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How to Help Your Dog with Cataracts

It is not uncommon for dogs to develop cataracts over time. Most dogs are not affected until they get up there in years and it begins gradually. However, not all dogs with a cloudy-looking eye has cataracts. In fact, the geriatric eye is a hardening of the lens of the eye, known as Nuclear Sclerosis and not a cataract. You as the pet parent may have concerns and wonder how you can help your dog with cataracts. This is the first sign of vision loss in our pets but it does not mean that your dog cannot see. So, what exactly is a cataract and how does it affect your dog?

According to the Pet Place, the lens that covers the eye is normally clear but when a cataract develops, the lens becomes cloudy, blocking transmission of light to the retina. The eyes will appear to have a bluish, gray or white covering on the eye itself. A dog with problem cataracts may have a tendency to bump into things, reluctant to do normal activities like jumping, climbing stairs and so forth, may seem withdrawn in unfamiliar circumstances and is constantly squinting. In advanced cases, the dog may experience pain, inflammation and redness of the eyes. states that the causes of cataracts is usually genetic although a specific trauma to the eye can definitely be a factor. Dogs with diabetes are predisposed to cataracts. In puppies, cataracts can be the result of nutritional disorders. Dogs with an ocular type disease may develop cataracts as well as rare cases of birth defects, side effects to radiation and infections or toxic drugs.

If you have concerns about your dog's eyes, your veterinarian can perform a thorough physical examination to recognize cataracts and exclude any underlying medical issues. Some tests may be performed in order to do so, such as blood tests, ultrasound of the eye and an electroretinogram to evaluate the function of the retina.

Be sure to contact your veterinarian to find out any known treatment for cataracts in dogs. The condition cannot be reversed. Cataract surgery can be performed in more advanced cases but is not always recommended or necessary for your dog to live a long happy life. If the cataracts are due to an underlying condition such as diabetes, that condition needs to be treated. The cataracts will not clear up but will progress as long as underlying issues are addressed and remedied.

There is little that you can do to prevent cataracts. To provide a good life for your dog, be sure to keep the home in consistent order as most dogs have things memorized so as not to run into something. For his/her safety, be sure the yard is fenced in or is on a leash and monitored.

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