Monday, April 15, 2024

Dog Cataract Surgery Before And After

Is My Dog A Candidate For Cataract Surgery

dog before and after cataract surgery

In order to determine the answer to that question, your dog will need to have his/her eyes evaluated by a veterinary ophthalmologist. We need to determine that your pet will have a reasonable chance of vision after the surgery has been performed. In addition to an eye examination, some diagnostic tests may be required. Typically an electroretinogram is performed to assess the function of the retina and occasionally, an ultrasound of the eye may be required.

Treating The Underlying Cause

If your dogs cataracts have developed due to a specific condition, they will need that condition treated to limit further damage to their eyes. It is important to understand that treating the underlying condition may slow the development of your dogs cataracts, but wont get rid of them. The only way to get rid of cataracts is to remove them.

How Are Cataracts Diagnosed In Dogs

If you suspect that your dog is having vision trouble or if you notice that your dog’s eyes appear cloudy see your vet for a thorough examination. Your vet may refer you to a Veterinary Ophthalmic Specialist who will be able to run tests to confirm the diagnosis, and recommend appropriate treatment for your dog.

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What You Should Know About Cataract Surgery

Some Background Information

A normal young lens is clear like glass. It acts like a magnifying glass to make objects up close appear crisply detailed and clear by focusing near objects accurately onto the retina.

When the normally clear lens inside the eye becomes opaquely cloudy, this impairs vision and is called a cataract.

From left to right, these photos show an actual clear dog lens, a mature cataract, and a dog eye following cataract surgery with placement of a clear artificial replacement lens.

Cataract Surgery

There are no medications proven to dissolve cataracts in people or in pets. Therefore, the treatment of choice for advanced, vision-impairing cataracts is surgery. The cloudy lens is removed by phacoemulsification technology and a replacement lens is usually surgically implanted.

Here are Three Good Resources on Veterinary Cataract Surgery:

The photo at left shows an operating room at Veterinary Vision where cataract surgery is being performed.

Cataract surgery is performed using phacoemulsification to break up the cloudy lens and aspirate it from the eye.

The replacement lens is made of an inert material which is well tolerated and inhibits cataract regrowth.

Will My Pet Be Blind If He Does Not Have a Lens Placed?
How Likely is Surgery to Prove Successful for My Pet?

Lucky rescued dog Joe is seen at left demonstrating his acrobatic skills and charm several months following cataract surgery performed by Dr. Lynch.

Are There Risks With Cataract Surgery For Dogs

Dog Cataract Surgery Before And After

All surgical procedures with pets or people come with some level of risk. Complications stemming from cataract surgery in dogs is rare, but some complications seen by veterinary ophthalmologists following cataract surgery are corneal ulcers and pressure elevations within the eye. Taking your dog for their follow-up exam with the veterinary surgeon is essential for helping to prevent issues from developing after the surgery.

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Veterinary Ophthalmology In Charlotte

Our board-certified ophthalmologist specializes in treating eye diseases and disorders in pets. We work closely with your pets primary care veterinarian to provide care for all ocular diseases that may be affecting your pet. Some diseases will require surgery, but many can be managed with medication.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet’s condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Dog Cataract Surgery Considerations

Cataract surgery is the preferred method of curing cataracts in dogs, and its success rates are high. Over 90 percent of dogs will have improved vision after surgery.

Owners should still consider that there is a long recovery period and their dog will need to avoid extreme exercise. But once healed, your dog should benefit from permanent improved vision, unless altered by other conditions. There are risks associated with every surgery and a cataract procedure in dogs is no different. Some side effects include a scar tissue which can limit vision, the risk of eye pressure known as glaucoma, retinal detachment, infection, and anesthesia side effects.

However, for the majority of dogs, the surgery goes smoothly with very few complications, if any at all.

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How Do I Find An Eye Doctor For My Dog

Vets that specialize in caring for the eyesight of pets are called veterinary ophthalmologists. Typically these specialists only book appointments when patients have been referred to them for care by their primary veterinarian. If you are concerned about your dog’s eyesight contact your regular veterinarian and request a referral to a veterinary ophthalmologist near you.

Memphis Veterinary Specialists & Emergency in Cordova offers pet ophthalmology services to diagnose and treat eye problems in dogs, cats and horses. Our veterinary ophthalmologist uses a cutting-edge approach to your pets eye care. Because there are certain pet eye conditions that can be reversed if theyre diagnosed in their early stages, we place a strong emphasis on the diagnostic portion of our ophthalmology services.

The Surgical Procedure: Phacoemulsification

Niko Before And After Cataract Surgery

Cataract surgery involves removal of the lens fibers. In order to access the lens, an incision is made in the cornea and a round hole is torn in the front of the lens capsule. A small pen-like instrument is introduced into the eye and through the hole in the lens capsule. This instrument produces ultrasonic vibrations that break up the lens material as it simultaneously vacuums this material to remove it from the eye

After the lens fibers are removed, a lens implant may be inserted into the lens capsule. The lens implant is not necessary for vision, but significantly improves near vision. At the completion of the procedure, the cornea is then closed with tiny stitches that absorb over the next four weeks.

