Cataract Surgery for Dogs

Dog cataract surgery is a clinical procedure to remove cataracts in dogs. Cataract is a clouding or opacity in the lens of the eye. There are both immature and mature cataracts. It causes haziness in the contents within the lens. Although all cataracts do not lead to blindness, they sometimes progress in a few days or weeks. If the cataract progresses your dogs eye lens will change color to white or light blue.

Causes of Cataracts

  • Genetic predisposition
  • Age
  • Diabetes Mellitus
  • Trauma

Treatment with Canine Cataract Surgery

Surgical removal is the best treatment for cataract. The surgery is performed under general anesthesia. A small incision is made in the eye and a gel is injected to hold the eye open during surgery. A procedure called phacoemulsification is then performed. An ultrasonic instrument emulsifies and removes the lens. To replace the lens that is removed during surgery, an IOL (intraocular lens implant) is placed in the bag that holds the lens. The IOL restores normal vision to the eye. IOL's are not available in many varieties so it's difficult to find an exact replacement for the original lens. After surgery the surgeon will prescribe medication and eye drops to help the post operative process. Your dog will also be scheduled for re examination at regular intervals.

Cataract Surgery in Dogs: Cost for Equipment, Medications, Etc.

Although the cost of surgery varies, it could be expensive. This is because specialized equipment and trained professionals are essential to the surgery. Laboratory tests and medications also add to the cost of cataract surgery.

Effects of Cataract Surgery on Your Dog

After cataract surgery dogs have increased vision. However, due to the surgery there is considerable scarring and this reduces their vision by a fraction. Chances of successful cataract surgery are very high. In rare cases dogs might develop glaucoma, retinal detachment or intraocular infection. Complications might occur and the risk is higher in certain breeds like Boston terrier and Cocker Spaniels. It's always better if the cataract is treated when there is no inflammation and if no additional eye diseases co-exist.

Is Cataract Surgery Necessary?

If your dog's cataract is still in its early stage, he will benefit from the surgery. Although mature cataracts are likely to cause inflammation and complications after surgery, the success rate still remains high. Diabetic dogs can undergo cataract surgery after the diabetes is brought under control. If your dog suffers from diabetes, you must monitor his cataract as it can cause severe inflammation. If you do not go in for surgery, both immature and mature cataracts cause inflammation in the eye known as Lens Induced Uveitis (LIU). LIU can lead to glaucoma, retina detachment and will ultimately lower the chance of successful cataract surgery.

Examinations Prior to Surgery

  • Blood test
  • Urine analysis
  • Physical exam
  • Electroretinography (ERG)
  • Gonioscopy
  • Ocular ultrasound

It's beneficial to teach your dog to wear a cone shaped restraint collar (E collar) before he goes in for surgery as this is mandatory after the surgery is completed. Your dog will be prescribed eye drops for use, several days before the surgery. It's best to keep your dog in a confined area to help him recoup after cataract surgery has been performed.