to the brain leading to vision.

When the optic nerve is damaged, these signals that travel from the retina to the brain are interrupted leading to vision loss.

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