Like humans, dogs can develop cataracts, and this condition can cause sight loss in your dog if it's left untreated. Cataracts are a condition that causes the lenses of your dog's eyes to become opaque. This occurs due to certain proteins in the lenses breaking down, and when they break down they begin to cluster together. Cataracts are a degenerative condition, and some dog owners don't notice their dog's eyes changing at first due to the often slow and progressive nature of this eye problem. Aside from a gradual clouding over of the eye lenses, a dog with cataracts may become clumsy and seem to lose their confidence when out and about, which may lead to them becoming socially withdrawn.
Causes Of Cataracts In Dogs
There are a few potential causes of cataracts, and one of the most common causes seems to be cellular degeneration of the eyes due to aging. This is a normal part of aging but seems to be a trigger for cataracts in some dogs. Damage to the eyes as a result of a previous inflammatory eye condition can also leave your dog susceptible to developing cataracts, and dogs with poorly controlled diabetes are at risk due to blood vessels in the eyes being damaged as a result of high blood sugar.
Treating Cataracts In Dogs
An eye exam is all that's usually required for your vet to diagnose your dog with cataracts. However, they may also recommend some diagnostic tests, such as blood tests or an ultrasound, to try and establish whether there is an underlying condition that has caused cataracts to develop.
In order to treat cataracts, your dog will have to have the lenses of their eyes removed. This may sound frightening, but it's actually a relatively straightforward procedure that has a low risk of complications and tends to be carried out as a day case. Your dog will be given a general anaesthetic and the vet will use ultrasonic waves to break down the lens. A suction tool is then used to remove the lens fragments from the lens capsule, and the damaged lens will be replaced with an artificial lens. Your dog's sight will be restored immediately and very little recovery time is required. Your vet will arrange a follow-up appointment for a few weeks after the procedure to ensure your dog's eyes are healthy.
Prompt treatment will minimise the amount of time your dog has to live with impaired vision. So, if you think your dog could be suffering from cataracts, don't delay having their eyes examined.
For more info, contact a local vet.