The aging process is inevitable and can be tough, regardless of the species. Like humans, senior dogs too need a little extra care as cloudiness in the eyes befalls them with passing years, affecting the dogs’ vision. If you notice a foggy eye lens in your furry, four-legged friend, then it is a definite mark of cataracts. Dog cataracts are usually not painful, but it reduces vision and ultimately traverses to develop vision impairment. There is yet so much to discover about canine cataracts, which is finally perceived as an interpretation in this article.
Everyone, more or less, tends to think of cataract as one of the normal outcomes of aging. However, several medical grounds may manifest into cataracts. Read out this article to attain a detailed insight about the problem and what can be the probable remedies. There is nothing more loving than an old dog, and so, you need to take care and hold those aged paws with empathy.
Cataracts In Dogs: Detailed Insight
Cataract in dogs is an indication of a disease where the crystalline lens of the eye appears cloudy, varying from impeccable to partial opaque intensity. Eyes have a clear cellular lens, just like cameras, that is used for focusing. When this lens tends to lose its transparency, the iris of the eye becomes thick and opaque. This obstructs light from passing to the retina and affects the vision. It leaves your furry friends with a murky, cloudy, grayish-blue colored eye which becomes red and irritable, eventually. As the condition worsens, the eye lens shifts to create opacity prompting total blindness.
General Causes Of Cataracts In Dogs
Now, let us come to the causes that lead to such a condition. Most cases of cataracts in dogs are due to inheritance and certain breeds such as miniature poodles, golden retrievers, American cocker spaniel, etc. are genetically predisposed to it. Other causes include diseases such as diabetic, nutritional disorders from puppyhood or cancer therapy treatments or specific severe eye injuries. If the dog is suffering from hypocalcemia, that is a very low calcium level in the blood or certain eye infections, it can change the shape of the eye lens.
Cataract can occur in dogs due to trauma in which the lens capsule splits or due to a harsh blow to the eye. A toxic reaction in the lens due to some other ocular disease or due to a drug reaction can also make the eyes prone to developing a cataract. However, all cataracts in dogs must be carefully inspected in order to hinder blindness and prevent loss of vision.
Distinction Between Cataract And Other Similar Ocular Conditions
The most common problem faced by the dog lovers is to identify whether the cloudy eye lens signifies a cataract or not. Geriatric dogs develop an ailment called Nuclear Sclerosis, that leads to a grayish display in the lens. It is not a cataract and does not even interfere with vision.
Now, the common question is that how to differentiate between nuclear sclerosis and cataract in your dog? Then, you need to watch out for the unusual symptoms that crop up if your furry friend develops a cataract. Let us take a glance:
- A bluish gray, or whitish layer in the eye lens.
- An unexpected hesitation to climb stairs or move about in their familiar environment.
- Signs of clumsiness during regular movements.
- Redness of the eye due to irritation along with continual discharge or blinking.
- A tendency to rub or scratch the eyes more than often.
If any of the above-mentioned highlights are bothering your pet dog, then it is high time that you must get to a remedy. You can also go to a veterinary ophthalmologist who can tell the disparity between nuclear sclerosis and cataract.
Types Of Cataract That Affect Dogs
You need to act fast before it gets too late. Various types of cataracts can befall your furry member. If the cataract occupies less than 30% in only one lens, then it seldom causes impairment of vision. In case the opacity covers about 60% of the total lens area, the visual defect grows significantly. When the opacity proceeds to 100% of the lens, the eye becomes totally defective, and the dog becomes blind. But, whether the cataract will persist or not depends on the type of cataract, the breed of the dog and distinct uncertainties.
- Incipient– These involve less than 15% of the lens and are so small that it requires magnification to diagnose, and cause no visual impairment.
- Immature– This generally includes greater than 15% of the lens. Often includes multiple layering and visual deficits which are typically moderate.
- Mature–The entire lens and the retina cannot be viewed during the examination. Visual defects include blindness or near-blindness.
- Hypermature– The lens shrinks, and the lens capsule appears to generate wrinkles.
- Toxic cataracts- This is randomly caused due to ocular disease and is quite common in dogs due to retinal degeneration, uveitis or due to increased intraocular pressure.
The intensity and rigor of cataracts vary with age and breed, that is, some dog breeds are more susceptible to develop cataracts than others.
Diagnosis Of Dog Cataracts
If you are worried that your loved dog might be under the risk of developing cataracts, then go for a genetic test to locate the genetic marker. Additionally, you have to ensure to look out for signs of cataracts in case your dog is already a diabetic. This is a condition where prevention is better than cure. Usually, a complete note of the disease history of the dog is essential along with a physical examination, including an eye test to evaluate the underlying causes. Additionally, veterinary doctors may recommend certain specific tests depending on your dog’s requirements.
Treatment Of Dog Cataracts
Nutritional Support: To prevent or reduce the severity of developing cataracts, the foremost essential factor is dietary supplementation. It can enhance lens fitness by rendering antioxidants supplementation which aids in reducing ocular inflammation that occurs in dogs. Blend Vitamin E (d-alpha tocopherol acetate) and vitamin C (ascorbic acid) with food specifically for taking care of the canine eye.
Surgery: The most effective treatment for cataracts in dogs, where phacoemulsification technique is involved to emulsify the lens with an ultrasonic process. Once the lens has gone through emulsification, replace fluids with a balanced salt solution. Also, to counteract extreme far-sightedness, an intraocular lens may be embedded. However, it is also one of the most expensive ways to manage cataracts in dogs.
Oral Supplements: Due to the modification of modern veterinary medicine, there are some new, cost-effective treatment options available nowadays for treating cataracts in dogs. These come in the form of oral supplements that act as antioxidants. Overall, the main focus is to reduce inflammation in the eyes.
Eye Drops For Animals: Dog cataracts eye drops are a reliable and effective treatment and the most considered alternative for treating cataract in dogs. These solutions have already confirmed to be very productive. They contain crystalline proteins that help to sustain a healthy eye among dogs
Wrapping It Up……
Often, your pawed friends try to adapt to this uncertain situation so well that you being an owner won’t be able to realize that they have troubled eye-sight. Until the problem spreads severely in both eyes, no one can make a proper note. This is where you need to stand out and be the best caregiver that your aged friend needs. Furthermore, routine eye exams must be a part of your dog’s yearly physical tests to help in monitoring the health of the eyes.
Cataract is a progressive disorder, so try to detect the symptoms at the earliest for your companion that has been dependent on you from day one. It is difficult to imagine the time where your energetic little puppy becomes old and fragile. Then, your sole duty lies in ensuring that your dog ages in the most comfortable way.