Quality of life after eye surgery...

schoolhouse_gwAugust 20, 2009

My 10yr.old mutt was diagnosed with glaucoma which came on quite suddenly in both eyes. I'm trying to control the pressure in the eyes with meds but altho it has come down alot, it went back up some in one eye. The vet says that eventually both eyes will have to be removed due to the pain that the pressure causes. She's on a pain med, but it upsets her stomach, so I give it 1/2 twice a day only if the pressure gets to a point that the vet says she is feeling pain. Right now, it's mainly the one eye.

Has anyone dealt with a dog's eye(s) removal, esp. post-op. I know blind dogs can get along fantastically, but will the surgery be so traumatic that she will continue to not eat and be so depressed? With the source of pain (eye) gone, she would certainly be more herself again.

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no experience with blindness, but I do know that dogs & cats have an astonishing ability to roll with the punches & that pain is a much worse enemy than disability is.

In fact, I don't know that dogs recognize disability.
or care.

I've had a dog whose leg had to be amputated (he came from a self-described "rescuer" who had bandaged a small bite so tightly that it cut off the circulation & the leg died).

Magic didn't care, didn't even slow down.

& Max the Doberman had a very badly swollen toe that hurt a lot more than I realized at the time.

The vet tried everything in the world & finally amputated the toe & biopsied it; turned out that the nerve sheath had been crushed, which must have been excruciating.

I had thought that Max was a shy, high-strung, snappish, nervous dog.

After the surgery, his personaliity emerged.
turns out he's a clown!

If she's depressed & isn't eating, I'd think she was having pain like Max was, & I think I'd get the surgery
done sooner rather than later.

I wish you & your dog the very best.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2009 at 12:39PM
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I'm sorry to hear you're going thru this. I've never owned a dog with glaucoma but I've had dogs that slowly went blind and we had to make changes in the household to accommodate them. Suddenly going blind would be quite traumatic and would take some adjustments for both the dog and owner, but I'm sure you both will do well.

If your dog is in a lot of pain, surgery is probably the best option at this point. I can't imagine she'd feel depressed afterward. If anything she'd probably feel like a new dog.

As described in the link below, the disease is very painful.

Here is a link that might be useful: eye disease

    Bookmark   August 21, 2009 at 1:01PM
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Thank you for your replies. She has a 10:30am appt. tomorrow to check eye pressure, I'll discuss scheduling the surgery for the worst eye at this time. Unless, the pressure is also increasing in the best eye, then I'll authorize both eyes removed. Ugh. But I can't see continually giving her stronger and stronger glaucoma eye drops and pills just to prolong the inevitable and causing her nausea and diarrhea from pain and stress.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2009 at 1:21PM
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First Ask your vet for something that is easier on your dogs tummy or ad another pill to help her with the pain meds on her tummy.
Next I would suggest you do some pre op training. take her to the coffee table and tell her coffeee table, go to the dining room, and tell her dining room, same tieh the car and the backyard - use her hearing to help her now, then when she does lose her vision she will be able to find her way around easier, good luck
PS - my friends Irish setter lost her vision to diabetes. The first year of her blindness she was playing with "something" in the backyard during my friends thanksgiving dinner party - yep you guessed it, it was the trukey, it had been sitting on the counter and she brought it outside to cool it off!!! Used the doggy door and all.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2009 at 4:44PM
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Thanks mazer. Lena actually navigates the house well already, I coached her the first few days down the porch steps and before long she was doing it on her own and coming back up too. She still wants to go on walks with the other dog, but last night and today I think she is in some pain so I don't want to stress her. I had been running her to the vet every other day or so for pressure checks and he said current pressure indicate she shouldn't be in much pain; but it's so very hard to tell. They can't speak to us!

She hasn't eaten her supper for five days, save for bits of cooked chicken, boiled potato,ect. Tonight she ate 4 small pieces of chicken and then refused the rest and lays with her back towards me as if she is disgusted with me! She did drink water, but sometimes is sick afterwards; so we shall see if it all stays down.

I am anxious for tomorrow to come, I've decided this afternoon to ask the vet to remove both eyes instead of just the one; as the other one will not be pain-free much longer. The surgery will be $650 for both. It will be a sacrifice but how can one refuse to help a friend? I'll be a nervous wreck tonight.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2009 at 5:47PM
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I work with a blind cat rescue and have removed so many painful eyes I can't count any more. Many cats have both eyes removed. Without a doubt, the cats are MUCH happier once the source of pain is removed. By the next day they are eating and drinking and playing. I've also removed painful eyes in dogs and they react the same way- much happier to be rid of the pain.

I'll be thinking of your Lena today. Hope she does great with surgery and beyond.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2009 at 9:57AM
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Thank you for those encouraging words meghane. Well, this morning the vet measured the pressure in the eyes and said, "Remarkably, the left is back to normal(!), the right eye has gone back down to 48". He said she shouldn't be in much pain if at all at this point. Discontinue the pain pills that were making her stomach upset but continue the pill for colitis.

BUT: he did blood work - two of the scariest words while at a vet's office. This would have had to be done before surgery anyway. So, he finds out that she is anemic and her kidney levels are elevated, possibly kidney failure. He did a rectal and found a little blood in her stool, but no tumors; so he's not sure where that bleeding is coming from.
Darn. I had in the back of my mind all this time that something else may be going on to have her go blind so suddenly in both eyes. At least with glaucoma, the surgery would have helped; now this other I'm not looking forward to the future. I'm to take a urine sample in Monday for testing, altho he says the levels aren't terribly high, he still wants to check it. And he wants to post-pone the eye surgery of course until then.

