Has the lens of your dog's eye begun to take on an opaque, cloudy look? There's a good chance that your dog is developing a cataract, which occurs when the proteins in the lens of the eye become deformed and start shriveling. Here's what you need to know about cataracts in dogs.
What symptoms should you look for?
You'll be glad to know that the cataract is not painful for your dog. His eye should not be painful or uncomfortable in any way. However, your dog vision will slowly decline as the cataract becomes worse. This may lead to problems such as bumping into things and refusal to go outside or into unfamiliar areas at night.
What causes cataracts?
There is no single, definite cause of cataracts in dogs. They do become more common as dogs grow older, and certain breeds are more likely to develop cataracts than others. (Cocker spaniels, fox terriers, and poodles are known for their predisposition to cataracts.) Excessive time spent in sunlight may also increase a dog's risk of cataracts. However, you should not feel like anything you did as an owner caused your dog to develop this condition. Cataracts have little to nothing to do with the quality of care your dog does or does not receive.
How are cataracts treated?
Sadly, there is really no way to reverse the cataract and make the lens of the eye clear again. In most cases, your vet will recommend just leaving the cataract alone and taking steps to make life easier for your dog as his vision worsens. These steps may include keeping everything on one floor so your dog does not have to navigate stairs, and installing an outdoor light so your dog can see more easily at night.
If the condition really becomes bothersome and your dog has cataracts in both eyes, your vet might recommend having the cataracts surgically removed. A false lens will be placed in the eye in place of the "real" lens. Since the recovery process can be a bit time consuming and difficult to manage, cataract surgery is not performed very often. Most dogs can continue living happy, healthy lives without having their cataracts removed.
If you think your dog may have cataracts, make an appointment with a vet through clinics like Seattle Emergency Veterinary Hospital. They can take a look at your dog's eyes and confirm the diagnosis so you can go on making the best plans for your pet.