You Need to Know About Cataract

Posted by Lejia Feng on

Aug 10th, 2020

Still Believe Blue-Eye Dog Are Prone to Eye Disease?
Here Are What You Need To Know About Cataracts In Dogs

Just like humans, dogs can get cataracts, too. In fact, dogs even suffer from cataracts more commonly than any other species. Although a cataract usually isn’t painful, it does often impair vision and can eventually cause complete vision loss.

What are cataracts in dogs?

Cataracts in dogs are a disease that clouds the lens of their eye. The cloud can start from a little spot to a totally opaque structure that affects the entire lens. That is also the easiest way to tell if your dog has a cataract. If the lens becomes completely masked, the result is blindness. Most cases are found in dogs over the age of five, but cataracts can develop at any age. Some dogs are born with cataracts, called congenital cataracts, or develop them as puppies, named juvenile cataracts, and senile cataracts occur on senior dogs.1

What causes cataracts in dogs?

Although the most common cause of cataracts in dogs is their genetics, there are a number of other factors that may cause cataract formation.

 

Here is a list of the most common causes of cataracts in dogs:

 

  • Eye injuries or trauma
  • Diabetes
  • Nutritional disorders or deficiencies
  • Exposure to toxic substances
  • Birth defects
  • Eye infections
  • Eye inflammation
  • Genetics
  • Cancer therapy treatments

 

Most canine cataracts are inherited, especially in certain breeds. Poodles, Cocker Spaniels, Boston Terriers, Karelian Bear Dogs, Wirehaired Fox Terriers, Siberian Huskies, Golden Retrievers, Old English Sheepdogs, and Labrador Retrievers are reported to be affected most often.2

Is dog’s eye color having anything to do with getting cataract?

Let’s take Siberian huskies as an example. Siberian huskies are one of the few dog breeds in which eye colors are often varied.

 

There is a common belief that blue eyes are weaker than brown eyes due to a lack of pigment and therefore are more prone to sun damage and cataracts. However, this is not true -- blue eyes lack melanin, but they do contain pigment. The only eye color that truly lacks pigment is the red albino eye color. Most cataracts in huskies are also unrelated to sun damage but develop very early in life because the puppy inherited two copies of a recessive gene affecting the lens. Although Husky breeders may claim that an eye developing cataract can often appear blue, currently, there is no research to back it up. 3

Prevention and treatment for Cataracts in Dogs

Now that you have a better understanding of cataracts in dogs, their causes, and which breeds are at a higher risk for developing cataracts, can cataracts in dogs be treated? If so, what are the treatment options?

 

The good news is YES, cataracts in dogs can be treated. However, there is no medical treatment that specifically treats cataracts. If an underlying cause can be identified, it is treated when possible.

Cataracts won’t go away on their own; they need to be removed surgically. Surgery is the most immediate, effective treatment for cataracts in dogs. However, it is also the most expensive. Surgery for cataracts in dogs can cost up to $3,000 per eye. After the surgery, you still need to give your dog the anti-inflammatory eye drops and regular checkups with your vet.

 

For Prevention, as most of the cataracts are hereditary, there is not much can do to prevent them. But giving them some antioxidant supplements to promote eye health, like fish oil, could be helpful. Also, blocking harmful UV rays is important, making sure your dog has plenty of shade while outdoors.Text

Written by Fino