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Cataract Surgery Procedure In Dogs

Cataracts can be difficult to diagnose by anyone other than a professional vet ophthalmologist. Expertise is needed to distinguish the similarity between a harmless age-related hardening of the lens which does not affect vision, and the visually impairing cataracts. Both give the impression of clouding.

Owners should consider that a successful surgery cannot give the dog perfect vision, but by removing the affected lens and replacing it with an artificial one, it will significantly improve the pet’s vision and quality of life.

If cataract surgery is the best option, your dog will undergo a complete physical exam with blood and urine tests.

Your dog will need to visit the clinic again, once the test results are ready, to have two further tests. Electroretinography, to determine retinal function, and an ultrasound to seek any retinal detachment. If retinal function is reduced or the retina is detached, surgery is unlikely to proceed.

If all test results are satisfactory, your dog will be placed under general anesthesia for the surgery. The procedure for dogs is very similar to the procedure for humans.

The veterinary ophthalmologist will cut into the eye or eyes to make a hole in the capsular bag holding the lens. A special probe will then emulsify and remove the cataract. Then, an intraocular lens commonly known as an artificial lens will be installed in its place. The surgery ends with the eye being sutured shut with absorbable sutures.

How Long Will It Take For A Dog To Recover From Cataract Surgery

The initial healing period after cataract surgery in dogs is approximately two weeks. Your puppy will need to wear an E-collar during that period. Their activity will be limited to leash walking only. You will also need to give your dog several eye drops and oral medications. Following your vets instructions carefully is essential to get a good result for your dogs vision.

Depending on the 2-week follow-up appointment results, your dogs medications may be reduced. However, some puppies will need to remain on medication permanently.

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Efficacy Of Cataract Surgery In Dogs

Cataract surgery in dogs is approximately 90 percent effective.

Dogs will notice increased vision, although not perfect, and owners may see an enhanced confidence in their dogs when venturing into their own territories or new ones.

Owners should consider that although cataract surgery is intended to be a permanent solution, it may not completely solve the problem in some cases.

If the procedure does not seem like the best option for you and your dog, there are alternative methods aimed at helping dogs suffering from cataracts.


A homeopathic remedy described as being able to halt or reverse cataracts by igniting the healing process.

Eyebright and Bilberry

Herbs used in cataract treatment as a holistic approach.

1% N-acetylcarnosine Eyedrop Solution

A study on 60 dogs found that a twice-daily application of this solution showed increased transparency of the lens and potential reversal of cataracts in both immature and ripe cataracts.

What Is A Dog’s Cataract Surgery Recovery Time

Canine Cataract Surgery on Behance

Dogs need about 2 weeks to heal after cataract surgery. During that time, your dog must wear an E-collar at all times and be restricted to leash walks only. During this time, you will need to give your dog eye drops and oral medications. Following your vet’s instructions is critical to your dog’s vision.

A 2-week follow-up appointment may reduce your dog’s medication, but some dogs will need to remain on medication permanently.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet’s condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

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Will A Dog Be Able To See After Cataract Surgery

About 95% of dogs recover from surgery as soon as they recover. Your pet vet will be able to give you a long-term prognosis for your dog. Generally speaking, vision retention after surgery is about 90% at one year and 80% two years after the operation. The keys to successful long-term results are good post-operative care and regular visits to the veterinarian for eye examinations and monitoring after surgery and through your dogs life.

Dog Cataract Surgery Success Rate

Our vets are often asked, ‘Will my dog be able to see after cataract surgery?’. The great news is that many dogs will have some vision restored by the very next day, but typically it will take a few weeks for vision to settle as the eye adjusts to the effect of surgery and the presence of the artificial lens. Provided that the rest of the eye is in good working order, cataract surgery in dogs is considered a very successful treatment with a high rate of positive outcomes.

Approximately 95% of dogs regain vision as soon as they recover from the surgery. Your vet will be able to give you a long-term prognosis for your dog however, generally speaking, maintaining vision after surgery is about 90% at 1 year, and 80% at 2 years postoperatively. The key to successful long-term outcomes is good post-operative care and regular visits to the veterinarian for eye examinations and monitoring, following surgery and through your dog’s life.

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Option Not To Operate

Without surgery, cataracts can grow larger, causing additional loss of sight. Eventually the dog will likely go completely blind, explains Dr. Martins. If, for personal or medical reasons, surgery is not an option for a pet, it is important to control the inflammation in the eye secondary to the cataract. We want to prevent lens shifting or the development of glaucoma.

Dr. Martins notes that a dog can still have a great life without vision, if cataract surgery is not elected, as long as there is appropriate care and monitoring to make sure the animal is not in any pain.

Animals without vision learn to rely on other senses, she notes. However, if surgery is an option, it will significantly improve the animals quality of life.

