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Animal House: Keeping An Eye On Cataracts

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Flickr via Creative Commons

One of the most common eye problems for dogs is cataracts, which can impact canines of all ages and breeds and be brought on by disease, old age and trauma.  While cataracts are not painful, they can lead to even worse eye problems, such as eye loss, said Dr. Matt Fraker from the Prairie Oak Veterinary Center in Normal 

  • Cataracts can cloud your pet's vision and are visible in the eye.
  • But not all visual changes to your dog's eyes indicate cataracts.  Normal aging causes nuclear sclerosis, where the fibers in the eye get dense with age and take on a blue hue.  This is totally normal and should not be mistaken for cataracts.
  • Taking your pet in for an annual exam can help you tell the difference between normal aging and cataracts.  Your vet will check your dog's eye.  If it is cataracts, you have the option to have corrective surgery, which can clear up your pet's vision...although your canine will be sporting the Cone of Shame during healing.
  • An abrupt onset of cataracts can happen in dogs with diabetes. 
  • With any cataract, as the lens pathology progresses and the lens starts leaking lens protein into the body of the eye, it's an inflammatory situation. The eye softens as a response to the inflammation.  over time, this could lead to drainage issues and glaucoma.  Then the eye has to be removed. So it's best to treat your animal as soon as you become aware of the cataract. 
Reporter, content producer and former All Things Considered host, Laura Kennedy is a native of the Midwest who occasionally affects an English accent just for the heck of it. Related to two U.S. presidents, Kennedy appalled her family by going into show business.