Dog Cataracts

One of the most prevalent eye problems in dogs is cataracts. These can show up in dogs of all breeds and in both young and old dogs. If your dog develops cataracts, the only treatment at this time is surgery.

The word “cataract” is a Latin term meaning “break down”. This problem develops within the fibers in the eye’s lens. Because of the disruption of these fibers, the lens becomes cloudy and vision is reduced. As of this date, there are several kinds of cataracts and they all have different causes. All of them have one common problem: the biochemistry of the dog’s eyes becomes out of balance. Too much water is retained in the lens of the dog’s eye and the amount of protein increases. This combination is what causes the cloudy white coating. There is also the loss of transparency and even the loss of vision, which is characteristic of cataracts.

When cataracts develop in the dog, it is significant to know how old your pooch is. It will make it easier to diagnose what type of cataract your pet has. Cataracts that are present at birth are known as congenital cataracts. These care caused by infections or toxins that developed in utero. This certain kind of cataract can be genetically inherited but only in rare cases does this happen.

Early Onset or developmental cataracts occur early in the adult life of your dog. These may also be inherited or may be caused by an infection, toxin, injury and a disease such as diabetes. In younger dogs, certain breeds are more apt to develop inherited cataracts. If you have a dog that exhibits this kind of cataract, your dog should not be bred.

Finally, if you have a dog that is older than six years, it may develop Late Onset or Senile cataracts. Dogs at this age often do not have cataracts but have a condition that is known as “nuclear sclerosis”. This will produce the graying of the lens of the eye. This condition affects both eyes but does not affect your dog’s vision and is not usually treated.

If your dog develops cataracts, the treatment is the same as if a human had them, that is, to surgically remove the eye’s lens. This type of surgery is frequently done in dogs and has approximately a 95% success rate. There are some dogs who are not good candidates for cataract surgery and include those dogs who have uncontrolled diabetes, are aggressive or are in poor health.

Dog owners who make the decision to have their dog’s cataracts removed should be prepared to spend a large amount of time post-operatively caring for their pet. Just as in humans, prescription eye drops should be put in your dog’s eyes several times a day for approximately several weeks before having the procedure done. You must continue putting drops in your dog’s eyes for six weeks after the surgery. After surgery, checkups may be required the day after surgery and at one-, three- and six-week intervals.

After having worn glasses all my life, after I had cataract surgery I can now see better than ever before and only need glasses while reading and working at my computer. Just remember, if your dog could talk, he or she will give you a great big “thank you” kiss for being able to see so much better.

About the Author

This article was written by Kelly Marshall of Oh My Dog Supplies – your #1 source for sturdy indoor pet gates.