Xalatan, also known by its generic name, latanoprost, is a drug that is commonly prescribed for dogs who are suffering from glaucoma. This medication is obtained by prescription only and therefore can only be obtained through a veterinarian. Dogs affected by glaucoma have high intraocular pressure in their eyes and this medication is meant to reduce it. Owners of dogs with glaucoma who are using this drug, should be aware of the fact that Xalatan for dogs with glaucoma will not cure dogs from this condition, but only relieve the symptoms.
About the Drug
Xalatan for dog glaucoma is 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. 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.
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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 opthamologist. 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 intaocular 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.
Side Effects of Xalatan
While many dogs do not suffer from side effects derived from the use of Xalatan, as with any types of drugs, there are risks for side effects. Xalatan side effects in dogs include stinging and burning of the eye, swelling, constricted pupils and excessive tearing. Consult with your vet at once if you notice any of these side effects.
While xalatan is a potent drug for treating glaucoma, its use is not recommended for dogs who have developed secondary glaucoma, deriving from preexisting conditions such as uveitis, lens luxation, and vitreal prolapse.
Xalatan is therefore an important drug that can be used on an emergency basis, but also long-term as part of a treatment plan for primary glaucoma in dogs. If your dog develops at any time ocular pain, vision problems or a sudden change in appearance of the eye, you should see your vet at once for proper diagnosis and treatment.
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