A lot of medical conditions that affect human beings also affect dogs; cataracts are one such example. The eye condition involves the lens taking on a foggy look and therefore causing sight to be simultaneously unclear and hazy. Extreme cases can lead to complete loss of vision.
Cataracts Background Information
The lens is the transparent framework situated in the back of the pupil and the cornea. The job of the lens is to center light onto the retina, enabling things to be defined and easy to see. The fogginess of the lens that comes about from cataracts is a result of the buildup of proteins within the eye. With foggy lenses, a dog's normal vision becomes vague and indistinct.
A variety of factors are associated with the emergence of cataracts in canines. Eye injuries can trigger cataracts, as can the aging process, dietary problems, infection and illnesses such as progressive retinal atrophy and diabetes. In dogs, cataracts are usually genetic, the ASPCA website says.
Canines of all ages are susceptible to cataracts; they can cccur at any time in canines. Some dogs are born with them. They also frequently show up in pooches who are 1 to 3 years old. Aging dogs also often experience cataracts. When it comes to elderly pooches, cataracts sometimes occur inexplicably and without a clear trigger.
If you are worried that your pet might have cataracts, pay attention and look out for the presence of several symptoms. Some typical indications of canine cataracts are inflammation, grayish-blue or whitish eye coloration, a misty glaze over the eyes, and squinting. If you sense that your dog is having problems seeing properly, cataracts might be the culprit. If he seems uneasy about looking around his surroundings or is constantly running into things when he wasn't before, cataracts could be the cause. Schedule an appointment with the veterinarian immediately to figure out what exactly is the issue, whether cataracts or something else is the concern. If you ignore the dog's cataracts, they can cause other problems -- from glaucoma and intense pain to complete sight loss.
A lot of dogs' eyes start to look misty and hazy as they get older. This is known as "sclerosis," and it has absolutely nothing to do with cataracts. Sclerosis typically isn't as threatening to eyesight as cataracts are. The only way to know whether or not your dog has cataracts, sclerosis or anything else is by taking the little guy to the vet.
Any dog can potentially have cataracts. However, some heightened breed susceptibilities do exist. Golden retrievers, poodles and cocker spaniels, among others, are especially susceptible to the eye disorder.
By Naomi Millburn
The Merck Veterinary Manual: Lens
AKC Canine Health Foundation: Cataracts
OSU Center for Veterinary Health Services: Can Young Dogs Get Cataracts?
MSPCA Angell: Cataracts and Your Pet
About the Author
Naomi Millburn has been a freelance writer since 2011. Her areas of writing expertise include arts and crafts, literature, linguistics, traveling, fashion and European and East Asian cultures. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in American literature from Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo.