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What are the Causes of and Treatments for Cataracts?

My two-year-old Cocker Spaniel has a cataract. It came out of no where . . . I am wondering if it is better to have...

Dr. Eric Barchas  |  Dec 3rd 2008


My two-year-old Cocker Spaniel has a cataract. It
came out of no where . . . I am wondering if it
is better to have it removed as soon as possible?
I know I read somewhere if not treated there is a
possibility the lens could explode and the eye
would have to be removed. Can you please educate
me on cataracts?

Thank You!!!

Sandra
La Mesa, CA

Cataracts occur when the lens of the eye becomes cloudy. There are many causes of cataracts. Hereditary anomalies, certain types of trauma to the eye, and diabetes are common causes of cataracts in dogs.

A cataract impairs vision in the affected eye. This can be corrected with surgery to remove the cloudy lens. The surgery must be performed by a specialist in veterinary ophthalmology.

Some cataracts are stable and do not cause problems other than reversible vision impairment. Other cataracts may cause the lens to swell and ultimately burst. Lenses that burst can cause severe inflammation (irritation) in the eye. The inflammation can lead to pain or permanent vision loss. In some cases the eye must be removed to preserve the dog’s quality of life.

Immediate assessment by a veterinary ophthalmologist is the best option for any pet with a cataract. The specialist may decide that surgery is not necessary. However, in many cases early intervention makes a critical difference in medical outcomes.

Also, cataracts sometimes are a symptom of a serious medical condition. I recommend that you have your dog checked out as soon as possible.

About the photo: Sadie does not appear to have cataracts.

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