Glaucoma - need some guidance

kitasmommieMarch 12, 2012

Our Akita was diagnosed with glaucoma about 2 years ago - in her left eye.

Along with the eye drops & oral medication, she also had laser surgery & a glaucoma valve.

We knew she was losing the sight in that eye, but otherwise hadn't had any real problems....until this past weekend, when quite suddenly she was in alot of pain - the glaucoma was in the right eye. I got the vet on the phone, increased the eye drops & gave her pain medication till we could get into the office this morning.

The pressure in both eyes was very high & she confirmed that Kita has no vision in her left eye. The pressure in the right eye was so high, they had to manually release it.

Kita is almost 10 years old now & has to be sedated just to have her eyes examined. She really doesn't like them fussing with her eyes.

My options are to have the same surgery done in the right eye (and remove the left eye) - which there is no guarantee how long that will work & wait for her to lose the sight in that eye. Then have another surgery to remove the eye.

OR - have both eyes removed now. This will take away the pain & there will be no more surgeries.

Husband & I have discussed & decided the best course is to go ahead & take both eyes now.

I'm heartbroken - the tears are dripping as I'm typing.

I don't want her to be in any more pain, but can I really take her sight?

If we do the surgery on her eye, it will require several trips back to the vet for follow up - with her being sedated for every visit. And she will lose her sight anyway.

I'm second guessing myself now - to the point where I can't think straight.

I just don't want her to be in any pain.

Am I doing the right thing?

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I was faced with the same scenario three years ago. However, my Lena developed kidney failure almost at the same time of the glaucoma diagnosis. Anyway, we were in the vet's office one day getting the pressure in her eyes checked and another patient said they had a 12yr.old Pug that had to have both eyes removed because of an earlier glaucoma diagnosis. The lady said she and her husband were devastated but after the surgery, their Pug was no longer in pain and got along amazingly well without her sight. The dog simply learned her way around the house and even outside! At 12yr. she was still going strong. It would be such a hard decision to make but not as much for the dog as would think.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2012 at 6:24PM
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Before I got to the part of your story where you shared your decision, I reached the same conclusion. With dogs, you must eliminate and minimize their pain. She has likely already adapted to limited vision already, and will do better than you can imagine. I have a 12 year old dog with cataracts who on coming to my home a year ago was bumping his head on doorways and seemed lost much of the time. Now that he knows the layout of my home, he's the one that leads me downstairs in a power outage :)

You are not 'taking her sight' you are 'taking her pain.' The disease has taken her sight.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2012 at 7:35PM
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I've talked about my little chipper dog before. Lhasa I rescued from the shelter who came with just one eye.....lots of emotional baggage. He eventually lost the sight in his 'good' eye from a cataract. I imagine he could see light/dark and that's about it. He did alright, even outside on leash.

Dogs have an amazing sense of smell. Hopefully he still has his hearing, and if he has that the sight will not be so important anymore.

I do have to tell you my grandmother was blind. I got used to being around an unsighted person young and didn't think too much about her being any different than anyone else. She lived independently that way better than most women her age. One just learns to not move things around. Stairs if you live in a two story might be an issue. Are either of you home during the day?

    Bookmark   March 13, 2012 at 5:19PM
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Hi Calliope;
we have a ranch - so the only steps are the 3 off the porch.
I work from home - so I'm here all the time.

Spent a peaceful night - think her drugs are still wearing off. but I haven't been able to get her to drink, eat or pee yet this morning.
I gotta figure out how to get her to take her pills (antibiotics & such). Can't get her to eat/taste anything. have been thru roast beef, ham, chicken, gravy, eggs, wet dog food, cheese, peanut butter, ice cream - you name it.....
I did find a coupple of really good websites for blind dog support - alot of good suggestions.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2012 at 9:32AM
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Well my best wishes are with you and your Kita. I worked from home as well (owned greenhouses) and it's a blessing with pets when they go through extraordinary situations. You say you think her meds are wearing off. She has not had the eye removed and maybe she's becoming more uncomfortable? Some of my dogs would not take pills hidden in food, no matter how well they were disguised. You can manually pill a dog by placing it at the rear of the mouth, and poking it to the back of the tongue and holding the mouth shut and stroking the neck. Its instinctual for them to swallow it down. There should be something on the web to explain the technique. Don't let her get dehydrated.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2012 at 3:28PM
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no - she's had both eyes removed.
I tried the back of the tongue thing last night & she snapped at me. didn't break the skin - but boy my knuckle hurts today.......she nevers snaps at me - but I'll not try that again.
she did wake up today around noon - drank water. we went outside & peed. then she decided that deli ham was pretty good - so I was able to get her meds into her with that.
She responding very well to new commands as well - like up/down for the stairs.
I put down a vinyl runner in the hallway - walked her down it once and later she was able to make it down herself to come to my office. Of course, we still need to work on getting thru the doorway - but it's coming along.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2012 at 6:23PM
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Just checking back in to see how it was going and sounds like you have a good handle on it now and things are looking up for Kita. She'll still have a good quality of life, you'll see and bless you for doing what needed to be done for her.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2012 at 9:21PM
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Blessings to both you and Kita, keep us posted.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 11:16AM
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update - it's been two weeks now since surgery.
Kita has been doing ok - learned new commands, was finding her way around the house - but was definitely depressed. I tried spending alot of extra time with her - just to get her moving, but didn't seem to be working too well.
Until this past Saturday......when we took off the e-collar.
I got my dog back :)one who doesn't hesitate......walks thru the house (slowly)- doesn't walk into anything - knows where she's going & what she's wants to do when she gets there. knows exactly where the water/food dishes are - knows where the front door is - can make it back to the bedroom - you wouldn't know she's blind, except she's just slower.
I get the tail wags & the doggy dance when we're going "outside", I get the sit down waiting for the treat when we come back in. She's eating & drinking better.

I feel so much better now & of course, I know she does as well - not being in pain anymore.

I'm looking forward to this weekend - getting her back in the car - she always loved to ride.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2012 at 5:20PM
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I have tears in my eyes. Blessings to you and Kita.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2012 at 8:37AM
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So glad she's doing better!!!!!

Our Suki (cat) became blind during the last months of her life (she was battling fibrosarcoma, a cancer). It broke my heart, but she really got around surprisingly well. Hugged the walls a bit while walking along the hallway, but knew where she was going, and always made it to the litter box when she needed it. She was a good girl.

Animals truly are amazing creatures.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2012 at 2:33PM
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I was so hoping you'd come back on and fill us in on how Kita is doing. I've thought of her since your initial post. It only gets better from this point on. What a relief.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2012 at 10:21PM
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