Various breeds can develop cataracts, leading to vision problems. In order to properly address this issue, you need to know more about it. After all, left untreated, these cataracts in dogs may lead to permanent loss of vision, and no one wants that for their pup.
Cataracts In Dogs | Facts You Should Know
What Are Cataracts In Dogs?
Cataracts in dogs is defined as the clouding or opacity of the lens of the eyes, leading to blurry vision. The clouding results from changes in the arrangement or makeup of protein molecules in the lens. Usually, parents pass this eye problem down to their offspring. It is also an eye problem common in older dogs.
The most common cause of cataracts in dogs is genetics. However, there are other causes, such as poor nutrition, exposure to certain toxins, diabetes mellitus, radiation, low blood calcium levels, blunt or penetrating trauma, electric shock, and old age.
Types Of Cataracts In Dogs
Congenital Cataracts – This type of cataract is present since birth. These cataracts in dogs usually occur in both eyes. The most common causes of congenital cataracts include exposure to toxins, infections, and in some breeds, hereditary.
Developmental (Early Onset) Cataracts – This type of cataract develops early in life. External factors such as infection, toxicity, increased blood sugar levels, and trauma can cause cataracts, but dogs can also inherit the issue. The breeds most commonly affected by early onset cataracts are Standard Poodles and Afghan Hounds.
Senile (Late Onset) Cataracts – Senile cataracts in dogs are those that occur over six years of age. These occur less frequently in dogs than in humans. The most common cause is old age.
Owners may notice some if not all of the symptoms of canine cataracts, including:
- Cloudy or white pupils in one or both eyes
- Abnormal appearance in light reflection on the eye
- Signs of vision impairment, including bumping into door frames or furniture, barking at inanimate objects, walking with his nose to the ground, clumsiness, and difficulty finding toys.
Treatment For Cataracts In Dogs
The only treatment available for cataracts in dogs is surgery. However, not all breeds are good candidates for surgery. The goal of surgery is to restore vision and prevent further progression of the eye problem.
There are three types of cataract surgery:
Lens Removal – This type of surgery involves the removal of the lens from its surrounding capsule. A plastic or artificial intraocular implant is used to replace the removed lens.
Lens and Capsule Removal – In this type of surgery, a surgeon removes both the lens and the capsule. Just like in lens removal, an acrylic intraocular implant is placed.
Phacoemulsification – This type of surgery involves the emulsification of the eye lens utilizing ultrasonic waves. The surgeon then aspirates the lens and replaces it with an isotonic solution.
The recovery of cataract surgery may take about two to three months.
There are alternative treatments for cataracts. However, these regimens do not promise efficiency and success in treating cataracts in dogs. In some cases, they can complement modern medical treatments. Some of the known alternative treatments for cataracts include vitamin C supplement, zinc eye drops, and bilberry.
Routine eye exams on your dogs will help detect the development of cataracts early on. The early detection of cataract in dogs is important for prompt treatment to be initiated and to prevent permanent loss of vision.
Know more about cataracts in dogs in this video by Veterinary Secrets:
Cataracts need to be detected early to prevent the progression of the disease. If a doctor does not diagnose the issue soon enough, cataracts can result in permanent blindness. Thus, routine eye exams are important to prevent serious eye problems in dogs.
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