Cataracts In Dogs: Like humans, glaucoma can also be a problem in dogs. The lens of a dog’s eye, which focuses on seeing any object, is transparent. This process is called accommodation. Sometimes parts of the lens in a dog’s eyes usually become blurred with age, and this blurring affects important parts of the eye which can lead to complications other than ocular problems.
Now the question arises: why do the lens of the eye become cloudy? In certain breeds, the problem of cataract is congenital, that is, it is related to genes. Cataracts usually affect young dogs under the age of five. In addition, diabetes can also lead to cataracts, as excess blood glucose levels can change the composition of the aqueous solution surrounding the lens. Apart from this, any injury and electric shock can also cause cataract.
The severity of glaucoma can vary. Initially, cataracts cover up to 15 percent of the lens of the eye. It is so mild that the owner may not be able to catch the problem in the beginning. When the cataract becomes severe, it covers a large part of the lens and gradually starts affecting the layers of the lens. Due to this, it becomes difficult to see, in such a situation the retina is also not visible.
Cataracts themselves are not usually painful, but can lead to problems such as glaucoma and uveitis, which can cause severe pain. Glaucoma is caused by increased pressure within the eye and can lead to blindness, while uveitis is an inflammation of the middle layer of the eye.
In the case of early or preterm glaucoma, eye drops can help prevent dilation of the eye and allow more light to fall on the retina. Whereas, severe cataract conditions require a surgery called lens emulsification. In this procedure, sound waves are used to fix the cataract. During this, a vacuum pump takes out the damaged tissue and an artificial lens is placed in its place. However, there may be some complications due to the surgery.
After surgery, eye drops may need to be instilled into the dog’s eyes indefinitely. If there is bleeding after surgery it can be dangerous which can even lead to blindness. Due to the bleeding, they bark excessively or irritability can be seen in their behavior. It can also cause eye irritation which can be painful and can also lead to glaucoma and uveitis.
If the dog has less eye irritation before the operation and the dog is not yet an adult, the surgery is more likely to be successful. In addition, an electro retinogram should be checked to see if the retina is still functioning. Explain that the electro retinogram determines the functioning of the retina. If the retina is not working properly, then surgery is not needed.
Diabetes can also be a cause of cataracts in dogs. That’s why a healthy diet and regular physical activity are important for a dog. If the dog is a victim of congenital blindness, then no remedy will work in such a situation. In the absence of sight, these animals rely on their sense of smell and hearing. In such a situation, if these animals get affection and support from their owners, then their quality of life can be high.
What Causes Cataracts In Dogs?
Cataracts are mostly due to genetic reasons. Poodles, Cocker Spaniels and Huskies are some of the dog breeds that are at a higher risk of developing cataracts. In other cases, cataracts are congenital, meaning there is a risk of congenital cataracts in dogs. Veterinarians say one way to avoid this problem may be to stop breeding dogs with cataracts at an early age.
Some dog owners say that as their dog gets older, their eyes become blurry. Although it can be a sign of cataract, it is not necessarily a problem of cataract itself. Lenses are made up of fibrous tissue that becomes smaller and fibrous over time, giving people blurred vision. This is called nuclear sclerosis and is not the same as a cataract.
Cataracts occur when the covering of the lens becomes obstructed. Due to this, the problem of irritation starts and many types of abnormalities start in the body, due to which other problems like cataract and uveitis can occur.
Diabetes mellitus can also cause cataracts. Due to excessive increase in the amount of sugar in the body, the solution present in the eyes is not able to absorb it completely. In such a situation, the sugar gets converted into an element called sorbitol. This element has a tendency to attract water and excessive water in the eyes causes blurred vision, which can lead to cataracts.
If a person thinks that his dog has blurred eyes, it is not necessarily a sign of glaucoma, but do not forget to see a veterinarian.
Also Read: Dog Flatulence Remedy, Causes, Symptoms | How To Prevent Bloat In Dogs
Cataracts In Dogs Symptoms
Until the problem of cataract in dogs becomes serious, it is not known about it. Dogs may not even feel the effects of this disease when there are mild symptoms, but in advanced cases, the following symptoms may appear in dogs:
Blindness: Dogs may have trouble climbing furniture and stairs and may be startled by a sudden noise.
Blurred eyes: A dog with cataracts can have a cloudy appearance on their eyes.
Red And Swollen Eyes: The problem of uveitis with glaucoma is a complex condition that can cause the eyes to become red and swollen.
Excessive Thirst And Gasping: These symptoms are seen in diabetic dogs which are usually associated with cataract.
Confusing And Aggressive: Cataracts can result in sudden loss of vision due to diabetes and an injury. Some dogs can become fearful because of this while others become more aggressive.
Diagnosis Of Cataracts In Dogs
If a dog has blurred vision it could be a sign of glaucoma, but it is important to see a vet for confirmation. The vet may ask questions about the dog’s behavior, such as whether or not he is able to climb furniture properly?, does he see or smell to eat?, does he have problems with play? Or is the dog often serious? e.t.c.
If the dog has diabetes and the owner thinks it could be a sign of cataracts, talk to the vet about it. To confirm this, the doctor can do a physical examination of the dog, blood tests and imaging tests. Through these tests, not only the confirmation of the disease but also its causes can be detected.
The help of electro retinogram (a kind of diagnostic test) is taken to check the severity and nature of cataract. If the retina is damaged, then the surgery will be unsuccessful.
If the vet is able to observe the retina, it means that it is not a sign of glaucoma, but it could be a symptom of nuclear sclerosis.
Treatment For Cataracts In Dogs
A doctor’s consent is necessary for the treatment of cataracts in a dog. If the dog’s eye has no retinal defects, the lens cover is soft and there is little swelling in the eye, the surgery is more likely to be successful. In dogs with diabetes, it is very important to ensure that they can withstand the procedure of surgery and anaesthesia.
- If the dog does not have vision problems and the cataract is small enough, no surgical procedure will be needed.
- Phacoemulsification is the name for cataract surgery, in which the cataract can be corrected using sound waves. In this, the defective part of the lens is removed and artificial lens is replaced in its place.
- After surgery, the dog needs to be monitored. In this, it is seen that the dog does not have any problem of bleeding and swelling. The dog may need an Elizabethan collar or an E-collar or a Buster collar. This collar is a protective medical device that can be worn by animals such as a dog or a cat. By wearing it, they do not scratch the area near the eyes. Apart from this, anti-inflammatory eye drops can also be given for at least three months to reduce the risk of glaucoma and uveitis.
- If you don’t want the dog to undergo surgery, your vet may recommend anti-inflammatory eye drops. No eye drops can cure cataracts, but they can help prevent infection inside. Cataracts can stimulate the inflammatory response, while anti-inflammatory eye drops can significantly inhibit it.
Also Read: Hookworms In Dogs: Signs, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, And Precautions
Prevention Of Cataracts In Dogs
Diabetes can often be a cause of cataracts, so lifestyle should include a healthy diet and physical activity. If an owner suspects glaucoma in their dog, they should be taken to the vet as soon as possible because having an appropriate timely diagnosis can prevent the disease from becoming dangerous.
In many situations, not opting for surgery may be the right option. If the dog’s vision is gradually decreasing, then there is a need to cooperate and make some extra efforts to make the life of this furry friend comfortable. Remove any furniture your dog climbs on frequently and put protective items on the stairs so that it doesn’t risk injury if it accidentally climbs down the stairs. When vision is impaired, the dog responds to smell and sound. For the time being, keep in mind that even in the event of not seeing anything, he can be given affection and by taking good care of him, life can be made happy.