Cataract Surgery – Why Your Dog Needs It

This is what a cataract looks like

So your dog has cataracts. The Veterinarian is offering surgery, which is stressful and very expensive. Should you take it up? After all, it’s only an eye.

Some Background:

A cataract is white opaque material which develops in the lens of the eye of a dog (or a person).It is completely opaque so a dog can’t see through a cataract. However in the beginning, when the cataract is small, the dog can see ‘around’ the cataract.

Cataracts grow unpredictably. Sometimes they grow very slowly, other times they take over the whole lens in weeks. Sometimes cataracts are caused by other diseases, such as diabetes.

Surgery:

Most Vet surgeons just remove the diseased lens. The eye without the lens doesn’t work as well but the dog can see and in my experience dogs cope well enough that you wouldn’t know that anything is different.

If there is an underlying disease (such as, the optic nerve or the retina are damaged) the vision may not return.

Why Surgery is essential:

A cataract is more then just lens damage. The opaque material inside the lens is hard and it will cause the lens to deform and rupture. Once the lens ruptures, the eye becomes inflamed. This inflammation is very dangerous and will eventually destroy the eye! It is also very painful.

If you don’t want to do cataract surgery for your dog, you may have to have the dog’s eye surgically removed, which is much cheaper but can look quite confronting to some people (and obviously, there is no vision in that side).

Just doing nothing is not an option – remember, your dog is in pain.

This is why I strongly urge every owner of a dog with a cataract to ponder the question – surgery or eye removal?

It’s a tough choice but the ‘do nothing’ alternative is far worse.

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About Dr Vadim Chelom

Dr Vadim Chelom is a Registered Veterinarian, a writer and an educator

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