How To Tell If Your Dog Has Cataracts

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How To Tell If Your Dog Has Cataracts

How To Tell If Your Dog Has Cataracts
How To Tell If Your Dog Has Cataracts

Canine Cataracts

Cataracts are a leading cause of blindness in both dogs and cats.

Although most prevalent among older dogs, a cataract can occur in young animals as well.

A cataract is an opacity (clouding) of the lens of the eye. The lens of the eye is located behind the pupil and normally is transparent. Its role is to help focus images onto the retina at the back of the eye, which transmits the images to the brain.

When a cataract occurs, it blocks or changes the passage of light through the eye, resulting in a deterioration of normal eye-sight.

Causes Of Cataracts:

Although the inciting cause is not known, it is known that a cataract is associated with chemical changes within the lens.

Most often a cataract is related to the normal aging of the dog and the eyes.

Other factors that play a role may be an infection, hereditary influences, congenital events such as viral infections in the mother before birth, physical or chemical injury to the eye, and exposure to intense heat or radiation.

Eye diseases and certain generalized diseases, such as diabetes, can also lead to cataract development.

How To Tell If Your Dog Has Cataracts

How To Tell If Your Dog Has Cataracts
How To Tell If Your Dog Has Cataracts

Signs Of Cataracts:

Cataract formation is not associated with pain, redness, or tearing.

The signs of a cataract are those associated with interference with vision. As the cataract matures, it becomes noticeable as a milky spot in the normally black pupil.

When the area of clouding is small and away from the center of the lens, there may be little interference with vision. However, as the cataract progresses, vision will become poorer.

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Diagnosis Of Cataracts:

Diagnosis of cataracts in your dog or cat will require an ophthalmic (eye) examination by your dog’s veterinarian.

Cataracts must be differentiated from lenticular sclerosis, which can cause a similar opacity in the lens but is a normal aging change which generally does not interfere with vision.

Treatment Of Cataracts:

Treating cataracts involves surgical removal of the cataract.

This is most often carried out by a veterinary ophthalmologist (a veterinarian who specializes in eye problems) because of the intricacy involved in the surgery.

Your dog will need to be evaluated before the surgery is performed to make certain that there is a properly functioning retina and that your dog is a good candidate for surgery.

In most cases, sight is greatly improved after surgery.

Possible complications include scar tissue forming within the eye, glaucoma, retinal detachment, and post-operative infection within the eye. These complications are not common, but will affect the eye-sight if they occur.

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