Are your dog’s eyes starting to go cloudy with a whitish tint, just like my old dog Kiwi? It’s possible that these are canine cataracts.
In fact, just like in humans, cataracts in dogs affect the eyes and impair vision.
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Eye health is very important, as you can imagine. So, I invite you to read this article to help you be better equipped to recognize cataracts in dogs.
In addition, we offer our advice on what treatment can be given to care for a dog with cataracts or cloudy eyes.
What causes cataracts in dogs?
As you may know, cataracts are, by definition, a clouding of the crystalline lens. This is caused by a change in the proteins inside the eye.
The crystalline is a small oval sphere, like a soccer ball, inside the eye, which acts as a lens. Its role is to concentrate the light before it is projected onto the retina, which then transmits the image to the brain via the optic nerve.
When a dog develops a cataract, the crystalline loses its transparency and the light can no longer reach the retina as effectively, causing what is called a vision disorder.
So, we now understand roughly the process that causes cataracts, but why do these changes in the crystalline proteins happen?
Among the most frequent causes of cataracts in dogs, we find advanced age and heredity.
Dogs over the age of seven are more likely to develop cataracts than younger dogs. We call these senile cataracts.
These cataracts usually develop rather slowly, and vision loss is gradual, so dogs get used to it for the most part and compensate with their other senses.
Some purebred dogs are genetically predisposed to develop cataracts at an early age. I am thinking for example of Poodles, Siberian huskies and Yorkshires. For these dogs, monitoring their vision is therefore important.
Inflammation of the eye
Retinal disease, shock or trauma to the eyeball can be a precursor to the development of cataracts. In short, any cause of eye inflammation can lead to the development of cataracts in the future.
Diabetic cataracts in dogs
Normally, a healthy dog has enough insulin (hormone) to carry the glucose from digestion to the cells of its body.
However, a dog with diabetes does not have enough insulin to do this crucial work, and therefore, glucose builds up in the blood.
This accumulation of glucose in turn causes changes in the crystalline, among other things. The crystalline becomes waterlogged, causing cataracts, which are usually fast-growing.
Most dogs with diabetes, even if it is well-controlled, will develop cataracts and will go blind. This reminds me of my friend’s dog who has diabetes and who is now blind.
What are the symptoms of cataracts in dogs?
The main signs of cataracts in dogs are classic and easily recognizable. They include:
- Whitish pupil (center of the eye), cloudy eyes
- Difficulty finding a treat (needs to smell it instead of seeing it)
- Hesitating in front of the stairs or to climb on the couch
- Banging into furniture
- Behavioral changes: calmer, staying close to its master or becoming aggressive
How do you know if your dog has cataracts?
Two of the early signs of cataracts in dogs are increased sensitivity to light and a whitish reflection in the pupils.
That said, many people confuse this cloudiness in the dog's eyes with a very common phenomenon, one that is very normal in older dogs; nuclear sclerosis.
It is therefore important to consult a vet if you start to observe a change in color in your dog's eyes. Only an experienced professional can effectively diagnose a cataract.
How to treat cataracts in dogs?
The treatment of cataracts for dogs will depend firstly on the underlying cause.
If, for example, your dog has diabetes or an eye infection, it will be important to make sure that these conditions are under control before moving on to another treatment step.
Ultimately, your vet may recommend surgery to treat cataracts as well as eye drops.
Cataract surgery for dogs
This surgery involves removing the crystalline and replacing it with an implant. It’s considered only when it can restore vision to a healthy dog, or relieve pain, as it is invasive and costly.
Talk to your vet to see if your pet is a candidate for this surgery.
If a cataract does not cause inflammation or glaucoma (increased pressure in the eye) and the loss of sight is the only consequence, it is reasonable not to consider surgery.
However, some dogs become very anxious or even aggressive when blind. The decision for surgery is therefore on a case-by-case basis and is up to you.
I invite you to keep reading below for a natural solution to help your dog in case of cataracts.
The cost of cataract surgery for dogs
Prices range from $2,700 to $4,000, depending, among other things, on the surgical technique used.
It’s a surgery that will be performed by an ophthalmology specialist and for this reason, prices can easily reach several thousand dollars.
You should know that, following this surgery, the animal will have to receive eye drops to reduce inflammation in the eyes for several months.
If you choose to let nature take its course, it’s also very likely that your pet will require anti-inflammatory eye drops in the advanced stages of this condition.
Certain eye drops have been placed on the market stating that they can dissolve cataracts. These drops have had some beneficial effects on the eye, but have proven not to dissolve cataracts as promised.
In short, there are no miracle eye drops that will make cataracts disappear.
On the other hand, there is a natural treatment for caring for a dog with cataracts.
Dog cataracts natural treatments
Are you looking for a dog cataracts treatment without surgery? Or maybe a dog cloudy eye home remedy?
As promised, we have prepared a list of natural options that you can use to care for your dog with cataracts. As home remedies, we tell you about honey and carrots.
As mentioned above, it’s not possible to completely treat cataracts or cloudy eyes in a dog without surgery. That said, we have designed a natural product for you that will be of great help. You want to slow down the progression of cataracts.
Indeed, the homeopathic product CATARACT-L has been specially designed to strengthen the crystalline lens in your dog’s eye. It is also made for other animals such as cats, rabbits and horses.
It is important to slowing the progression of cataracts. It is therefore a significant advantage for animals showing the first signs of the condition and whose vision is not yet affected.
By cleaning and protecting your dog's crystalline lenses, CATARACT-L is a great ally.
It is also important to target the source of the problem in the treatment process. For example, if your dog has diabetes and its cataracts are the consequence of this, it’s important to treat this condition as well.
You will see, using our CATARACT-L product in combination with addressing the root cause of cataracts is important to do. You want to help stop their progression and prevent them from happening again.
Honey as a natural treatment for cataracts in dogs
Some people recommend using a little honey to treat cataracts in humans, so it is to be assumed that there may be a beneficial effect in dogs too. I would advise talking to a vet, however, before embarking on this technique.
It is said that placing a drop of raw beehive honey (personally I would suggest medical honey) inside the lower eyelid using your index finger could help treat this condition.
Honey is recognized as a powerful healing agent and has proven itself in the veterinary world, in the area of wound care. So, this is a worthwhile natural treatment option to try out.
Carrots to treat cataracts in dogs
I like this idea because carrots make great treats that are good for your dog's health. Be careful to cut them into small pieces so that your dog does not choke.
Carrots are rich in beta carotene, a precursor to an important vitamin for eye health; Vitamin A. They are therefore theoretically beneficial for the care of your dog's eyes. At the very least, in a reasonable dose, they cannot cause any harm.
You know the old adage; prevention is better than a cure! So, protect your dog's eyes by offering them shelter from UV rays when they spend time in the sun. Offer them a balanced and complete diet full of vitamins to strengthen the immune system.
And finally, pay close attention to the health of your dog's eyes. Feel free to contact us for any health problem your pet may have.