Cataracts in dogs appear as a thick murky white covering of the dog’s pupil. Not all cataracts lead to blindness in dogs, only if they get thick and solidly cover the entire lens of the eye. Most dogs will develop cataracts as they age, though these age-related cataracts are not always complete cataracts. If a dog owner knows what to look for, the causes and treatments for cataracts, they can get early treatment should it be necessary.
Cloudiness, stumbling, loss of depth perception, running into things, particularly in dim lighting, these are symptoms that may be present in a dog developing cataracts. Though most dogs with incomplete cataracts will display some of these symptoms, occasionally no symptoms are displayed until the cataract is visible by the owner. Identifying these symptoms and reporting any changes in the dog’s health will help in early diagnosis. Having a qualified veterinarian exam the dog will ensure that a proper diagnosis of cataracts is made and not the less debilitating nuclear sclerosis.
Various Causes Of Cataracts
The number one cause for cataracts in dogs is heredity. Certain breeds are more disposed to cataracts than others, such as; cocker spaniels, golden retrievers, terriers, poodles and mini schnauzers. Diabetes is the second most common cause of cataracts followed by eye injuries, poor nutrition, and chemical overload due to too many vaccines or medications. Dogs with diabetes will eventually develop cataracts and will need to be watched carefully as these particular cataracts can advance very rapidly, possibly even overnight. Observe a diabetic dog’s eye daily to become familiar with the normal appearance so that any changes can be identified quickly.
Treatments for Cataracts
Conventional methods involve surgery to remove the lens from the sack that encloses it, and replace it with a saline fluid or an artificial lens. This is very similar to the surgery that is preformed on humans called phacoemulsification. This treatment will leave the vision slightly blurry, but far improved from total blindness. Not all cataracts require surgery, depending on the severity, some can be left alone due to their extremely slow progress.
Alternative solutions: Bilberry and Vitamin E taken internally have been shown to have some positive effects on stopping cataracts in pets. Bilberries are well known for their ability to protect the eye tissues in humans. They have, in certain cases, been shown to impede the progress of clouding in the eyes of nearly every person in the early stages of developing cataracts. High quality vitamins E and C are antioxidants that are believed to slow the progress of degenerative diseases of the yes.
When a dog owner understands what causes cataracts in dogs and some of the symptoms and treatments that can help, they are better equipped to use preventative measures. They are also able to recognize symptoms that require immediate veterinary care; this may be especially true of diabetic dogs. Professional diagnosis is always the best course of action when concerned with any pet health issues.