If you have questions about cataracts, talk to your veterinarian or contact the University of Illinois Veterinary Teaching Hospital ophthalmology service.

What Does Cataract Surgery Usually Cost

Dog Cataract Surgery | MedVet | What to Expect | Veterinary Ophthalmology

Cataract removal in dogs has become a common practice in most veterinary ophthalmology centers.

There is a long list of veterinarians across the country performing this procedure, meaning there is quite a range of costs to expect.

The cheapest dog cataract surgery may be around $1,500 per eye, where other specialists may charge up to $4,000 per eye.

The average price can range based on how severe your dogs cataracts are, if they have any other medical complications, and if they have any post-op complications.

If your canine friend needs cataract removal, we always suggest calling around to gather as many options as possible.

Once you have done this, you can choose the option that best fits your budget.

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Dog Cataract Surgery Process

Every veterinary hospital has its own process, but in most cases, you will drop your dog off either the morning of surgery or the night before. While some special care is required for dogs with diabetes, in all cases your vet will provide you with detailed instructions regarding feeding and care leading up to surgery day. Be sure to follow your vet’s instructions carefully.

Pre-Surgery Testing

  • Before the surgery begins your dog will be sedated and an ultrasound will be performed to check for issues such as retinal detachment or rupture of the lens. An electroretinogram will also be done in order to confirm that your dog’s retina is working properly. If these tests turn up any unexpected issues, unfortunately, your dog may not be suitable for cataract surgery.

Surgical Procedure

  • Cataract surgery will be performed under a general anesthetic. A muscle relaxant will also be administered to help your dog’s eye sit in the correct position for the operation. Cataracts in dogs are removed using a technique called phacoemulsification. This procedure uses an ultrasonic device to break up and remove the cloudy lens from the dog’s eye, and is the same procedure that is used in cataract surgery on people. Once the lens with the cataract has been removed an artificial lens implant can then be placed in the eye to allow images to be focused clearly onto the retina.


What Are Cataracts In Dogs

A cataract is a common eye disorder that affects humans as well as our furry friends. A cataract is a cloudy area that forms in the lens of the eye, which is normally clear. The clouding prevents light from passing normally through the lens to the back of the eye. As a result, the cataract can cause blurry vision . Dogs can develop a cataract in one or both eyes, but the condition is frequent in both eyes.

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What Is Cataract Surgery

Just like a camera, a dog’s eyes contain clear lenses they use to focus. Those clear lenses can sometimes form an opacity that can make it difficult for them to see. It can start with blurred spots and can end with a complete loss of vision.

The best form of treatment for severe cataracts in dogs is surgery, and it’s a common procedure performed routinely by veterinary ophthalmologists. However, not all dogs require surgery since cataracts don’t always affect the dog’s vision. A veterinarian ophthalmologist should be consulted to evaluate the severity of cataracts and decide on the next course of action.

If surgery is the best option, the dog will then undergo a series of tests to confirm whether the procedure would improve the dog’s quality of life.

Are There Any Risks With This Surgery

After and Before (woops) for my 14 month rugrat

All surgical procedures involving pets or humans involve some level of risk. Although complications from cataract surgery in dogs are uncommon, veterinary ophthalmologists frequently see corneal ulcers and pressure elevations within the eye following surgery. Attending a follow-up exam with your dog’s surgeon is critical for preventing complications following surgery.

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Dog Cataract Surgery Cost And Time Investment

Cataract surgery for dogs obviously comes at a price, but one that most owners feel is well worth paying. After the initial diagnosis by your regular veterinarian, you will have a consultation with the veterinary ophthalmologist. They will confirm the diagnosis and perform other tests to evaluate the eye.

These tests usually include ultrasound imaging of the eye and an electroretinogram to determine if the retina is still healthy. A pre-op blood panel will be done to rule out serious diseases that might make anesthesia risky. You might need to visit the veterinary ophthalmologist once for diagnostic testing and a physical exam and again on the day of the surgical procedure.

What Is The Treatment For Cataracts In Dogs

In many cases, cataracts in dogs can be surgically removed and replaced with an artificial lens. Unfortunately however, not all dogs with cataracts are suitable candidates for this surgery. If your dog has a pre-existing retinal detachment, retinal degeneration, glaucoma, or severe inflammation of the eyes, cataract surgery may not be an option for your pooch.

When it comes to saving your dog’s vision, early diagnosis of conditions such as cataracts is important. Regular twice-yearly wellness exams give your vet the opportunity to check your dog’s eyes for signs of developing cataracts and recommend treatment before they become more serious.

If your pup has been diagnosed with cataracts and is a good candidate for surgery, the sooner the surgery can be performed, the better the long-term outcome for your pet is likely to be.

Pet parents with dogs who are not suitable for surgery should rest assured that, although their dog will remain blind they can still enjoy a good quality of life. Dogs are very adaptable creatures and with a little practice your dog will adapt and be able to navigate their home environment well by using their other senses to guide them.

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