November 1, 2013

Cataracts in dogs

What is a cataract?

Inside the eye is a lens that focuses light on the back of the eye or the retina. Vision occurs at the retina. The structure of the eye is similar to a camera, which has a lens to focus light on the film. A cloudy or opaque lens is called a cataract.{{more}}

What causes cataracts?

The most common cause of cataracts in the dog is inherited disease. Other causes include injuries to the eye or diseases, such as diabetes mellitus (“sugar “). Some cataracts appear to occur spontaneously and are age related.

Are some breeds more prone than others?

Hereditary cataracts can affect many breeds of dogs. Some of the recognized breeds include the American Cocker Spaniel, Labrador Retriever, French Poodle, Boston Terrier and the Welsh Springer Spaniel, to mention a few.

Will my dog go blind?

If cataracts occupy less than 30 per cent of the lens or if only one lens is affected, they rarely cause diminished vision. When the opacity covers about 60 per cent of the total lens area, visual impairment is usually apparent. If the opacity progresses to 100 per cent of the lens, the dog is blind. However, whether the cataract remains static or progresses will depend on the type of cataract, the breed and other risk factors.

How old will my dog be if he does go blind?

Since the major cause of cataract is hereditary, cataract progression varies from breed to breed and individual to individual. Cataracts may develop relatively early in life in some breeds; in others, the first signs are detected when the dog is older and progression is so slow that dogs still have reasonable sight well into old age.

If the condition is hereditary, what can be done to prevent it from being passed on?

This is a situation where prevention is better than cure. Some veterinarians offer Eye Certification Programs that offer breeders the opportunity to screen their breeding stock and make sure they are producing disease-free puppies.

For further information, contact: Dr Collin Boyle
Unique Animal Care Co. Ltd.
Tel: 456 4981