A cataract is an cloudiness in the lens of a dog’s eye, causing him to have blurry vision. If the cataract is small, it won’t likely disturb the dog’s vision too much, but cataracts must be monitored because the thicker and denser they become, the more likely it is they will lead to blindness
Cataracts can develop from:
If your dog’s eyes look cloudy or bluish-gray, you should take him to the vet for an exam. Be aware, though, that it’s natural for a dog’s lens to become cloudy, or gray, with age. Any cloudiness at all in your pet’s eye is a sign for you to take him to the vet.
An untreated cataract may “luxate” or slip from the tissue that holds it in place, freeing it to float around in the eye where it may settle and block natural fluid drainage. This can lead to glaucoma, which can cause permanent blindness. Cataracts may also begin to dissolve after some time, causing deep, painful inflammation in the eye.
Though dogs of all ages and breeds can develop cataracts, they are more commonly found in Cocker Spaniels, Poodles, Miniature Schnauzers, Terriers and Golden retrievers. Dogs with diabetes are also especially prone.
A preliminary eye exam by your veterinarian will tell you whether you are dealing with a cataract or another condition that causes cloudiness in the eye. You should then consult with a veterinary ophthalmologist to determine the extent of the cataract and what steps to take to manage the problem.
In most cases, cataracts cannot be prevented, but there are steps to take to ensure that your dog’s vision can be preserved, especially if they are caused by a medical condition like diabetes.
Vision loss due to cataracts can often be restored through surgery.
Note: If your pet has an underlying condition such as diabetes, treating the underlying condition may lessen the chances that cataracts will develop.
Sign up to get more information about news and events at the MD SPCA.