Living with dog dementia and now canine glaucoma: A day at the emergency vet

Yesterday was a painful day for me, Mike and Sassy. I know Sassy’s physical pain far outweighed the anguish we felt, though. She was diagnosed with canine glaucoma, a very painful condition that could result in blindness.

When I got out of the shower Saturday morning I noticed Sassy had vomited some watery, foamy stuff, and a few minutes later, she curled up in a tight little ball in the upstairs hallway.

I knew something was wrong because she usually paces back and forth during that time of day. I went over to her and saw she was trembling and didn’t seem to be able to open her eyes. I called Mike and asked him to come home immediately from the gym, I called the vet but they were closed, so I called the emergency vet and was told to bring her right away.

sassyeye1
Waiting and waiting and waiting, just trying to comfort her.

We were there within minutes, but we had to wait three hours to be called. During this time, she was really struggling and appeared to be in a lot of pain. Mike took her outside to see if she had to pee, and she bumped into things outside — she seemed to be blind. I sprawled out on the floor of the waiting room with her on my lap in an attempt to soothe my baby.

Finally they brought her into the back. We couldn’t be in the exam room with her; we were told to leave and come back in 90 minutes. We headed to a pub for lunch but it was hard to eat when all I could really do was cry. What would life be like as a blind dog? How could we prevent her from getting hurt? Then again, there are some cool blind people, like Stevie Wonder, right? I thought the cause was something neurological, like a stroke or seizure.

When we returned, the vet brought us into an exam room and told us she has canine glaucoma in her left eye, characterized by a great deal of pressure caused by  fluid buildup. It’s much more serious and painful for dogs than humans (and I read that humans rate the pain level as 12 on a scale of 1-10) but the good news is she’s not blind right now. The vet said Sassy was in a lot of pain and was keeping her eyes closed or squinty to help ease it, so that was a relief.

sassymike
More waiting.

Canine glaucoma can come on suddenly, and it’s always an emergency. The vet said she believes she has secondary glaucoma, which means it’s probably caused by something more serious, like cancer. It does cause blindness in dogs, but we got her medical attention quickly, so it looks like that was mitigated or delayed.

We were sent home because the vet wanted to stabilize her before she was discharged. I trudged up the stairs and I fell asleep on the bed and awoke a few hours later when my cell phone rang around 8 p.m. The pressure in her eye was finally down to normal levels, and it was time to pick her up!

We were given three different types of eye drops as well as three oral medications (not to mention a bill of $611, but I feared it would be much worse, so I was happy to pay this). One of the meds is a painkiller, which knocked her out. It was good to see her resting and feeling some relief.

Today the bloodshot squinty eye condition came back. She seemed to be in pain even an hour after getting her pain meds, so it was difficult to see this. She was pawing her eye and rubbing her face on the bed — poor puppy. We’re going to make an appointment with her regular vet tomorrow, because this is a lifelong condition and it’s likely that the right eye will also experience glaucoma. And we need to pinpoint the cause of this. Cancer? Something else?

sassysunday
Her eye this afternoon — a setback?

She’s now on three meds for dementia, three oral meds for glaucoma, and three eyedrops for glaucoma.

I’m so glad I work from home because she can’t really be left alone now.

She’s my interspecies life partner and I’ll do everything I can for her.

Has anyone else experienced this?

 

 

5 Comments

  1. Poor doggy, I hope she feels better soon!! I totally know what it’s like to have a sick pet, there’s honestly nothing worse 🙁 I’ve always had cats that have had different sicknesses so I’m sorry I can’t help you out in terms of advice. Keep us posted! xoxo

    December 8, 2015
    Reply
  2. said:

    Omg, poor Sassy! and poor Jen! I have not had a pet experience this, so I have no info. However, Riley and I are sending you both doggy hugs. So sad that this is happening to your baby 🙁 it’s wonderful that you can be home with her!

    December 7, 2015
    Reply
    • said:

      Thank you, sweet pea <3 Riley, too.

      December 8, 2015
      Reply

Tell me what you think!