Common Treatments for Cataracts in Dogs

You can find cataracts in dogs of all ages, and there are many causes and reasons for cataracts. Some dogs are born with cataracts because of a hereditary condition, while others develop cataracts as a secondary disease to such diseases as diabetes. Therefore, it is important to understand what a cataract is, what types of problems can be associated with cataracts, and the treatment options that are available.

What Cataracts Are

A cataract is any type of blockage of the lens; cataracts are normally gray or white in color and cause a discoloration of the dog's eyes. Cataracts can be very small and insignificant and may not affect a dog's vision at all; however, other cataracts may be so large or prominent that the dog becomes completely blind.

However, cataracts should not be confused with nuclear sclerosis which is a normal phenomenon in older dogs that causes the eye to become hazy or slightly discolored. Nuclear sclerosis generally has no effect on the dog's vision. If you aren't certain if the haziness in your dog's eyes is a cataract or nuclear sclerosis, you should seek out the advice of a veterinarian and he/she will be able to quickly diagnose a discoloration and let you know which it is.

What Causes Cataracts

In dogs, cataracts can be caused by many things. Cataracts can be caused by inflammation, trauma or other head injury; however, the most common causes of cataracts in dogs are diabetes or the cataracts were hereditary and inherited from the parents of the dog. While there are other conditions that can cause cataracts, these are the most common and prominent causes for cataracts to show up in a dogs eyes.

Common Problems Associated with Cataracts

Obviously, the most common problems associated with cataracts are visual deficits or in some cases even blindness. However, it is important to be aware that there are other problems that can be attributed to cataracts in a dog's eyes, such as uveitis or glaucoma. These conditions should always be managed-even if cataract surgery is not an option.

Cataract Treatment Options

If your dog does indeed have cataracts, your veterinarian may recommend that you visit a board certified ophthalmologist and discuss cataract eye surgery for the dog. At the present time, there is no other really effective treatments for cataracts-save for surgery. Please bear in mind though that all dogs are not good candidates for surgery. For example, if your dog suffers from conditions such as diabetes or other illnesses that may leave the dog in a weakened state, many veterinarians will not perform corrective eye lens surgery on dogs with these conditions.

In years past, dogs who underwent surgery for cataracts experienced many problems with viewing objects that were close up to the face of the dog; however, in recent years, technology advances have enabled surgeons to use replica lenses that allow the dog to focus and have eyesight that is comparable to that of a normal dog. While today's modern surgical techniques allow for very high rates of successful surgeries, there may be complications and glaucoma or retinal detachment is always a possibility.