Dog Glaucoma When to Euthanize?

If you have a dog who has been diagnosed with glaucoma, you’re probably wondering the best course of action. One of the most important things for these dogs is to maintain their comfort level. But when is the right time to put a dog down with glaucoma?

When to Put a Dog Down With Glaucoma

“My husband and I have a female Pug that was diagnosed with glaucoma in one eye 3 years ago. The vet said we could do an operation, but it would be expensive and there’s no guarantee it would work. We opted for medication instead. She has been on the medication for three years now, and the medication has kept the pressure from building up in her eye. However, the last few follow-up visits with our vet have shown that she is losing her vision. She can still see shadows and light, but she isn’t able to see things up close nor can she see far away. There are days when she looks like she’s in pain, but most days she seems fine. She is 10 years old now, and our question is how long should we wait before having to put her down? We love her dearly and don’t want to put her through anything too painful or uncomfortable, but at the same time, we don’t want to make her leave us any sooner than necessary. Any advice you have would be much appreciated! Thank you!”

When to put a dog down with glaucoma

The right time to put a dog down with glaucoma is when the pain becomes too much for the pet to bear. Glaucoma is a painful condition that causes the pressure inside the eye to increase; this increased pressure can cause pain and blindness.

Letting your dog live in constant pain is cruel, so it’s best to consider putting him down when glaucoma progresses to a point where he begins showing signs of suffering.

It’s important to note that some dogs do not respond to treatment. When this happens, you will have to make a decision about whether or not it’s time to put your dog down before he suffers too much.

If you’ve opted not to treat your dog’s glaucoma because of the cost, or because he’s old and weak, then it may be necessary to put him down.

How can I help my dog with glaucoma?

The basic treatment for glaucoma is to lower the pressure. This can be accomplished with eye drops, pills, or surgery. The outlook for dogs with glaucoma depends on how quickly it’s picked up and treated.

Unfortunately, glaucoma is not curable, but there are several treatments available to help manage the condition. Treatment for glaucoma varies depending on the cause of your dog’s condition and may include:

  • Eye drops or tablets – these reduce pressure within the eye by draining fluid from it. If your dog needs to use these treatment options regularly, they may need their eyelid turned inside out by your vet so that the medicine can be applied easier.
  • Surgery – this is used if eye drops or tablets do not work. An operation called a cyclophotocoagulation will be recommended to destroy part of the ciliary body, which produces some of the fluid in your dog’s eye.
  • Enucleation – this simply means removal of your dog’s eyes and should only be carried out if other options have not been successful and your dog’s quality of life has been severely affected due to pain and discomfort caused by their condition.

How much does glaucoma surgery cost for dogs?

The cost of glaucoma surgery depends on the type of procedure that is done, but it generally ranges from $1,000 to $2,000 per eye.

General anesthesia is required to perform glaucoma surgery, which is performed by a veterinary ophthalmologist. Anesthesia can be expensive, depending on the health of your dog and the anesthetic drugs that are used.

My dog has glaucoma and I have no money

The following is a list of the best organizations that provide financial assistance to pet owners who cannot afford treatment costs for their pets:

Veterinary Care Foundation

A registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization that provides grants to veterinary clinics so they can offer limited financial assistance to clients.

Pets in Need

A small organization based in California, Pets in Need awards grants of up to $500 for veterinary care for dogs and cats adopted from animal shelters or rescues.

Handicapped Pets Foundation

This organization assists senior pet owners and pets with disabilities with the cost of medical supplies such as wheelchairs, carts, diapers and catheters.

The Mosby Foundation

The Mosby Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, charitable foundation established in 2004 to assist in the medical care of critically ill, injured, abused and neglected dogs through financial support and public education.

Brown Dog Foundation

The Brown Dog Foundation provides assistance with unexpected, non-recurring veterinary expenses that are beyond a family’s means. They do not provide ongoing assistance (such as medications, food, preventative treatments or routine checkups).

Frankie’s Friends

Frankie’s Friends is a 501(c)(3) charity that provides grants for families that cannot afford life-saving emergency or specialty veterinary care for their pets.

Red Rover

Red Rover Relief helps pet owners with emergency veterinary costs through its Red Rover Grants program. In addition, it also provides urgent care grants for victims of domestic abuse and their pets.


Pet owners can get help with funding for their pet’s veterinary bills through CareCredit, a credit card designed specifically for medical expenses. We understand that taking care of a pet is not cheap but we never want you to have to say goodbye to your pet because you can’t afford treatment, so we’re here to help! For more information about CareCredit, please visit our website or give us a call at 1-800-677-0718 today.

The Pet Fund

The Pet Fund is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit association that provides financial assistance to owners of domestic animals who need urgent veterinary care. The Pet Fund is a last resort for pet owners who cannot qualify or afford a care credit, and have exhausted all other options.

How do I know if my dog is in pain from glaucoma?

The first thing to look for if your dog is in pain from glaucoma is a change in her behavior. While it’s not always easy to tell if your dog is in pain, signs of discomfort can include holding her head at an odd angle, squinting of the eye, or an inability to open the eye. They may also paw at the eye or rub their face on the floor or furniture.

The disease is painful because the elevated pressures inside the eye cause stretching and damage to the optic nerve. The visual system is very sensitive to this pressure and pain, so even if glaucoma develops slowly over time, dogs and cats will often react with pain as soon as the pressure gets high enough.

If your dog has glaucoma, you will notice the following signs:

  • Excessive rubbing or pawing at eyes
  • Redness and swelling of eyes
  • Cloudy eyes and abnormal pupil size
  • Runny eyes or continuous tearing
  • Eye bulging out of eye socket
  • Whimpering, whining, or crying

Conclusion of euthanizing a dog with glaucoma

Glaucoma is a common and very painful condition, and treatment is not always successful. If your dog is suffering from glaucoma, it’s important to know when you should euthanize your dog.

The most important thing to consider when deciding whether to euthanize a dog with glaucoma is their quality of life. Is your dog still enjoying their life? Are they still eating, sleeping, and playing the way they used to? Or are they in constant pain and discomfort? Is their eye pain interfering with their day-to-day activities?

If the answer is yes, then it’s time to think about euthanasia. While pain can be managed with medication for some time, at some point it will become too severe for medication to help. You don’t want your dog to suffer unnecessarily. When your dog reaches this point, it’s time to consider humanely putting them out of their misery.

In conclusion, not all dogs who are diagnosed with glaucoma will need to be euthanized. Most dogs with glaucoma will be on medications for life, but many can still do most of the things they love. The goal is to identify glaucoma early and manage it to preserve vision and comfort as long as possible.

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Hannah Elizabeth is an English animal behavior author, having written for several online publications. With a degree in Animal Behaviour and over a decade of practical animal husbandry experience, Hannah's articles cover everything from pet care to wildlife conservation. When she isn't creating content for blog posts, Hannah enjoys long walks with her Rottweiler cross Senna, reading fantasy novels and breeding aquarium shrimp.

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