Can old dogs have cataract surgery?

Age alone is not a deterrent to cataract surgery. With the use of modern anaesthetic agents cataract surgery has been successfully performed on dogs and cats as old as 19. One concern with older dogs is that their retinas may also have age related degeneration.

Like us, our dogs may experience vision changes and abnormalities. These can range from minor issues like allergies or dry eye to serious ones like cataracts.

Although cataracts are a formidable foe, surgical treatment will typically help your dog see better in no time. Older dogs are more likely to have cataracts, but puppies of any age can also develop them, particularly if they have underlying health problems.

How does cataract surgery for dogs work?

By removing the cloudy lens material, cataract surgery aims to restore vision. Additionally, removing the diseased tissue reduces the possibility of inflammation developing inside the eye when a mature cataract dissolves.

A process known as phacoemulsification, also referred to as phacofragmentation, is used in canine cataract surgery. Charles Kelman introduced the procedure for use on humans in 1967. By the late 1980s, veterinary ophthalmologists believed that phacoemulsification was the most effective method for treating canine cataracts.

Not All Cloudy Eyes Have Cataracts

Many pet owners believe cataracts are present in older dogs with cloudy eyes. Cataracts can be confused with nuclear sclerosis, a common aging change in dogs. Nuclear sclerosis starts around age 7 in dogs. It affects vision until it is quite advanced at ages 12 to 15, when there is a mild to moderate cloudiness in the eye’s lens. With an eye examination, your veterinarian can distinguish between nuclear sclerosis and a genuine cataract.

Although many illnesses can result in cataracts in dogs, the most common cause is hereditary cataracts. More than 150 breeds, including the American cocker spaniel, bichon frise, shih tzu, golden retriever, Labrador retriever, miniature poodle, and Siberian husky, are predisposed to genetic cataracts. This type of cataract may manifest from infancy to middle age.

Diabetes mellitus is the second most typical cause of canine cataracts. The lens of the eye is exposed to high glucose levels for a protracted period of time when a dog has diabetes. Prolonged high levels of glucose cause the lens to swell. Enzymes transform glucose into sorbitol, which causes the lens to become opaque or cloudy. Most diabetic dogs will experience cataract development within 16 months of their diagnosis.

Most of the time, your general practice veterinarian can identify cataracts. Online searches for the condition will turn up numerous vitamins and drops that promise to treat cataracts. None of these products, in the opinion of veterinary ophthalmologists, can cure canine cataracts.

There is currently no recommended alternative to surgery for the treatment of cataracts. Due to the need for specialized tools and surgical abilities, cataract surgery is only performed by a specialist known as a veterinary ophthalmologist. You will be referred to the closest specialist by your general practice veterinarian.

How much is cataract surgery for dogs?

The average cost of cataract surgery for pets is $3,500, with costs typically falling between $2,700 and $4,000


Is cataract surgery worth it for an old dog?

Frequently, small cataracts won’t impair your dog’s vision. Cataract surgery is not a lifesaving surgery. If your vet warns that blindness will result, you’ll have to make a decision more urgently. Anti-inflammatory medications combined with Occu-Glo may prevent blindness in dogs, which none of us want to happen.

Is a 12 year old dog too old for cataract surgery?

Age is not a disease, and even if your dog needs surgery and general anesthesia, they are never “too old” to receive the high-quality care they need.

How can I help my elderly dog with cataracts?

Once a cataract has formed, there are no known treatments that can stop it; surgery is the only treatment available. Cataracts are removed with a surgical procedure under general anesthesia. The veterinarian removes the lens and replaces it with a plastic or acrylic lens.

Can you remove cataracts from older dogs?

It is frequently possible to surgically remove canine cataracts and replace them with artificial lenses. But not all affected canines are good candidates for dog cataract surgery.