In pets, cataracts are more likely to occur in dogs than cats, and in fact, 75 percent of dogs with diabetescan be blind to cataracts within a year after the diagnosis. This is how fast diabetes can affect your dog.
But first, let us understand what cataracts are. It is an eye problem, caused by the clouding of the eye lens. More specifically, the eye lens is inside a clear capsule and this capsule is clouded by cataracts. The speed of getting blind with this condition may vary; some occur within weeks or days, and some occur after a few years.
As mentioned above, dogs are more prone to cataracts due to diabetes. In fact, there are breeds that are more prone to this condition than other dogs: Old English sheepdog, Golden Retriever, Siberian husky, Schnauzer, Samoyed, Yorkshire terrier, Boston terrier, Cocker Spaniel, Maltese, Poodle, Labrador retriever, and many others. If your dog gets cataracts overnight, then it is time to get him to the vet – immediately.
Other possible causes of cataracts include certain vaccines and medications from heartworm and ticks/fleas. There may also be an underlying eye disease that causes cataracts, such as progressive retinal atrophy, glaucoma or uveitis. Your dog’s eyes might have also been damaged, causing a rupture. If the contents of the lens leak out, it can lead to uveitis and eventually to cataracts. So the moment your dog’s eyes get injured, you should get him to your vet right away for the check-up because you never know when the lens is actually damaged and may turn into a serious eye condition that can eventually lead to blindness.
There is another cause of cataract that originates from the nutrient deficiency due to not being fed nutritious milk and supplements when they were puppies. However, this type of cataract can simply wear off as the puppy grows older.
Senior dogs, of course, develop cataracts too, but it is only because of their aging process, and it is not much of a big deal for them, as compared to the above cases.
Your local vet or a veterinary optometrist can examine your dog’s eyes and check if there are cataracts. Anti-inflammatory medicine drops can be given to your dog after he is diagnosed of cataracts. Or in worse cases when cataracts develop quickly and greatly affect your dog’s vision, surgery is the only option.
In these surgeries, it is often better to have your dog undergo surgery as early as possible because when cataracts become matured, it will be harder for the specialists to remove them. After the surgery, many pets have their vision completely restored, or if not, slightly dimmer, especially for dogs. And there is no need to worry because these surgical instances are rare – most cataract cases do not require them, and your dog can still see.
One of the best ways to prevent dog cataracts is, of course, to prevent diabetes – by helping your dog stay in shape, with a balanced diet, good exercise, and a healthy lifestyle. Raw food diet can also help your dog stay healthy, as well as making sure they have proper intake of vitamins C and E.