Cataracts in Dogs

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Cloudiness of the Eye Lens in Dogs

Cataract refers to the cloudiness in the crystalline lens of the eye, varying from complete to partial opacity. When the eye lens (located directly behind the iris) is clouded, it prevents light from passing to the retina, which can cause vision loss.

Most cases of cataracts are inherited. For instance, Miniature poodles, American cocker spaniel, miniature schnauzer, golden retrievers, Boston terriers, and Siberian huskies are all predisposed to cataracts.

Symptoms and Types

Symptoms typically relate to the degree of vision impairment. Dogs with less than 30 percent lens opacity, for example, display little or no symptoms, whereas those with more than 60 percent opacity of the lens may suffer from loss of vision or have difficulty seeing in dimly lit areas.

Meanwhile, if your dog has diabetes mellitus-related cataract, you may also observe increased thirst, increased frequency of urination, and weight loss in your dog, along with vision impairment symptoms.

Causes

Although most cases of cataracts are inherited, the following are other causes and risk factors associated with the condition:

Diagnosis

If you should observe cloudiness in one or both of the dog's eyes, you should bring it in to see a veterinarian immediately. There, the veterinarian will ask for a thorough history of your dog’s health, including the onset and nature of the symptoms, and possible incidents that might have precipitated the problem. He or she will then perform a complete physical examination, focusing on the eyes and ocular region, to determine the severity of the problem.

Routine diagnostic tests, such as complete blood count, biochemistry profile, and urinalysis, may be conducted. However, the results of these tests are usually non-specific unless another concurrent disease like diabetes mellitus or hypocalcemia are at the root of the problem. Ultrasounds or electroretinography (which measures the electrical responses of cells present in the retina) are two forms of advanced diagnostic exams which also help determine the severity of the issue and may confirm whether surgery is necessary to correct a cataract.

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retina

The layer of the eye that is charged with receiving and processing images

urinalysis

An in-depth examination of the properties of urine; used to determine the presence or absence of illness

uveitis

A medical condition in which the uvea becomes inflamed.

ophthalmic

Anything having to do with the eye or care of the eye

uvea

The term used to refer to the part of the eye containing the iris, the cilia, and the choroid.

ocular

Anything having to do with the eye

hypocalcemia

A low level of calcium in the blood

intraocular

Found inside the eye

iris

The colored layer around the pupil

emulsification

The breaking down of large globs of fat into smaller parts

Courtesy of petmd.com Original Article

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