An opaque or cloudy lens is known as cataracts. In simple terms, An defect, opacity, or “clouding” of the eye’s lens is known as a cataract. The function of the lens is to let light and images get through to the retina, which is where vision happens. Although the lens should be perfectly clear, conditions like cataracts can alter its transparency or clarity.

Inherited illness is the main reason for cataracts in dogs. Other causes include ocular injuries or illnesses like diabetes mellitus (“sugar diabetes”). Some cataracts seem to develop on their own and are age-related. Furthermore, it is important to know about the symptoms of cataracts in dogs as it will help in observing or noticing any abnormalities.

Signs and symptoms of cataracts in dogs

  • If puppies or dogs have complete juvenile cataracts then it will be difficult for them to see clearly and they will start bumping into things. Moreover, a white spot can be visible in the center of the pupil.
  • If you see or notice any symptoms the color of the eyes and their clarity have changed, take your dog to the veterinarian. Furthermore, if your dog is scratching his eyes or showing any other symptoms of illness then you must take them to a veterinarian soon.
  • Dogs with cataracts experience eyesight distortion. As a result, the severity of vision loss frequently correlates with the symptoms. Blindness can result from cataracts, which can begin as a pinpoint-sized growth and eventually reach the size of the entire lens. Even though there may be a visible lesion on the eye, dogs with less than 30% lens opacity will show little, if any, symptoms.
  • When cataracts form quickly, particularly when diabetes mellitus is present, dogs may become disoriented or confused. Cataract-related inflammation can be uncomfortable, and it can also result in the far more uncomfortable condition of glaucoma.
  • The body’s response to what it perceives as a foreign substance on the lens is what causes the pain. Along with eye lesions and related vision loss, your dog may also have changes in appetite, weight loss, and increased thirst and urine if the cataracts are brought on by diabetes mellitus.

Types of cataracts in Dogs

1. Congenital Cataracts

Dogs with congenital cataracts go blind at birth and are affected immediately. Miniature Schnauzers tend to be more likely than other breeds to acquire congenital cataracts, albeit this only occurs in a very tiny percentage of dogs.

Many dogs’ aging changes lead to cataracts as well. Dogs over the age of four are typically affected by this type of cataract, which typically develops at a 9-year-old average age. The breed of dog most likely to experience age-related cataracts is the Yorkshire Terrier.

2. Early Onset cataracts

This type of cataract majorly grows before the age of three and might be inherited. Other causes are poisons, diabetes mellitus, or eye damage.

3. Late-Onset Cataracts

This happens at or after the age of six, and develop frequently mistaken for nuclear sclerosis which means common clouding of the eye because of old-age or aging.

Causes or reasons behind cataracts in dogs

Inheritance is the general frequent cause of cataracts among dog canines. Standard and miniature poodles, golden retrievers, Boston terriers, cocker spaniels, Havanese, bichon frises, miniature schnauzers, and silky terriers are just a few of the dog breeds that are genetically predisposed to cataracts. Following are the other causes of cataracts such as

  • Eye trauma
  • Aging
  • Toxin exposure
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Radiation exposure
  • Uveitis
  • Hypocalcemia

Cataracts treatments for dogs

  • Regaining functional vision after cataract surgery in dogs is one of the objectives. Once a cataract has formed, there are no known treatments that can stop it; surgery is the sole treatment available.
  • Under general anesthesia, cataracts are surgically removed. The veterinarian removes the lens and replaces it with a plastic or acrylic lens. The veterinary ophthalmologist may only need to operate on one eye, or he or she may need to do so on both.
  • Aside from performing testing for cataracts, veterinarians also screen for underlying disorders that are known to do so. It is crucial to treat any diseases that can lead to the development of cataracts because doing so lowers the possibility that they will lead to additional health problems.

Frequently Asked Questions on Cataracts in Dogs

Can a dog live comfortably with cataracts?

No, if cataracts are left untreated then it may cause inflammation within the eye and can also lead to glaucoma.

Can you treat cataracts in dogs without surgery?

No, the common treatment for cataracts is Phacofragmentation via removal.

Are cataracts painful for my dog?

Yes, this can be uncomfortable or painful for your dogs. So, it is recommended to conduct treatment as soon as possible.

What is the cost of Surgery for Cataracts in Dogs?

Cataract surgery approximately costs about 3,500 INR.

How Veterinarians Diagnose Cataracts in Dogs?

Your dog’s eyes will be examined by your veterinarian using a light. Blood testing is another tool that veterinarians use to rule out any underlying diseases that may have contributed to your dog’s cataracts.

Is my dog too old for cataract surgery?

On dogs and cats as old as 19, cataract surgery has been successfully completed with the use of contemporary anesthetic drugs.

What do early-stage cataracts look like in dogs?

Changes may occur at the early stage of cataracts in pupil size or shape, or changes in eye color.

How fast does cataract progress in dogs?

Cataracts can form extremely gradually or almost instantly. Early on, you probably won’t notice anything different about your dog, but after the cataracts are fully developed and entirely obstructing light from reaching the retina, your dog will become blind.

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