Eye Tests

The Kennel Club and British Veterinary Association hereditary eye disease screening programme was introduced some 30 years ago.  The main purpose of the scheme is to ensure that there is no evidence of hereditary eye disease in dogs used for breeding. Breeders are often advised to submit dogs for annual eye tests, since some diseases have late onset of clinical signs.

Because I want to breed from both my dogs, I booked an appointment for Peggy and my other Cocker Spaniel, Honey, to have their eyes tested. To make an appointment you have to speak to the Eye Vet Clinic who can either book you into their Clinic in Leominster or you can choose to visit  The Clockhouse Veterinary Hospital in Wallbridge, Stroud or The Animal Hospital, Stinchcombe in Dursley.  I chose Dursley, purely because it was closer than Leominster.  They had an appointment date earlier than Stroud and I wanted to get it over and done with quickly as I knew Peggy was due to come into season around the 16th March.

I had no idea what would be involved but was told that both dogs really should be checked out for Glaucoma  which is a disease found in Cocker Spaniels, as well as having the routine eye examination.


Glaucoma is the elevation of pressure inside the eye, known as intraocular pressure (IOP) beyond a specific point at which vision is compromised or is no longer possible. Glaucoma is a frequent cause of blindness in humans and animals.  Inheritance of Glaucoma depends entirely on the severity of goniodysgenesis in both parents – a slightly affected dog mated to a clear dog will not produce puppies affected with Glaucoma.

The procedure to check for Glaucoma is called a Gonioscopy which is the examination of the iridocorneal angle of the eye. The iridocorneal angle is where the base of the iris attaches to the cornea and sclera (the white, outer layer of the eyeball). It’s the site where aqueous humor (the fluid within the eye) drains from the front chamber of the eye.

A normal eye produces and drains watery fluid (called aqueous humor, which is the fluid produced by the ciliary process in the eye. This fluid nourishes the lens and cornea and maintains the proper ocular pressure. Poor drainage of this fluid can cause glaucoma.  Pressure within the eye builds up if this fluid does not drain properly. This pressure can damage the optic nerve, leading to vision loss.

Gonioscopy is not routinely performed as part of the standard eye test and must be requested separately (& needs to be performed prior to the standard test.)

What Do They Do?

Honey and Peggy had some anaesthetic dropped onto their eyeballs and then we waited a few minutes for it to take effect.  The vet had a good look in their eyes with one of those eye glasses with a light on.  They had to stay really still so he could have a good look round.  The vet then put something that looked like a contact lens onto their eyeball and injected fluid into it.  Once the fluid had been injected, the cap was taken off and the vet checked to see how the fluid drained away.  The general eye check and the Gonioscopy took about 45 minutes in total.  It wasn’t pleasant to see my dogs with this weird contraption on their eyeballs and not nice to see fluid being injected into it.  I could just imagine how it would feel on my eyes.  I have to say they behaved impeccably and all went well.  Honey behaved so well that the Vet asked if he could take a photograph of the back of her eyes with a special camera as not many dogs were so calm and he didn’t get the opportunity very often.  Well done Honey, such a star!

The good news was both passed with flying colours. I know it sounds daft but I felt so proud of them both as we travelled back home where they both had a special treat and a lovely long walk up the hill!

How Much Does It Cost?

An examination should cost £48.00 (inc VAT) for one dog. For 2 to 24 dogs examined in one session, the cost per dog is currently £41.00 (inc VAT). If there are more than 25 dogs, the cost falls to £29.00 (inc VAT) per dog. There is a reduced rate of £29.00 (inc VAT) for re-examinations of dogs over the age of eight.

The cost of litter screening is currently £45.00 (inc VAT) per litter of up to five puppies. If there are six or more puppies, the cost is £9.00 (inc VAT) per puppy.

Routine Eye Examination ex. VAT inc. VAT
1st dog £40.00 £48.00
Extra dogs in the same ownership £34.17 £41.00
Group testing (25 or more) £24.17 £29.00
Examination of dogs over 8 years of age £24.17 £29.00
Gonioscopy per dog (no discount for more than one) £40.00 £48.00
Litter Screening 6-12 weeks
Per litter of 5 puppies or fewer £37.50 £45 (per litter)
Per puppy for litters with more than 5 puppies £7.50 £9.00 (per puppy)
Duplicate copy of certificate £25.00 £30.0
Total cost for my two dogs £185!
Two tests down, two more to go!

Next blog:  blood taken for FN and prcd-PRA