Cataracts are clouding of the lens in the eye that can make the dog blind. It does not only affect older dogs and can have several causes. Discover all the peculiarities of this disease.
Cataract in dogs: definition
The eye is made up of several elements. We find in particular the retina which is located at the back of the eye and which has the role of capturing images to send them to the brain by passing through the optic nerve. Then, it is made up of the lens with an interior matrix and an exterior capsule whose mission is to return light to the retina.
When the lens matrix undergoes denaturation of its proteins, clouding occurs in the lens. The retina can no longer capture light. This phenomenon has the effect of reducing the animal’s vision, to the point of making it blind if nothing is done as soon as possible. Be careful, there is a difference between cataracts and sclerosis of the lens. In the case of this second pathology, the lens turns white, but continues to receive light rays, which therefore does not cause loss of vision.
The causes of cataracts
The causes of cataracts in dogs are diverse in nature. Age is one of the first factors. Beginning in their eighth year, many dogs have senile cataracts. It can also be a question of traumatic cataract. The animal suffered a shock in the eye which eventually led to clouding of the lens. Another very common cause is diabetes.
Just like in humans, animals that experience this health problem end up developing significant visual disturbances, leading to total blindness. In addition, the disease can occur due to taking drugs or toxic products. Chlorpromazine, for example, can cause blindness. The same is true for naphthalene used in the treatment against moths. One of the last causes is heredity. When cataracts are genetic, a dog can develop cataracts from an early age.
What are the main symptoms of cataracts?
There are a number of signs you can recognize a cataract. The most obvious symptom is clouding of the eye. Its interior becomes clear or white. The eye may also reveal a bluish sheen. And of course, the loss of sight will have to constitute an alarming element. The dog bumps into everything and has difficulty moving. Psychological disorders accompany the disease. The animal begins to fear noise and develops aggressiveness or threatening attitudes when surprised by something.
How to treat cataracts in dogs?
Cataract is a disease that cannot be cured, but which can be cured. Two solutions are therefore adopted. On the one hand, treatments based on drugs that will slow down the opacification. This option should be considered if the disease is not yet very advanced. Because if the effects on the sight are already serious, there is no other choice than to go through the “surgery” box. The operation is only recommended in the youngest individuals, as an older animal may not survive it.