It’s sad to say it, but the truth is that when it comes to discussing “cataracts in dogs”, our biggest concern at IndulgeYourPet is not the actually diagnosis, treatment or cure, rather it’s the cost of treatment.
While cataracts is 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)!
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 really 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 actually become a victim of financial euthanasia, in which the pet is put down simply because the owner can’t afford the care that he or she needs.
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 exactly what a pet insurance policy might actually 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 thinks so, but now let’s get back to the actual topic at hand which is “Cataracts in dogs”.
Cataracts is a medical term used to define a disorder whereby the lens of the affected eye becomes opaque or “cloudy”. This clouding of the lens in the eye is caused when tissue within the eye itself begins to breakdown causing the damaged proteins to “clump up”.
Causes of cataracts in dogs
Your pet can develop cataracts for a variety of reasons varying from:
- Congenital cataract or genetic causes cataract (think juvenile cataract).
- Which can be seen in a variety of breeds including:
- American Cocker Spaniels,
- Bichon Frise,
- Boston Terrier,
- Chesapeake Bay Retriever,
- German Shepherd,
- Golden Retriever,
- Miniature Poodle,
- Miniature Schnauzer,
- Silky Terrier,
- Standard Poodle,
- Just to name a few!
- Disease or Infections (prolonged inflammation of the eyes),
- Injury or accidents directly to the eye or eyes,
- Nutritional deficiencies,
- Direct exposure to toxins and/or chemicals,
- Symptoms related to diabetes (diabetes mellitus),
- Which can be seen in a variety of breeds including:
And sometimes, the development of cataracts is simple the result of old age.
Symptoms and diagnosis of cataracts in dogs
Now regardless of “why” your dog has developed cataracts, the symptoms of the disease will pretty much remain the same and are usually very recognizable at least once the cataract becomes outwardly visible.
Symptoms will likely include:
- Blurred vision and/or vision loss,
- Poor night time vision,
- Seeing “halos” around lights at night,
- Total blindness.
Now the difficulty…
In determining the severity of your dog’s condition and or diagnosing your dogs cataracts early on is that we’ve yet to find a dog that can adequately explain the symptoms that he or she is 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 change in behavior which may include:
- Bumping into objects in its way,
- Hesitation in movement,
- And/or a decrease in overall movement or activity levels.
- Discharge leaking out from an affected eye.
It’s important 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 good news is…
That if you do have your pet regularly examined by a vet on a yearly basis, he or she is likely already performing examinations on your dog to prevent and avoid a wide variety of medical conditions which could affect the “eye health” of your animal including screening for diseases such as:
- Nuclear sclerosis
- and Glaucoma.
Tests your veterinarian will likely perform typically include a retinal exam. whereby he or she will administer eye drops to your dog, allowing the retina of your dog 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 very apparent allowing your vet to easily diagnosis your pets condition.
This is why…
You’ll likely find that your primary veterinarian will likely 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 we’re certainly not veterinarians.
So… if you believe that your dog may be suffering from cataract or any other medical condition for that matter… QUIT READING THIS ARTICLE and take your dog to his or her veterinarian!
we are a team of people who happen to be passionate about animals and like to remind folks that when the decide to become a pet owner, they are choosing to become responsible for that animal’s lifestyle and care!
Which means that if 10 years from now, what was once your brand-new puppy, is now your old faithful friend who begins to develop cataracts, its going to be up to you to make sure that 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 that is leading your dog to develop his or her cataracts.
Which means that if…
Your dog has some type of disease, nutritional deficiency, inflammation or is suffering from diabetes that has led to his or her cataract formation, the first thing that you’re going to want to do is try and “cure” the cause.
You’ll want to try to determine if your dog’s cataract needs to be treated at all.
You see, the problem with cataract 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 actually size of the cataract or the location of the “cataract” itself may mean that the most prudent decision will be to not treat the condition at all.
This is because…
The only real way to treat or reverse the affects of cataract on a dog’s eye is to perform surgery on the affect 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 times the “recovery” of the procedure can cause many complications including infections (including uveitis) and a potentially “hardening” of the lens capsule in the event an artificial lens is used.
Are often the result of self-inflicted trauma caused by your pet due to scratching and or rubbing of the affected area, or simply due to excessive activity and/or barking. After all, it’s tough to tell a dog to just take it easy for a few days!
Which brings us back…
To where we started which was discussing just how expensive all of this can be.
Which is why, if you’re thinking about getting a new pet and/or 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.
This way if you ever do 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.