Cataracts is the opacity of the lens in an eye. This condition may lead to blur vision in dogs and if not treated the lens becomes thicker, which increases the risk of them becoming blind. It is very important to keep an eye on the signs and symptoms listed below to be able to spot cataracts in dogs and take the necessary measures.
Signs and symptoms of cataracts
- Cloudy pupils in one or both eyes
- Unsure footing, misjudging distances or high-step walking
- Difficulty in seeing in dark areas and places
- Watery eyes
- The reluctance in jumping or climbing
- Rubbing and scratching of the eyes
- Change in pupil size and shape
- Signs of vision loss such as bumping into furniture or not recognizing familiar people
Causes of Cataracts
Genetics is the most common cause of cataracts followed by diabetes though there might be more factors or conditions that may cause this disease. Here they are;
- Eye injuries
- Birth defects
- Eye infections
- Exposure to toxic substances to the eyes
- Eye inflammation
- Nutrition deficiencies
- Old age
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Stages of maturation of cataracts in dogs
There are different factors that can play a role in speeding and spreading the cataract disease in the eyes and here are the various stages it matures through.
- At this stage, there is minimal impact on your dog’s vision. It might have affected probably 10-15% of the dog’s lens and your dog might live a long healthy life without the need for treatment whatsoever.
- At this stage, the cataract has affected around 15-99% of its lens. The dog is an ideal candidate for surgery since the effect of the cataract might be minimal to total blindness.
- At this stage, the visual impairment is complete or complete blindness and the dog’s lens is completely covered with cataract. Surgery is not always ideal at this stage though it can be reversed back into the immature stage through proper medication.
- This kind of cataract causes the eye to wrinkle and the contents of the lens to become solidified and shrunken.
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How to prevent cataracts in dogs
Below are some of the ways you can help prevent cataracts in dogs.
1. Routine eye check-ups
This is important in preventing cataracts in dogs as it enables the vet to diagnose the problem before it gets to the advanced stage. It is also important to know that reversing an adverse cataract disease is quite painful for your dog and expensive for you.
2. Home-based treatment
As written in my previous article, there are numerous ways you can be able to prevent your dog from getting this disease. This involves the use of supplements rich in vitamins and essential antioxidants such as vitamin C, Vitamin E, and herbs.
3. Watching for injuries
It is important for one to seek treatment for their dog especially if it deals with some of the vital organs such as the eyes. As soon as you see your dog’s eyes have an injury do take them to the vet. It can lead to cataracts or even permanent blindness if left untreated over a period of time.
4. Know your dog’s breed
It is also important and vital for you to get to know your dog’s breed really well. This is because one cause of cataracts is genetics and hereditary disorders hence one can be on the lookout for certain signs with the specific breed.