Can dogs get cataracts?

 |  Feb 18th 2008  |   7 Contributions

Bambi is 4-year-old, 2 lb. Chihuahua. One eye has
clouded. She also has problems seeing at night.
Do dogs get cataracts? If so what can be done?
How invasive is this with such small dog? If left
untreated could she go blind?

Gladewater TX

Cataracts occur when the lens of the eye becomes cloudy. Cataracts are common in dogs, and they have a number of causes. Most cases of cataracts are hereditary, but diabetes is another well-known cause.

Cataracts lead to vision loss but not pain in the early stages. Many pets with cataracts can have their vision restored through surgery. The surgery is not especially invasive, but it must be performed by a specialist in veterinary ophthalmology. Dogs of all sizes generally tolerate the surgery well. In fact, small dogs have higher rates of cataracts than large dogs, and therefore the surgery is performed most often on small dogs.

Without surgery, cataracts sometimes (but not always) lead to serious consequences for the affected eye. They can cause the lens to rupture and leak, which causes severe inflammation in the eye. When this happens it is sometimes necessary to remove the entire eye.

I recommend that you have a veterinarian assess your dog. He or she will be able to determine whether cataracts are present (there are other causes of cloudy eyes), and determine whether further testing or treatment is advisable. Your vet also may want to run blood and urine tests to make sure that diabetes isn't contributing to the problem.


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