No matter how many dogs one has owned over the years, it never gets easy does it?

    Bookmark   August 22, 2009 at 3:11PM
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Bummer about the anemia and elevated kidney values. You mentioned that Lena has not been eating well. It's possible that her elevated kidney values are because when most animals don't eat, they don't drink that well either, so she may just be slightly dehydrated. The urine sample should confirm things either way.

Has her systemic blood pressure been taken? Sometimes glaucoma is the only clinical sign of hypertension in dogs, which thankfully is easily treatable.

The blood in her stool is probably just from the colitis. My first dog had colitis a LOT as a puppy, and he frequently had blood in his stool just because of the irritation. Hopefully that is all that is happening to Lena.

I'm still hoping for the best! It does not get easier, no. But dogs bring such joy you just can't help not doing everything you can for them to keep them happy and healthy as long as possible.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2009 at 10:57AM
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I forgot to mention meghane that the vet also gave her a whole bag of fluid (500cc(cc-?) by sticking a needle under the skin on her back. He said I would notice a big ole lump somewhere on her body soon after but that it would disappear after an hour or so, it was the liquid. She felt alot better when we got home, at least for awhile it perked her up.

I will ask about the hypertension. My friend who is a nurse, right at the beginning asked me if Lena could be diabetic. I wonder if a different blood test needs to be taken for that? You are very encouraging and I take comfort in that. Always been a pessimist! and a realist, I guess. Thank you so much.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2009 at 8:29PM
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Well, it's kidney failure. Also the eye pressures went right back up - from normal to 45 and the other is up 65! He gave me some morphine pills for the pain.

He told me she could possibly go in a week's time. So sad, but I'll get through it. I think I'll call the other vet down the road one day this week or next to come to the house to euthanize. It will be easier on her and me, other than run her back into the other office.

Thanks for listening everyone.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2009 at 10:48AM
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I know these may be old posts but someone might read this looking for some reassurance..
My little dog Molly suffered with her eyes from being a puppy, for many years we gave her drops for Glaucoma but her eyes were very large and often sore, they annoyed her, also when ever she bumped into things it was always her eyes that hit first, so we made the decision to have them both removed, I figured because she was almost blind anyway it wouldn't be too much of a shock and with the pain gone she would feel better.. now don't get me wrong, in the long run it was the best thing for her, I just wasn't prepared for what we had to go through to get to that stage, obviously there was blood and stitches but she healed well, but she lost all her confidence, for a good 3 or 4 months she would barely move around the house she knew so well, I had to lead her to her water bowls, the door to go out even the bed she loved so much, she was incredibly depressed for over a year, just her loosing that small amount of light and shade affected her terribly, eventually she brightened up but has never been the girl we knew before the operation, not as bouncy and energetic.. think long and hard before you make the decision to remove both eyes, would I do it again?/ I don't know.. 2 years on my little angel is dying of Kidney desease, I wonder was it worth the trauma for those two years.. I don't know..

    Bookmark   August 15, 2011 at 7:48PM
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This is a subject my husband and I have been wrestling with for the past month. Our Pom has diabetes and went blind within two days. He is only 10 years old. It was heartbreaking for us. The vet said both eyes will have to come out. Right now he is eating well and as far as we can tell not in pain. It will cost us over $1600 for one night hospital stay and both eyes coming out. One eye is enlarged and we put drops in it every three to four hours. He is getting around the house fine and even went on a short walk with me a couple of days ago. The vet told us to watch and if he seems in pain bring him in. $1600 is a lot of money for us. When I read these forum post it makes me feel like we are not alone in making the most important decision to date regarding our little guy. I am thinking long and hard about doing it, as he is just now starting to play again and eat right. His blood sugar is down. Thanks for all the good info.

Here is a link that might be useful: Simply-Cookbooks-Garden

    Bookmark   October 17, 2013 at 3:23PM
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I treated my Akita for 2 years for glaucoma - 3 different eye drops twice a day - for a whopping $300/month. Then one weekend, the pressure just went to hell. By Monday afternoon, both her eyes had been removed. She was almost blind anyway & I just wanted to stop the pain.
I was an absolute wreck about it - but decided I would not let her know how upset I was.
Once her cone of shame came off, she was terribly depressed. I would force her to get up 3-4 times a day. We would walk the house - determine where things were. I laid down a couple different types of carpeting (like down the hall & in the kitchen) so she would know where she was, etc.
Two years later (Kita is now 11 years old) - other than the fact that she doesn't run anymore (also has some arthritis), you wouldn't know she was blind. She knows where she's going & what she wants to do when she gets there.
Was the best decision I've ever made to have her eyes removed.
A couple of months ago, we moved from a ranch home to a two story. I was very concerned about Kita & the steps. Only took her two days to master the steps. Obviously I was worried about nothing.
I chose to have her eyelids sewn shut - they put a silicone ball in the socket so the lids don't sink in. She just looks like her eyes are closed.
It is a hard decision to make - but the best decision is the one that takes away your baby's pain.
You might want to check around for pricing for this surgery. I had it done in the Nashville, TN area & surgery for both eyes was less than $1000.
Good Luck to all of you & best wishes.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2013 at 4:54PM
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