The Causes, Symptoms and Treatment of Cataracts in Dogs

Posted on: 29 November 2016

Cataracts can affect dogs in the same way they affect humans, leading to reduced vision. However, the condition is well understood by veterinary medicine and can be treated easily. Below is a guide to the causes, symptoms and treatment options for cataracts in dogs.

The Causes of Cataracts

Cataracts develop when proteins within the lens the eye begin to thicken. These proteins obscure the passage of light, meaning that your dog will experience reduced and cloudy vision. Cataracts can develop due to old age, a traumatic eye injury or diabetes.

If your dog's cataracts are not treated, they could become detected from the lens tissue and begin to float around the eye. If they do so, they can cause blockages which prevent the natural drainage of fluid from the eye, leading to pain and inflammation. If cataracts are left to develop, your dog will eventually become blind.

The Symptoms of Cataracts

There are several symptoms that your dog is developing cataracts:

Cloudy, dull eyes: As the cataract fills the lens of the eye, it will make it look increasingly dull and cloudy.

Disorientation: You may notice that your dog has trouble navigating around tables and chairs or that they do not look up when you enter the room. This could be a sign that cataracts are impairing their vision

If you notice any of these symptoms, you should have your dog examined by a vet. They will be able to assess the health of your dog's eyes, diagnose any problems and carry out treatment to restore your dog to full health.

The Treatment Options

If the vet diagnoses your dog as suffering from cataracts, they may make a referral to an ophthalmic animal surgeon so your dog can undergo an operation to have its cataracts removed.

Your dog will be sedated using a general anaesthetic while the cataracts are removed from its eyes. The animal surgeon will use a surgical blade to make a small incision on the surface of your dog's eye. They will then carefully remove the cloudy lens and replace it will a plastic lens, enabling your dog to see again.

The surgeon will prescribe eye drops which will help your dogs eyes to heal after the operation. They will also fit your dog with a collar to prevent them from rubbing their eyes against objects during their recovery.

If you have any concerns about your dog's health, contact a vet today.