Cataract in dogs: causes, symptoms, treatment, prevention

A domestic dog, despite the magnificent care for it, just as its owner can get sick. Often, ailments concern the organs of vision. One of the eye diseases is a cataract in a dog. This pathological process, which develops inside the eye, leads to a clouding of the intraocular lens. The illness requires special attention and without timely treatment can cause various complications, including the development of glaucoma and complete loss of vision. If the cataract is small, then therapy is not prescribed, but they carry out surveillance and periodic examinations.


What are the causes of cataracts

Cataract in dogs

Photo of cataract in dogs

The exact origin of this disease has not yet been clarified. Most scientists from different countries agreed in one opinion - cataract eye is a polygenic disease, that is, its manifestation is directly related to hereditary predisposition.

Studies have shown that in all cataracts, the same ailment occurs in 80% of the offspring. According to the results obtained empirically, the following breeds are prone to the development of this pathology:

However, the specialists did not reveal why these breeds are at high risk of such a disease. In addition, there are other causes and factors of development of pathology. For example, traumatizing a dog.

Symptoms of cataract in dogs

According to the research, 80% of the dog's offspring will develop a cataract disease

It can be like mechanical damage - blows, emergencies, damage from games or fights, and those that have arisen because of chemical burns - contact with caustic alkalis or acids. Cataracts can also occur after a strong UV irradiation. Very rarely an ailment can be caused by temperature changes - after a child's hypothermia or his long exposure to heat.

Pathological changes in the eyeball can occur and against the background of the following ailments:

  • diabetes mellitus ;
  • autoimmune diseases;
  • diseases of an infectious origin, in most cases of a chronic form with frequent relapses;
  • intoxication of the body - although poisoning extremely rarely affects the development of cataracts, but such cases in veterinary practice are still noted. Sometimes this is due to the irresponsible approach of the owners, allowing themselves to treat the pet with alcoholic beverages. Some believe that a small amount of vodka in drinking a dog will prevent various kinds of diseases. This is fundamentally wrong and adversely affects the health of the dog;
  • advanced age - any health problems are aggravated with age, and this will not happen in the long run.

Stage development of pathology in dogs

Cataract in dogs occurs in two forms

Cataract in dogs occurs in two forms, each of which has its own characteristics

As in humans, canine cataract exists in two forms: primary disease and secondary. In the first case, the cause is a congenital pathology associated with heredity. The disease can occur due to infection of the fetus inside the womb, trauma, toxic damage during the formation of the lens. This form of the disease spreads to both eyes and has a symmetrical development on both sides.

To the primary form of pathology is also referred to as senile cataract. The disease has several stages of development:

  • The initial stage - a long one, can last not one year. Modern veterinary medicine has methods for early diagnosis of cataract in animals. Timely therapy can slow its development and prevent the transition to the next stage. But, unfortunately, this happens very rarely.
  • Immature cataracts - the area of ​​turbidity increases, the visual acuity in the pet decreases. Veterinarians do not recommend surgical intervention during this period.
  • Mature cataract - differs by a simpler diagnosis. Severely impairs the sight of the pet, and the animal is subjected to surgery.
  • Perezrela cataract is a condition in which emergency removal is necessary.

There is also a secondary disease that occurs and develops against a background of various pathological conditions, for example, diseases of the immune system, diabetes mellitus. This form of cataract is less common, but it is treated much more difficultly.

Symptoms of cataract in dogs

The most obvious symptom of the disease is the cloudy lens. If the process started in the central part of the eye, then it is easy to notice it. But if pathological changes initially occur in the peripheral tissues of the eye, then it can not be seen with the naked eye.

Mutous lens in a puppy

Always pay attention to the lens of the puppy. The cloudy lens is a clear sign of cataract.

When cataracts change the appearance of the eye in the pet, it turns pale and acquires a bluish tinge. If a similar pathology is found, it is necessary to seek help from the veterinary service. Here, differential diagnostics will be carried out, excluding the possibility of developing other ailments with similar symptoms.

If you ignore these clinical manifestations, the disease can lead to increased intraocular pressure, and the pet will be tormented by constant headaches. The ailment can cause irreversible effects in the dog - it will end with complete blindness.

Diagnosis of cataracts

Diagnostics includes a number of activities:

  • general examination of the animal;
  • external examination of both eyes;
  • when an eerie cataract is suspected, an electroretinogram is assigned which confirms or refutes the presence of the disease and helps to assess its stage and degree of lesion.

Only after making sure the diagnosis is correct, the veterinarian appoints competent treatment.

Treatment of cataract in dogs

Cataract is a disease that does not respond to conservative treatment. If it was found at the very beginning of development, then it is possible to stop further spreading with the help of vitamin and medicinal preparations, solutions of enzymes, etc.

Operation is the only way to cure cataracts

Operation is the only way to cure cataracts

A drug that can cure cataracts does not yet exist, although many scientific laboratories are studying this problem. In modern medicine and veterinary medicine, the best and only effective way is surgical intervention. There are two types of surgery: phacoemulsification and surgical removal.


This method is widely used in modern medicine and is highly effective. Its use is possible even with neglected forms of cataract - in the stage of overripe. The procedure is as follows:

  • a special ophthalmological device is introduced into the eyeball - an ultrasonic flaw detector;
  • the lens is crushed;
  • through the formed hole about 1.5-2 mm in diameter, the cataract is sucked off.
The process of cataract suction during phacoemulsification

The process of cataract suction during phacoemulsification

To reduce the risk of complications, the veterinarian makes a puncture in the peripheral tissues of the eye cornea. Instead of a remote lens, an intraocular lens or lens made of artificial materials is placed. The new lens, in a folded form, is inserted through a puncture into a lens bag, where it is placed in the place of the damaged element.

Until quite recently, surgical intervention was allowed only with ripe cataracts. Today, however, ophthalmologists have changed their views and agreed that phacoemulsification is quite effective at the initial stage of the disease. In this case, the "soft" lens is removed, which is less traumatic than in the later stages of the disease.

To avoid possible traumas caused by mechanical means, viscous viscoelastics are injected into the eye during the preparation for surgery.

Phacoemulsification in dogs

The dog's eye after phacoemulsification procedure looks like this

If veterinarians face a cataract of both eyes, in which the lens of one eye is clouded and a sharp decrease in visual acuity is fixed, and in the second eye there is an intensive progression of the disease, it is recommended that the operation be performed first on the second eye and at the first in 2.5-3 months.

This operation is shown to animals, from the age of six months to the advanced 18 years. Modern equipment allows you to conduct such operations without direct involvement of the surgeon, and the risks of complications for the pet are minimal. After the procedure, the animal is restored quickly enough.

The old technique of cutting the tissues of the eye and extracting the lens

There are complicated cases of the disease, when it is impossible to replace the pet with the lens. For example, it is not recommended to do this if the pet lives out its last days, the dog has diabetes mellitus in severe form, etc. Artificial lens is not put if the animal's eye pressure does not lend itself to normalization.

Cataract removal in an elderly dog ​​on video

How to prevent the development of the disease

First and foremost, it is important to monitor the health of the pet, to regularly visit the veterinarian. This is especially important if the age of the animal is more than 6 years.

Given the hereditary predisposition of some breeds to the disease, when purchasing a puppy it is worthwhile to clarify whether his parents suffer from this ailment.

It is necessary to regularly carry out the hygienic procedures of the dog's eyes, wipe the corners, use drops if the pet has dry eyes or is addicted to eye diseases. It is important to provide the pet with adequate nutrition and in good time to vaccinate.

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