Cataracts in Pets
A cataract is when the lens of the eye starts to turn opaque. The cloudier the lens becomes, the blurrier and darker the subject’s vision becomes. Cataracts affect humans, but they can also affect your pet. Thick, dense cataracts may lead to blindness, so it’s important to monitor your pet’s condition and seek treatment in the early stages of the condition.
Schedule an appointment if you believe your pet has cataracts – simply call Germantown Vet today at 240-252-7467.
Signs Your Pet has Cataracts
In both humans and animals, most cases of cataracts are inherited. Other common causes include old age, diabetes, eye inflammation or injury, low calcium levels, and exposure to radioactive or toxic substances.
Certain dog breeds are more susceptible to cataracts than others. These include:
- American cocker spaniels
- Bichon Frise
- Boston terriers
- Smooth fox terriers
- Silky terriers
- Miniature and standard poodles
- Miniature schnauzers.
Pets whose eye lenses have become up to 30% opaque may not show any behavioral signs of cataracts. You may only notice signs of vision impairment once your pet’s lenses are 60% or more opaque.
Take a close look at your pet’s eyes. Cloudy or bluish-grey lenses are one clue your pet is developing cataracts. However, be aware that another less dangerous condition called nuclear sclerosis could be the reason your pet’s eyes are cloudy. This condition affects many aging pets and doesn’t cause as much vision impairment as cataracts. In fact, treatment for nuclear sclerosis is rare and not usually recommended.
Still, if you notice any cloudiness in your pet’s eyes, it’s wise to take him to the vet to verify his condition and begin treatment. Untreated cataracts can lead to painful eye inflammation or glaucoma, which can cause permanent blindness.
Treatment Options for Cataracts in Pets
When you arrive at the vet, the first step is to diagnose your pet’s condition as cataracts or something else that causes the lenses to become cloudy. Diagnostic methods include a physical exam, blood count, urinalysis, biochemistry profile, ultrasound and electroretinography.
Surgery is the only option available to restore your pet’s vision if he has developed cataracts. This procedure has a high success rate, but your vet will first need to determine if your pet is a good candidate. Surgery may not be recommended for your pet if the condition was brought on by a non-hereditary cause.
The most common form of cataracts surgery involves removing the damaged lens and replacing it with a plastic or acrylic one. Another approach, called phacoemulsification, involves emulsifying and aspirating the lens, replacing it with a balanced salt solution. An intraocular lens may also be implanted during the phacoemulsification process to prevent farsightedness.
During the recovery period following surgery, your pet may need to spend a day or two at the vet hospital. Once at home, you may need to fit your pet with a cone to prevent scratching until his eyes heal. You’ll also need to administer special eye drops a few times a day for up to several weeks.
Schedule an Appointment at Germantown Vet
When it comes to preserving your pet’s health and wellbeing, there’s nothing more important than repairing his diminishing eyesight. Bring your pet into Germantown Vet for a complete examination and diagnosis. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.