VCA Animal Hospitals

Cataracts in Dogs

What is a cataract?

cataracts_-_2009Inside the eye is a lens that focuses light on the back of the eye or the retina. Vision occurs at the retina. The structure of the eye is similar to a camera, which has a lens to focus light on the film. A cloudy or opaque lens is called a cataract.

What causes cataracts?

The most common cause of cataracts in the dog is inherited disease. Other causes include injuries to the eye or diseases such as diabetes mellitus ("sugar diabetes"). Some cataracts appear to occur spontaneously and are age related.

Are some breeds more prone than others?

Hereditary cataracts can affect many breeds of dogs. Some of the recognized breeds include the American Cocker, Labrador Retriever, French Poodle, Boston Terrier and the Welsh Springer Spaniel to mention a few.

Will my dog go blind?

If cataracts occupy less than 30% of the lens or if only one lens is affected, they rarely cause diminished vision. When the opacity covers about 60% of the total lens area, visual impairment is usually apparent. If the opacity progresses to 100% of the lens, the dog is blind. However, whether the cataract remains static or progresses will depend on the type of cataract, the breed and other risk factors.

Can anything be done to prevent my dog from going blind?

"Surgically remove cataracts and restore failing vision..."

Veterinary ophthalmologists can surgically remove cataracts and restore failing vision caused by cataracts in your pet. Most pets have few complications and return to normal activity, running and playing within just a few days of the surgery. Your veterinarian can arrange a referral appointment to an ophthalmologist to further evaluate your pet's condition and determine appropriate treatment options.

How old will my dog be if he does go blind?

cataracts_2Since the major cause of cataract is hereditary, cataract progression varies from breed to breed and individual to individual. Cataracts may develop relatively early in life in some breeds; in others the first signs are detected when the dog is older and progression is so slow that dogs still have reasonable sight well into old age.

If the condition is hereditary, what can be done to prevent it from being passed on?

"Prevention is better than cure."

This is a situation where prevention is better than cure. Many veterinary ophthalmologists offer Eye Certification Programs that offer breeders the opportunity to screen their breeding stock and make sure they are producing disease-free puppies.

Related Tags

cataracts, lens, cataract, retina, ophthalmologists, ophthalmologist

Looking to learn more?

We also offer free, instant access to over 1,500 related articles on your pet's health including preventive medicine, common and not so common diseases, and even informative case studies. We encourage you to read any of these popular articles below or search our extensive pet health library.

Most Popular Articles

About our approach to exceptional pet health care

At VCA Animal Hospitals, our veterinarians take you and your pet's health seriously. With over 600 hospitals and 1,800 fully qualified, dedicated and compassionate veterinarians, we strive to give your pet the very best in medical care. We understand your pet is an extension of you, and appreciate the opportunity to share in providing exceptional pet care and quality of life.

* Free initial health exam for new clients only. Not to be combined with any other offer. Not good toward boarding, grooming, prescription and non-prescription medication, and retail items. Not good toward emergency and/or specialty veterinary services. Coupon good for up to two pets (dogs or cats only) per household. Redeemable only at a general practice VCA Animal Hospital. For pet owners who are aged 18 and older.

If you are a new client, you can get a free first exam* on your first visit.

Free First Exam

Get to know us by visiting one of our neighborhood hospitals.

Locate a Hospital
CLOSE CLOSE

General Practice

We have over 540 animal hospitals in 41 states that are staffed by more than 2,000 fully qualified, dedicated and compassionate veterinarians, with more than 200 being board-certified specialists. The nationwide VCA family of general practice hospitals give your pet the very best in medical care, providing a full range of general medical and surgical services as well as specialized treatments*: Wellness, Spay/neuter, Advanced diagnostic services (MRI/CT Scan), Internal medicine, Oncology, Ophthalmology, Dermatology, Cardiology, Neurology, Boarding, Grooming

*services may vary by location.

Our family of pet hospitals stands out by delivering the greatest resources in order provide the highest quality care available for your pets. By maintaining the highest standards of pet health care available anywhere, we emphasize prevention as well as healing. We provide continuing education programs to our doctors and staff and promote the open exchange of professional knowledge and expertise. And finally, we have established a consistent program of procedures and techniques, proven to be the most effective in keeping pets healthy.

Find a VCA General Care Animal Hospital near you:

 

See all VCA Animal Hospitals >

CLOSE CLOSE

Specialty Care

Sometimes sick or injured pets need the care of a veterinary medical specialist. When that happens, VCA specialty hospitals work closely with the general practitioner veterinarians who refer cases to us in order to provide seamless veterinary care to your pet. When your pet is facing any kind of serious illness or injury, our specialty referral hospitals will provide the compassionate and expert care your beloved pet needs.

Our goal is to make sure that when you and your pet are in need that you have access to board certified specialists who are up to date on the very latest developments in their field. In our state of the art hospitals, our specialists also have access to the most sophisticated diagnostic and treatment tools and techniques from ultrasonography and endoscopy to CAT scans and even MRI.

We have twenty-eight specialty hospitals across the US so there may be one near you. Our specialized services include: cardiology, critical care, dentistry, dermatology, internal medicine, neurology, oncology, ophthalmology, radiology and surgery.

Find a VCA Specialty Care Animal Hospital near you:

 

See all VCA Animal Hospitals >

CLOSE CLOSE

Emergency Care

In case of emergency, please call us immediately. If it is after hours, check with a local animal hospital emergency clinic.

CLOSE CLOSE