At some point or another we’ve all heard about cataracts. In most cases, our parents or grandparents have been diagnosed with cataracts and likely required surgery to repair the condition. What might shock you to learn is that dogs can also suffer from cataracts. In fact, cataracts are one of the most common eye diseases in dogs and they can affect any breed at any age.
Dog cataracts are caused by the degradation of fibres in the lens of the eye. Most commonly a genetic condition, cataracts may either be congenital, meaning the condition is present from birth, or early onset, meaning the condition develops at a young age. While some breeds are at a higher risk for inheriting cataracts (namely Cocker Spaniels, German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, Labs, Siberian Huskies, Standard Poodles, Boston Terriers, and Mini Schnauzers), the fact remains that cataracts can be developed by any breed of dog. Indeed, other conditions have been known to lead to cataracts and even poisons, trauma, or infections can cause cataracts. Furthermore, certain medical conditions like diabetes can also increase the likelihood that your dog will suffer from cataracts.
Luckily, there are treatment options available for dogs with cataracts. For the most part, surgical repair or replacement of the lens will be required to restore you dog’s vision but the treatment is not 100% effective. Unfortunately, while the surgery can vastly improve your dog’s eyesight there is no current treatment to restore vision completely. Moreover, the cost of cataract surgery for dogs can be prohibitively high but because of its importance for maintaining your dog’s quality of life it should not be avoided. If you suspect your dog is suffering from cataracts, speak to your veterinarian about treatment options. Dog cataracts are a natural and relatively common eye disease and despite surgery as the primary treatment option, the condition can be managed.