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by Veronique Fournier June 09, 2020 6 min read12 Comments
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The main signs of cataracts in dogs are classic and easily recognizable. They include:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 CLEARVISION 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, CLEARVISION 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 CLEARVISION 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.
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.
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.
ANIMAL HEALTH TECHNICIAN
Véronique Fournier uses her extensive knowledge to write articles about pet health for Zumalka.
She earned her degree in Animal Health from Cégep La Pocatière in Quebec. Her experience includes internships on animal production farms and rehabilitating birds of prey; managing the care of up to 100 wild animals in a day at the SOS Miss Dolittle Refuge; working at the Aquarium of Quebec, where she monitored 10,000 animals of 300 different species. She worked as a chief animal health technician in a veterinary clinic in British Columbia, as well as a few contracts in various other veterinary clinics.
She also makes lots of canine friends by volunteering at local shelters, fostering, and dog sitting for friends.
November 08, 2021
Hi there, my dog was injured in his eye about two months ago. Quickly he developed a cataract in the eye. The specialist said he is not a candidate for surgery because his lens got pressed into and stuck to the iris, which would complicate the surgery too much for the potential reward. She then gave me a steroid called Prednisolone to help reduce inflammation. I know this is just a blanket over the symptom and will not be a long term fix or heal anything at all, so I’m looking now for better help elsewhere.
I believe he can see relatively well out of the eye because he has had no issue whether catching things out of the air, chasing his brother around at a fast pace, or hunting for chipmunks in the brush. This could be day or night – no issues with sight as far as I can tell. That being said, he either adapted to one eye-sight so quickly I didn’t notice, or he actually can see relatively well. The specialist thinks his vision is deeply impaired but I guess I disagree from my experience with him. Either way, it is cloudy in the pupil and light does not reflect off of the tapetum. The sclera is also inflamed. He does not seem to be in any pain and his energy seems fine. Knowing this, do you recommend the homeopathic remedy you’ve listed above? Do you have any natural remedies that would help him in his specific case? Would you recommend us seeing a holistic vet and/or homeopathic vet? What is your general opinion of what to do next? Thank you for your help!
August 09, 2021
Thank you for your comment, I hope this article has been helpful in your search for natural help for your dog’s eyes. We have also sent you a private email so we can offer you a more personalized treatment options for your beloved pet.
August 09, 2021
I have A14 yrs old Maltese poodle male, who has cataracts for the last 5 years our Vet said he is now seeing shadows. Is there any help for him?
June 28, 2021
Thank you for your comment and request on your mom’s behalf. We will do all we can to help your mother’s pet with with a cataract. We have sent you a private email so we can get more details on the situation to offer the most targeted help possible. We look forward to helping you both!
June 28, 2021
Hi my mums dog has a really bad cataract in left eye, partial sight in right eye surgery not an option as she so tiny and nervous, she’s 14 now, im lookingcat the drops if possible
May 10, 2021
Thank you for sharing your pet’s situation with us. We are happy to assist you in any way we can. So we have sent your a private email so that we can give you the most targeted help so your pet can get better as soon as possible.
May 10, 2021
i have a llaso apso hes 11 and already blind in one eye he is now going blind in the other eye he has blue tinge but can still see things and still is playing jumps on furniture the vet said he has small cataract at the back of his eye. ive heard natural cator oil i drop in the eye at night will help but i want to make sure what i give him is totally safe. i dont want him to loose his sight in the other eye or pay a huge vet bill either…. hes on speecial royal canin urinary slp18 biscuits or meat as he has a stone in tummy and lateroscopy over a year ago (think i spelt that right) and recently had 3 teeth out he was on meds for his teeth he was fine. i want to make sure what i put in his eye is safe and natural. so would you advise cator oil or this product would it help him much better and stop him going blind. any advise would be much appreciated i want to make sure i buy the correct product for him or would the cateracts L be safer and better for him does it enter the tummy as i dont want it to affect his tummy as hes on special food i know its for his eyes but dont know if it goes through the bloodstream in to his tummy if that makes sense
March 22, 2021
Dear Rita, Thank you for sharing your dog’s story with us! We can for sure understand your desire to avoid surgery! We are happy to help you with this. This is why we have send you a private email so we can help your little Yorkie naturally target his needs. We look forward to working with you!
March 22, 2021
My Yorkie,Shadow, has cataracts. He will be eleven in June. He also has the early stage of canine dementia. My vet suggested surgery. Would eye drops be better for treatment of cataracts. I do not want him to be traumatized with surgery. His weight is 8/7oz.
January 27, 2021
We are so sorry to hear about your 2 dogs with Diabetes which does often lead to eye problems. We have sent you a private email in order to target your 2 dogs more specific needs in the best way possible.
We look forward to working with you to improve your dogs health!
January 27, 2021
Two diabetic dogs looking to help dog cataracts not sure my vet has on right drops only for dryness buy not pressure in eye they have black discharge crust the other dog is diabetic post TPLO surgery want prevent this in him for happening interested in good ocular vitamins
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November 08, 2021
I’m very sorry to hear about what happened to your dog’s eye!! I can understand your frustrations in this situation. We are more than happy to help and that is why we have sent you a private email so we can provide you with our professional and personalized help.
We look forward to working with you.