Dogs of different breeds, like humans, are susceptible to disease. And cataracts, like pancreatitis and allergies, are quite common. This disease passes gradually in dogs, developing and aggravating over the years. And treatments for cataracts in dogs are similar to treatments for humans.
Cataracts in a dog and its causes
If the transparency of the lens of the eye decreases and because of its clouding the light cannot pass to the retina, then a cataract has begun. The main reason is heredity, since it is a genetic predisposition that causes vision diseases most often. Cataracts in dogs can develop regardless of the breed, progressing over the years. But nevertheless, faithful Golden Retrievers, amusing poodles, Yorkshire and Boston Terriers, and Cocker Spaniels are most susceptible to it. The critical age is 8 years, it is during this period that the occurrence of cataracts is most likely
In addition to heredity, cataracts can be caused by:
- Eye diseases – glaucoma, uveitis;
- Long-term drug treatment;
- Endocrine disorders – diabetes, metabolic disorders;
- Decreased immunity;
- Due to injuries received;
- With a contusion of an animal;
- As a consequence of the disease;
Cataracts. Symptoms and their recognition
Cataracts symptoms do not always manifest themselves and are often too late for the owner to notice. The main sign of the onset of the disease is the clouded eyes of the dog. Of course, if the age of the animal approached the respectable one, there is nothing wrong with the fact that the eyes have acquired a gray-blue tint and become less transparent, no.
This indicates the onset of nuclear sclerosis, which does not affect vision. However, it is worth checking the dog if the decrease in vision becomes noticeable, and the eyes become more and more cloudy. It is better to start treating cataracts in dogs right away, otherwise there is a high risk that it will slip out of the retaining tissues, and the outflow of fluid in the eye will be blocked. This can result in permanent blindness or glaucoma.
Dogs’ eyes, like human eyes, are susceptible to other conditions, whose symptoms can be mistaken for cataracts. With such suspicions, it is better to contact a specialist for qualified advice. The possibilities of modern diagnostics and the good equipment of veterinary clinics make it possible to determine and identify symptoms characteristic of cataracts. The examination is carried out traditionally and according to a special technique, which increases the chances of a reliable diagnosis.
Cataracts in a dog and methods of its treatment
Cataracts is a disease in which neither medications nor – even more so – diet will help. Only surgical intervention is able to rid the animal of the disease and restore its sight. But since they may develop other illnesses with age, they should be cured first.
The most complicating factor in eye surgery is diabetes, which requires treatment first. The operation to remove a cataract in a dog depends on at what stage of the development of the disease the owner of the animal asked for the help of a surgeon.
There are four of them:
- Cataracts in the initial stage – a slight drop in vision, when the dog does not distinguish between individual details of objects due to clouding of the lens along the peripheral region.
- Immature cataract – vision has fallen significantly, the dog distinguishes only the outlines of the object due to the opacity of the lens of the central optical zone.
- Cataracts in maturity – the lack of orientation of the dog in space due to the opacity of the entire area of the lens, she only feels the light.
- Overripe Cataracts – the dog loses the correct light perception due to the liquefaction of the fibers of the lens and its complete decay. At the last stage, the eyes of the animal are completely hidden by a milky white veil. This usually leads to very serious complications – glaucoma, phakolytic loss, iridocyclitis or lens subluxation.
In each animal, in connection with the individual characteristics of the organism and its state of health, cataracts develop at a different rate. It is important to notice the first signs of such a serious illness and bring the animal for treatment as early as possible.
After all, Cataracts removal in dogs is a complicated operation, and a much greater effect of surgical intervention is obtained at an early stage. The most effective treatment for cataracts in dogs is surgery, in which the cloudy lens is replaced with an intraocular lens, or IOL.
In some cases, the IOL is replaced with an artificial lens that is inserted into the animal’s eye. Modern equipment and qualified personnel guarantee that the surgical intervention will be low-traumatic, especially if the operation was performed at the initial stage.
The intervention of the surgeon in this case can be avoided. If cataracts have developed in dogs, the operation at the initial stage can be carried out by phacoemulsification, that is, using ultrasound.
The clouded lens is crushed by ultrasound to an emulsion and removed through a microscopic puncture – no more than 2 mm wide. It is replaced by an artificial elastic lens introduced into the animal’s eye through the same puncture.
The highest quality artificial lenses are products of the German company “Acrivet”. The folded lens, having reached its “destination” – the lens sac, unfolds and takes the place of the remote one. For greater safety, a puncture is made at the periphery of the cornea of the eye.
Suturing is usually not performed unless there is a reason for this and the surgeon has not considered it necessary to do so. It takes about ten days for the puncture to heal, during which it self-seals.
Being one of the most modern methods, phacoemulsification can be carried out even at the last stage of Cataracts development – overripe, but still a greater effect and fewer postoperative complications are obtained at the beginning of the development of the disease.
Although it was previously believed that the Cataracts should “mature” – in this case, its removal will take place with the least complications and vision will be fully restored. At an early stage, the clouded lens still retains its “softness”, and its removal through a puncture does not cause serious injury to the eye tissues.
But regardless of the stage of the disease, viscous viscoelastics are injected into the eyes of dogs – protective drugs, thanks to which the risk of mechanical injury is reduced to zero.
With Cataracts in a dog, the cost of the operation depends on the severity and is approximately 1500$ per eye.
Preventive measures to prevent the development of cataracts
As such, the prevention of the development of cataracts in dogs with the use of medicinal products or special food feed and daily regimen does not exist. This disease requires surgery. Nevertheless, if the owner of the animal follows certain rules, the dog, even if not 100%, will be spared the development and progression of the disease.
This requires: to conduct regular examination of the eyes of your pet; if there are any changes in the appearance of the eyes, contact the clinic; analyze the pedigree of the dog, since cataracts are a hereditary disease.
It is advisable to carry out the last point before buying an animal in order to protect yourself in the future. After all, it is much more profitable to overpay a little for a healthy puppy than to take an animal with a predisposition to cataracts and spend a significant amount later, watching the torment of your pet.
Important! This article is merely informative, at Petsfeed.co we do not have the power to prescribe veterinary treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the vet in the event that it presents any type of condition or discomfort.