Cataracts in Dogs: Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment

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Cataracts in Dogs: Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment

Close-up photograph of a dog's eye with a cloudy cataract formation.

What Are Cataracts?

Cataracts in dogs are a common eye condition characterized by the clouding or opacity of the lens inside the eye. This cloudiness prevents light from passing through the lens properly, leading to impaired vision or even blindness. Cataracts can develop as a result of aging, genetic predisposition, trauma, inflammation, or certain underlying health conditions. Common signs of cataracts in dogs include a cloudy or bluish appearance of the eye, decreased visual acuity, increased clumsiness, and reluctance to navigate unfamiliar surroundings. Treatment options for cataracts in dogs may include surgery to remove the affected lens or managing the condition through supportive care and regular monitoring. It is important to consult a veterinarian for proper diagnosis and guidance.


Have you ever noticed your dog’s eyes looking cloudy or gray? If so, your furry friend might be suffering from cataracts. Cataracts are a common eye condition in dogs, affecting about 20% of dogs over the age of 1 year. This condition can range from mild to severe and can lead to vision loss and even blindness if left untreated. In this article, we’ll dive into the world of cataracts in dogs and what you need to know to keep your pup’s eyes healthy. If you have a dog, it’s important to know how to take care of them so it can have a happy life. Whether you’ve had dogs before or this is your first time, this information is important to keep your pup healthy. So, let’s get started!

What Are Cataracts?

A cataract is an opacity in the lens of a dog’s eye, causing him to have blurry vision. Watch out for cataracts in your dog. If they’re small, they probably won’t affect their vision too much. But, the bigger and denser cataracts get, the more likely they’ll cause blindness. Keep an eye on them.

What Causes Cataracts?

Cataracts can develop from disease, old age,, and trauma to the eye, but inherited conditions are the most common cause. It’s important to know that some dogs can be born with cataracts or get them when they’re between one and three years old. A high incidence of cataracts is also often attributed to diabetes.

How Can I Tell if My Dog Is Developing Cataracts?

If your dog’s eyes look cloudy or bluish-gray, you should take them to the vet for an exam. Don’t worry if your dog’s eyes start to look cloudy or gray as they get older. That is just a natural part of aging, called nuclear sclerosis. It’s not as serious as cataracts and usually doesn’t require treatment. However, any cloudiness in your pet’s eyes is a sign for you to take them to the vet.

What Happens When a Cataract Goes Untreated?

If you don’t treat a cataract, it might move from its place and float around in the eye. That can stop the eye from draining fluid and cause a painful eye disease called glaucoma. If you don’t treat it, your dog could go blind.

Which Dogs Are Prone to Cataracts?

Some dog breeds are more likely to get cataracts than others. These breeds include cocker spaniels, poodles, miniature schnauzers, terriers, and golden retrievers. Dogs with diabetes are also especially prone.

How Are Cataracts Diagnosed?

A preliminary eye exam by your veterinarian will tell you whether you are dealing with a cataract or another condition that causes cloudiness in the eye. You should then consult with a veterinary ophthalmologist to determine the extent of the cataract and what steps to take to manage the problem.

How Can I Help Preserve My Dog’s Vision?

Cataracts can’t usually be prevented, but you can do things to help keep your dog’s vision good, especially if they have a health problem like diabetes that causes cataracts.

  • Examine your dog’s eyes regularly.
  • Go to the vet with your dog if you notice their eyes look cloudy or have a blue-gray color.
  • Take your dog to the vet if you suspect they’re having trouble seeing.
  • Keep in mind your dog’s parents’ medical history, as cataracts can often be passed down from parent to pup.
  • Keep an eye out for health issues that may cause cataracts in your dog, like diabetes or an injury to their eye.

How Can Cataracts Be Treated?

Vision loss due to cataracts can often be restored through surgery. A veterinary ophthalmologist will surgically remove the lens, replacing it with a plastic or acrylic lens. Cataract surgery generally has a good success rate, but your veterinarian will need to determine whether your dog is a good surgical candidate. The procedure also requires extensive postoperative care.

Note: If your pet has an underlying condition such as diabetes, treating the underlying condition may lessen the chances that cataracts will develop.

How Can I Care for My Pet After Cataract Surgery?

After surgery, your pet will have to wear a protective (Elizabethan) collar until his eye heals. You’ll need to keep him relaxed in a calm environment, and he’ll also require eye drops several times a day for a few weeks.


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Frequently Asked Questions

What are canine cataracts?

A: Canine cataracts are a clouding of the lens in a dog’s eye, leading to impaired vision or blindness. They can be caused by genetic factors or develop later in life.

What age do dogs get cataracts?

A: Dogs can develop cataracts at any age, but they are more commonly seen in older dogs. Certain breeds may be more prone to developing cataracts at a younger age.

How to prevent cataracts in dogs?

A: While it may not be possible to completely prevent cataracts, maintaining your dog’s overall health, providing a balanced diet, and regular veterinary check-ups can help reduce the risk.

Can cataracts in dogs be removed?

A: Yes, cataracts in dogs can be surgically removed through a procedure called cataract extraction. It involves replacing the cloudy lens with an artificial lens to restore vision.

Can cataracts in dogs be treated?

A: Yes, cataracts in dogs can be treated. Treatment options include surgery, medication, or managing any underlying conditions contributing to cataract development.

How do you treat cataracts in dogs?

A: Cataracts in dogs are primarily treated through surgery, where the affected lens is removed and replaced. Other treatment options include medications and managing secondary conditions.

Can dogs live with cataracts?

A: Dogs can live with cataracts, but their vision may be significantly impaired or eventually lead to blindness. Treatment options should be considered to improve their quality of life.

Toggle TitleCan my dog live with cataracts?

A: Yes, dogs can live with cataracts, but their vision will be compromised. Regular veterinary care and appropriate management can help ensure their overall well-being.

How long can a dog have cataracts before they go blind?

A: The progression of cataracts varies among dogs. Some may go blind within a few months, while others may retain some vision for several years. Timely treatment is crucial.

What do dogs with cataracts see?

A: Dogs with cataracts may experience blurred or cloudy vision. In severe cases, their vision may be reduced to light perception or complete blindness.

What happens if you don’t treat cataracts in dogs?

An: If cataracts are left untreated, a dog’s vision will progressively worsen, leading to complete blindness. Additionally, cataracts can cause discomfort and increase the risk of secondary complications.

How Can I Care for My Pet After Cataract Surgery?

After surgery, your pet will have to wear a protective (Elizabethan) collar until his eye heals. You’ll need to keep him relaxed in a calm environment, and he’ll also require eye drops several times a day for a few weeks.

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