Cataracts in dogs are perhaps the most common eye problems that will affect your dog, and there are no known medications that are effective in either treating or preventing these conditions.
However, there are certainly several things that you do in building your dog’s immune system to help them from getting cataracts.
The word cataract by definition means to dash down or breakdown and essentially this is what happens to your dog’s eyes when they contract cataracts.
There are basically two types of eye conditions that will affect you dog, especially as they age, cataracts and nuclear sclerosis.
Cataracts in dogs are often confused with nuclear sclerosis and are much more damaging to your dog.
It is a condition where there is a disruption between the normal arrangement of the lens of the eye or its actual capsule.
This condition will result in the actual loss of transparency of the eye and a drastic loss, in most cases, of your dog’s vision.
Cataracts in dogs will most often appear as white splashes almost resembling ice in your pet’s eyes and are found on the lens of the eyes.
Nuclear sclerosis is a condition that is a very normal change that occurs in dogs as they age, and causes a slight grayish tint to the lens.
This condition will most always occur in both eyes simultaneously and there is also a loss of transparency.
This is due to compression of linear fibers located in the lens of your dog’s eyes.
However, it does not affect the vision of your dog like cataracts do.
What makes cataracts slightly different in dogs is that unlike people, where anyone can be affected, there are certain breeds that seem to be affected much more than others.
This is especially true with inherited cataracts.
There are several different types of cataracts that can affect your dog and they include: Congenital, Developmental or early onset, Senile or late onset, and Inherited cataracts.
Cataracts in dogs, regardless of what kind they are, will all normally form in much the same fashion, unless they are inherited.
The lens of your dog’s eyes in a normal state is dehydrated and consists of a mixture of water and protein.
There is a form of a pump in the eye that keeps this balance in check, and when this system gets damaged or starts to age, it will begin to fail
Large mixture of water enters the lens, the protein increases, and it causes the loss of transparency, and as a result, cataracts will form.
High glucose levels in your dog will also damage this system and cause the formation.
Congenital cataracts in dogs are conditions that are present from the birth of your dog, and will usually simulate nuclear sclerosis, in that they will affect both eyes.
However, even though they are present at birth, they are not considered to be inherited.
Infections or some type of a toxic exposure in unborn puppies are usually the cause of these types of cataracts.
Developmental forms are the types of cataracts in dogs that may develop early in the lifespan of your dog.
They can be caused by several conditions or can be inherited conditions.
Trauma to the eyes such as a blow or an accident, infections, allergic reactions to a toxic substance, as well as diabetes mellitus, can also be causes of this form of cataracts.
Senile or aged forms of cataracts will occur as your dog’s system breaks down, but what is interesting, is that they occur much less frequently in dogs than they occur in humans.
The breed of dogs that are the most prone to inherited forms of cataracts are smaller breeds and include Boston Terriers, Smooth Fox Terriers, Havanese, and Silky Terriers,.
It also includes Miniature, Standard, and Toy Poodles, as well as Cocker Spaniels and Miniature Schnauzers.
Larger breeds of dogs will be the most likely to develop nuclear sclerosis as they age.
The symptoms that an owner should look for in cataracts in dogs are a color change in the eyes, issues with depth perception such as a hesitancy to jump on something as well as skittishness.
Squinting, as well as inflammation or redness to the eyes are also warning signs.
The only effective treatment for cataracts is to have them surgically removed, just like in humans.
However, there are several supplements you can give your dog that will help to maintain the pumping processes of the eyes and to keep the natural immune system working to its fullest capacity.
Vitamins A.C, E, and Riboflavin, as well as the minerals zinc, selenium, and chromium, are especially effective in keeping your dog’s system working properly, as well as helping it to effectively fight nuclear sclerosis.
Vitamins A, C, E, and Riboflavin, all play roles in your dog’s system in preserving the levels of glutathione, an enzyme that protects your dog’s eyes from the oxidation processes.
Glutathione is instrumental to dogs in protecting their eyes from radiation and the affects that sunlight will have on your pet’s eyes.
Vitamin A palmitate, a form of Vitamin A, is an absolute necessity for your dog’s eyes, and a deficiency can cause night blindness in your pet.
Vitamin E works in conjunction with Vitamin A, and is essential for the health of the retina of the eye, and helps to prevent free radical damages such as second hand smoke.
Vitamin B2, Riboflavin, helps to strengthen the corneas of your dog’s eyes through a process known as collagen cross linking.
Selenium helps to absorb Vitamin E, while chromium helps to fend off diabetes, perhaps the largest cause of both types of eye conditions.
And finally the mineral zinc, as it helps to absorb Vitamin A, perhaps the most important of all the vitamins for your dog for eye health.
Your dog’s eyes are their vessels through their journey in life as your companion, and they look to you to help them preserve their health and cataracts in dogs.