What are Cataracts?
Cataracts are an eye disorder that frequently affects older pets including both dogs and cats. When a cataract develops, fibers in the lens of the eye which are found behind the eye break down and become cloudy. The lens is usually transparent and used for focusing to enable clear, sharp vision.
The cataract blocks the light through the eye and as a result the transparency of the lens is lost affecting the pet’s vision. As the cataract matures, a milky spot in the black pupil is visible.
Warning signs that you should watch for include inflammation, squinting, bumping into things or a reluctance to jump or run. Small cataracts may not affect your pet’s eyesight at all while a larger cataract will cause blurred vision, and eventually lead to blindness.
What Causes Cataracts?
Although the exact cause is not known, chemical changes within the lens may contribute to cataract development. Other factors such as genetics, congenital defects, eye infection, trauma to the eye, nutritional deficiencies, exposure to heat or radiation, toxins, eye disorders or diabetes may also be associated with cataracts.
Cataracts tend to be more common in dogs than cats. Certain dog breeds such as German Shepherds, Labradors, Golden Retrievers, Schnauzers, Afghans and Old English sheepdogs.
Your vet will perform an ophthalmic examination and treatment involves surgical removal of cataracts. This is a very intricate procedure and can also be quite costly, but a marked improvement in your pet’s vision will be noticed.
Help for Cataracts
Natural remedies have proven to be beneficial for eye health in both humans and animals. These remedies are safe and effective to use while still being gentle enough for the eyes. Herbal ingredients such as Arctium lappa (Burdock), Rosmarinus offinalis (Rosemary), Chelidonium majus and Filipendula ulmaria (Meadowsweet) support healthy eyes and clear vision.
More Information on Cataracts
Tips to prevent cataracts in pets
Certain preventative measures can be taken to avoid cataracts and protect overall eye health in your pet and these include:
- Feed your pet a well balanced all natural diet that includes vegetables (carrots, kale or broccoli) rich in antioxidants
- Incorporate sources of antioxidants in the form of Vitamin E and C, and beta carotene to protect the eye tissues
- Trim hair around the eye area to avoid eye irritation
- Check your pet’s eyes regularly
- Avoid exposing your pet to irritants such as pollen, plant seeds, toxins, chemicals, pollution and dust
- Protect your pet’s eye carefully when using shampoo or applying flea repellents
- Keep your pet’s head inside moving vehicles as foreign objects or substances may easily become lodged in the eye
- Visit your vet annually for an eye examination