The photo above is my dog, Buddy. He was previously introduced to you all in another post (My Adorable Cocker Spaniel). That cute, pooped look on his face after a session of tennis ball chasing is a little like how I feel today. Buddy’s left eye has been really red, and yesterday Mr. Mess took him to the vet. Unfortunately, we discovered that he has increased intraocular pressure that is pressing on his blood vessels, causing them to be red and inflamed. It is most likely due to glaucoma.
I didn’t know a lot (okay, really anything) about glaucoma until yesterday. Now I’m scared. Glaucoma in dogs and humans is basically the same thing. In fact, it even uses the same medicine (it felt funny filling a prescription for a dog at a people-pharmacy). I discovered that glaucoma is caused by increased fluid pressure in the eye, and cocker spaniels are one of the breeds most likely to inherit glaucoma. According to Wikipedia,
“Glaucoma has been called the ‘silent thief of sight’ because the loss of vision often occurs gradually over a long period of time, and symptoms only occur when the disease is quite advanced.”
Great – now I feel even worse. If we had somehow been able to catch it earlier, it probably wouldn’t be as bad as it is now. The scariest part is that there really isn’t a cure. Again from Wikipedia, “Once lost, vision cannot normally be recovered, so treatment is aimed at preventing further loss.” The worst-case scenario is that he could lose vision and both of his eyes. Although only one is affected right now, according to eHow and every other source on the internet:
“…glaucoma can affect one or both eyes, but if a dog has glaucoma in one eye, the chances are high that the other eye will be affected as well.”
Read more: Glaucoma in Dogs | eHow.com
I’m going to stop quoting things because I am getting agitated again. I will just summarize the rest of what I learned last night. Glaucoma is serious, and possibly the most complicated and expensive disease to treat in dogs. That, again, is because there is no cure. We can relieve some of the pressure with eye drops and an ointment, which we have to apply directly to his eyeball, twice per day each with at least 30 minutes in between.
We will be taking him to see a doggy opthamologist (who even knew those existed?) on Monday. From what I have read, no matter what he will most likely need a surgery. The type of surgery will depend on how far along things are. They may be able to open up the drainage area for the fluid, called aqueous humor, to reduce the pressure. They can also do an “endolaser cyclophotocoagulation” (ECPC) laser surgery if he has enough vision left. I’m not going to go into the process, but it sounds painful and is definitely expensive. Other options include removing part or all of his eye and replacing it with an artificial lens or eye. If he got an artificial lens he still may keep some limited vision.
Buddy is the best pet I have owned in my entire life, and I’ve had quite a few. I picked him out as a tiny puppy (he peed on my shirt) not long after renting my very first apartment, and have had him ever since. He is 9 years old now. He is so sweet, and very gentle. He loves cuddling (and long walks on the beach LOL). He actually could be a vegetarian. He will eat any vegetable, and I mean ANY vegetable, even ones I don’t like. He is also a bit of a digger (oh well), but mostly to go after the annoying voles in our backyard. He has these huge paws and an adorable face, and he loves me sooo much.
I know that dogs don’t live forever and pure-breeds usually have health issues, but this kinda hit me out of left field. He isn’t dying, and they say that dogs adapt very well to not being able to see. I still wish I could have done something to prevent him from dealing with this. Apparently glaucoma is very painful, and poor Buddy is probably having migraines. You just can’t tell when dogs are in pain the same way you can with humans. He is whining or anything, but he does keep rubbing his eye with his paw. It makes me sad.
On the other hand, he is probably loving life right now. He got special food: wet food that we don’t usually give them, and even people-food (chicken), which he never, ever gets. He has also been getting tons of treats after eat time we have to put something in his eye. On top of that, the drops should be working by now to reduce the pressure, so he should be feeling better. He even got to spend a little time in our bed last night, something I swore to never do. Pets have always had their own sleeping space and I’ve had mine, but I just wanted to snuggle with him a bit (until he got tired of me and jumped off the bed). I’m sure he will be fine, I’m just worried for him and for us a bit financially. I guess it’s good I like to save money so much!
Now for a much lighter topic… We are finishing up the birthday celebration today. I made reservations at Morton’s Steakhouse for tonight. We love going there. They have the most wonderful steaks, and a fantastic atmosphere. They always make up special birthday menus and sprinkle confetti all over the table. We have reserved a booth, which are usually cushy and romantic. While I’m not feeling especially romantic, I do like to feel special and Morton’s is definitely good at that.
One of the coolest things, though, is that they are having a special on 2-pound lobsters for $29.99. Steak and lobster are both on my diet, and my favorite is filet mignon, which they cook to perfection. It really takes a steakhouse to cook a proper rare steak. I’m looking forward to dinner, and there is a special 3-course menu that comes with dessert. I think I’m going to indulge, and maybe even share a bottle of wine with my husband. Afterall, I have lost 20 pounds so far and those two pieces of cake on my husband’s birthday didn’t add anything! I think I deserve a little food therapy tonight. I will leave you with a picture of my two main men taken a few years back.