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Cataracts in dogs

It’s sad to say it, but the truth is that when discussing “cataracts in dogs,” our biggest concern at IndulgeYourPet is not the actual diagnosis, treatment, or cure; instead it’s the cost of treatment.  You see, while cataracts are a condition that can affect a dog of any age, it most commonly affects older dogs.  And unfortunately, the cost to treat and cure cataracts can be pretty expensive especially if each eye needs to be treated (think $1,500 to $5,000 per eye)!

And while…

Cost is not always a factor for some; for many (particularly those who don’t have a pet insurance policy in place for their loved one), the idea of spending thousands of dollars to treat a dog that may already be 10 to 15 years old isn’t something that they like to think about it.

As a result, some dogs may not receive the care they need, or even worse, may become a victim of financial euthanasia, in which the pet is put down simply because the owner can’t afford the care they need.

This is why…

We here at IndulgeYourPet always advise anyone who is thinking about purchasing or adopting a pet to take a few moments and see precisely what a pet insurance policy might cost them so that hopefully they’ll never find themselves in a position where they need to start worrying about “cost” when they should just be worrying about how “soon” their loved one can HEALED.

Makes sense… Right?

We tend to think so, but now let’s return to the topic: “Cataracts in dogs.”

Cataracts defined

A cataract is a medical term used to define a disorder whereby the lens of the affected eye becomes opaque or “cloudy.”  This lens clouding in the eye is caused when tissue within the eye begins to break down causing the damaged proteins to “clump up.”

Causes of cataracts in dogs:

Your pet can develop cataracts for a variety of reasons varying from:

Disease or Infections (prolonged inflammation of the eyes) as well as:

    • Injury or accidents directly to the eye or eyes,
    • Nutritional deficiencies,
    • Direct exposure to toxins and chemicals,
    • Symptoms related to diabetes (diabetes mellitus),

And sometimes, the development of cataracts is simply the result of old age.

Symptoms and diagnosis of cataracts in dogs

Regardless of “why” your dog has developed cataracts, the symptoms of the disease will remain the same and are usually very recognizable at least once the cataract becomes outwardly visible.

Symptoms will likely include:
  • Blurred vision and vision loss,
  • Poor nighttime vision,
  • Seeing “halos” around lights at night,
  • Total blindness.

Now the difficulty…

In determining the severity of your dog’s condition and diagnosing your dog’s cataracts early on, we’ve yet to find a dog that can adequately explain the symptoms that they are experiencing!

This is why, as a pet owner, the symptoms that you’re going to want to be on the lookout for will include any:

  • Type of “cloudiness” developing in your pet’s eyes.
  • Kind of behavior change which may include:
    • Bumping into objects in its way,
    • Hesitation in movement,
    • and a decrease in overall movement or activity levels.
  • Discharge leaking out from an affected eye.

From there, it’s essential to bring any of your observations to the attention of your primary veterinarian so that they can further examine your dog and make a definitive diagnosis.

The excellent news is…

That if you do have your pet regularly examined by a vet every year, they are likely already performing examinations on your dog to prevent and avoid a wide variety of medical conditions that could affect the “eye health” of your animal including screening for diseases such as:

  • Cataracts,
  • Nuclear sclerosis
  • and Glaucoma.

Tests your veterinarian will likely perform typically include a retinal exam. They will administer eye drops to your dog, allowing your dog’s retina to be more visible under an ophthalmoscope.  Once the eye drop hits the eye, any “flaws” along the retina and eye lens will immediately become apparent, allowing your vet to quickly diagnose your pet’s condition.

This is why you’ll likely find that your primary veterinarian will probably be the one to diagnose your dog’s condition rather than a specialist, such as a veterinarian ophthalmologist.

Now at this point…

We generally like to remind folks that we at IndulgeYourPet are not medical professionals and are certainly not veterinarians.  So… if you believe that your dog may be suffering from cataracts or any other medical condition for that matter…  QUIT READING THIS ARTICLE and take your dog to its veterinarian!

After all…

we are a team of people who are passionate about animals and like to remind folks that when they decide to become a pet owners, they are choosing to become responsible for that animal’s lifestyle and care!

This means that if ten years from now, what was once your brand-new puppy, is now your old faithful friend who begins to develop cataracts, it will be up to you to ensure those get treated (and paid for)!

Treatment for cataracts

When it comes to treating your dog’s cataract, you’re generally going to have a couple of options, the first of which is to treat the underlying cause leading your dog to develop its cataracts.

This means that if…

If your dog has some disease, nutritional deficiency, inflammation or is suffering from diabetes that has led to cataract formation, the first thing you’re going to do is try and “cure” the cause.

From there…

You’ll want to try to determine if your dog’s cataract needs to be treated at all.  The problem with cataracts is that it is not a condition that can be reversed.  Once the damage is done, that damage is there to stay.  The good news is that in many cases, the actual size of the cataract or the location of the “cataract” itself may mean that the most prudent decision will be not to treat the condition at all.

This is because…

The only natural way to treat or reverse the effects of cataracts on a dog’s eye is to perform surgery on the affected eye or eyes and either physically remove the eye lens and replace it with an artificial lens or one can attempt to physically remove the cataract from the affected lens by applying Lanosterol drops to the cataract itself in attempt to remove the affected areas.

In either case…

While the cataract surgery itself is generally considered a pretty basic and routine procedure, often the “recovery” of the procedure can cause many complications including infections (including uveitis) and a potential “hardening” of the lens capsule in the event an artificial lens is used.

These difficulties often result from self-inflicted trauma caused by your pet due to scratching and rubbing the affected area or excessive activity and barking.  After all, telling a dog to take it easy for a few days is tough!

Which brings us back…

To where we started which was discussing just how expensive all of this can be.  This is why, if you’re thinking about getting a new pet and just doing a bit of research on what it most cost if your dog was diagnosed with cataract, please take a minute or two and also take a look and see what it might cost you to purchase a pet insurance policy for your loved one.

If you ever have to pay for such a procedure, you won’t need to should the cost alone!

For more information please check out our Best Pet Insurance Companies article.

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