My 5 year old chocolate lab, Coco, was diagnosed with Glaucoma in October 2011 – my entire family was devastated and we cried – a lot! It was a hard time for my family as my father had recently passed away and my mom was fighting breast cancer. However, Coco’s resilience and good nature helped us through this difficult time. In many ways, she was there more for us than the other way around – as is a dog’s way.
It is important to find a good vet to take you through this complicated and upsetting path. I was fortunate to find an excellent ophthalmologist, who guided us through the disease and options available, although minimal once the disease takes hold.
We did initially start with the eye drops as the thought of removing an eye was hard to fathom. The drops did appear to elevate the pressure and pain for a couple of weeks, but in the end we knew the best thing to do for Coco was removing the eye. Surgery was scheduled for the left eye in late October 2011.
I was a nervous wreck and did succumb to bouts of tears on surgery day and could not wait for that phone call telling me all was well. My drive to the animal hospital was filled with thoughts of what I would find. But my Coco was a rock star! She was happy to see me and thrilled to leave! Although initially there was some whimpering, once she did her business and had her dinner, all was well.
The next few days took some adjustment, she appeared to be in a constant drunken state, but once she regained her balance and focused on her right eye, we were back to be a playful, happy go lucky dog!
We did opt for the eye drop therapy once again, but by Christmas 2012, the eye had to be removed.
Unfortunately the 2nd surgery did not go so well. My mother had passed away in November 2012, and selfishly for convenience, I had my local vet perform the enucleation on the 2nd eye. As soon as I picked Coco up from surgery I could see that something didn’t appear right. There was a lot of oozing and a small hole was left, as if the eye was not completely closed. The oozing continued for several weeks and so I ended up going back to the specialist who had to perform 2 more surgeries.
Although financially burdensome, well worth it. Coco is now back to her happy go lucky self, running around in the back yard, walking off leash, playing with her babies and enjoying life. I get a lot of questions, but you would not notice if you didn’t look hard enough that she doesn’t have any eyes.
Although the diagnosis does cause a lot of angst, dogs are much more adaptable than us. It is not the end of a dog’s life, but the beginning of a journey together that strengthens the bond between man and animal.