Cataracts in Dogs: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Cataratas en Perros: Causas, Síntomas y Tratamiento

Welcome to Waggy's Blog! Here you will find invaluable information for the care and well-being of your beloved pets. Today, we will learn a crucial topic: cataracts in dogs. Did you know that this eye condition can significantly affect the quality of life of our faithful companions? Join us as we explore everything you need to know about cataracts in dogs: from their causes and symptoms to treatment options and special care. Stick around and read on to learn how to keep your furry friend's eyesight in tip-top condition!

What are cataracts in dogs?

Cataracts in dogs are like those that humans have, but in the eyes of canines. They are like a kind of cloud that forms in the lens, which is that part of the eye that is normally transparent and that helps focus light on the retina so that the dog can see well.

When cataracts develop, they can cause a dog's vision to become blurry or cloudy. Sometimes cataracts can be small and not affect the dog's vision much, but in other cases they can be larger and seriously affect the dog's ability to see.

Types of cataracts in dogs

It is important to mention that cataracts in dogs can be classified according to several criteria, such as their cause, location in the eye or degree of opacity. However, some of the most common are the following:

  • Congenital Cataracts: These cataracts are present from the birth of the puppy. They can be hereditary or caused by genetic abnormalities.
  • Senile Cataracts: These are cataracts that develop in older dogs as part of the aging process. They are often related to the natural deterioration of the lens due to age.

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  • Traumatic Cataracts: They form as a result of injuries or trauma to the dog's eye, such as blows, scratches or penetrations.
  • Secondary Cataracts: These cataracts are caused by other eye diseases or conditions, such as diabetes mellitus, chronic eye inflammation (uveitis), or degeneration of the lens.
  • Cortical Cataracts: These develop on the outer layer of the lens and often appear as white or cloudy areas at the edges of the eye.

Likewise, cataracts in dogs can be classified according to their degree of maturation, which indicates how far they have advanced and how opaque the lens is:

  • Incipient Cataracts: In this first degree, the cataracts are small and barely noticeable. They may minimally affect the dog's vision and are often difficult to detect without a detailed ophthalmological examination.
  • Immature Cataracts: Immature cataracts are more visible and may cover a larger part of the lens. Although the dog can still see some, its vision begins to be significantly affected.
  • Mature Cataracts: At this point, the cataracts cover most, if not all, of the lens. The dog's vision is severely compromised and he may experience problems seeing clearly.
  • Hypermature Cataracts: At this advanced stage, cataracts become very dense and opaque, making it difficult or even impossible for the dog to see through them. They can become harder and more compact, which can complicate removal surgery.

Causes of cataracts in dogs

Cataracts in dogs can have various causes:

  • Genetic Factors: Some dog breeds are more likely to develop cataracts due to genetic predispositions. Examples of breeds with a higher predisposition include the Cocker Spaniel, the Poodle, the Bichon Frize, the German Shepherd, and the Siberian Husky, among others.
  • Older Age: As in humans, natural aging of the lens can lead to the development of cataracts in older dogs. This is known as senile cataracts.
  • Eye injuries: Trauma or injuries to the eye can cause cataracts to form. Blows, scratches, chemical burns or penetrating injuries can damage the lens and cause it to become cloudy.
  • Systemic Diseases: Some systemic diseases, such as diabetes mellitus, can increase the risk of developing cataracts in dogs. Diabetes can affect glucose metabolism in the eye, which can lead to changes in the lens and the formation of cataracts.
  • Nutritional Deficiencies: Some nutritional deficiencies, such as a lack of certain antioxidants in the diet, can contribute to the development of cataracts in dogs.

How do I know if my dog ​​has cataracts? Symptoms

Symptoms of cataracts in dogs can vary depending on the degree of opacity and vision impairment, but some common signs include the appearance of a white or grayish color in the center of the eye, difficulty seeing in low light conditions, changes in behavior, such as tripping over familiar objects or showing resistance to activities it previously enjoyed, and the dog may possibly show signs of discomfort or pain in the affected eye. Additionally, there may be an increase in blemishes or tears, and in more advanced cases, a noticeably cloudy appearance to the eye. If you notice any of these symptoms in your dog, it is important to take him to a veterinarian for a complete eye exam and an accurate diagnosis.

Cataract treatment in dogs

Treatment for cataracts in dogs can vary depending on the severity of the condition and the overall health of the animal. In mild or early cases, your veterinarian may recommend regular monitoring to monitor cataract progression. However, in more advanced cases or when cataracts significantly affect the dog's vision, the most common option is cataract removal surgery. During surgery, the clouded lens is removed and, in some cases, replaced with an artificial lens to restore vision. It is important that the surgery be performed by a veterinarian specialized in veterinary ophthalmology to ensure the best results and minimize risks.

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How much does cataract surgery cost in dogs?

Unfortunately, in Mexico, there are very few veterinary centers that have the appropriate equipment and materials to perform this procedure. Therefore, the surgery, not including the cost of studies, medications, hospitalization, check-ups, among others, ranges between $15,000 to $26,000 Mexican pesos for both eyes.

Care for a dog with cataracts

Caring for a dog with cataracts can help improve its quality of life and keep its eye health in good condition. Here are some tips for caring for a dog with cataracts:

  1. Schedule regular eye checkups with a veterinarian who specializes in ophthalmology to monitor the progression of cataracts and evaluate your dog's overall eye health.
  2. Keep the dog's environment free of obstacles and hazards to avoid injuries or accidents, as vision may be compromised.
  3. Provide a balanced diet such as the barf diet or offer a better dog diet that covers the necessary nutrients, it could include antioxidants and nutrients beneficial for eye health, such as vitamins A, C and E, this will help not only to feed well but which will also prevent constipation in dogs and consequently, gas in dogs . A good example is salmon for dogs , highly recommended.
  4. Be more attentive and understanding of your dog's needs, especially in situations that may be stressful or challenging for his vision, such as walking in unfamiliar areas or playing dog games with other puppies.
  5. Regularly clean your dog's eyes with a clean, damp cloth to prevent rheum buildup and maintain eye hygiene. Avoid rubbing or manipulating your eyes if not necessary to avoid discomfort.
  6. If cataracts are associated with a disease such as diabetes, follow your veterinarian's treatment recommendations to manage that condition and minimize the risk of eye complications.

Conclusion

In summary, cataracts in dogs are a common eye condition that can affect their quality of life and their ability to see clearly. It is important to watch for signs of cataracts, such as changes in eye color or visual difficulties, and seek veterinary care if necessary. With proper diagnosis and treatment, which may include cataract removal surgery, along with regular care and ongoing veterinary care, it is possible to improve the eye health and quality of life of affected dogs.


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