Canine Cataracts

 
Ethos Bright Eyes NAC Cataracts Eye drops for pets dissolve cataracts naturally without invasive surgery

Canine cataracts and nuclear sclerosis - The differences explained

 Canine cataracts and nuclear sclerosis Canine cataracts are one of the most common problems affecting dog's eyes. There are many different forms and causes of cataract formation and they affect all breeds and ages of dogs, but certain types of cataract show up more commonly in certain breeds. Despite the fact that they are very common, there is still a lot which is not know yet about canine cataracts.

The word 'cataract' literally means 'to break down'. This breakdown refers to the disruption of the normal arrangement of the lens fibres, or the capsule that contains the lens, inside of the eye. This disruption causes the lens to lose its transparency resulting in a reduction of visual acuity. Cataracts often appear to have a white, or crushed ice like appearance and affect the lens of the eye.

It is a very common mistake to confuse the common condition of nuclear sclerosis with cataracts. Nuclear sclerosis appears as a slight greying of the lens of the eye; it usually occurs in both eyes at the same time and occurs in most dogs over the age of six years. Nuclear sclerosis is a normal change that occurs in the lenses of dogs as they age and a loss of transparency occurs because of compression of the linear fibres in the lens. Nuclear sclerosis normally does not significantly affect the vision of the dog and therefore treatment is not recommended. Conversely, canine cataracts does obscure your dogs vision and, if left untreated, will eventually lead to blindness.

Despite the fact that there are several different forms and causes of cataracts, they all develop in a very similar way. The normal lens of the eye is maintained in a dehydrated state. It consists of approximately 66% water and 33% proteins. There is a complicated sodium water pump system in the lens that keeps this water/protein balance in check. When the bio-mechanical system in the lens is damaged, this pump system begins to fail and extra water moves into the lens. In addition, the percentage of insoluble protein increases. These changes result in the loss of transparency of the lns due to this cataract formation.

Canine Cataracts Treatments

The usual treatment for canine cataracts consists of a surgical procedure to remove the lens of the eye and then a new replacement lens can be fitted. With the increase in veterinary surgical skill and equipment, the surgical procedure to remove the problem lens is becoming increasingly more common. There are several different techniques used to remove the affected lens including; the removal of the entire lens and surrounding capsule, the removal of the lens leaving the surrounding capsule in place and phacoemulsification; which is when the lens is emulsified with an ultrasonic handpiece and aspirated from the eye. All of these techniques can offer excellent results. For a successful outcome, the affected animal must undergo a thorough examination to determine if he/she is a good candidate for surgery. Diabetic animals that are not regulated, aggressive animals that are difficult to treat daily, or animals in poor or failing health are not good surgical candidates. If you suspect that your dog is developing cataracts, you should work closely with a veterinary ophthalmologist to ascertain and take the best and most effective course of treatment for the dog.

Restoring a blind dog's vision with cataract surgery is one of the most satisfying parts of being a veterinary ophthalmologist, and surgery can give a dog a wonderful new lease on life. For a blind dog to again be able to see its owner, to play with toys, to look out the window and actually see things again is life-changing, not only for the canine patients but for their owners as well. This is especially true if the dog is elderly and deaf or hard of hearing; to have its vision restored can make a massive difference to its quality of life.

There is now a new and non-invasive treatment for canine cataracts that is gaining in popularity. This consists of a course of eye drops that are applied to the dogs affected eyes and go to work reversing the cross-linking of proteins in the lens of the eye that cause cataracts and thus return the lens back to full clarity once again. These NAC eye drops for canine cataracts should be applied hourly throughout the day and have a very high success rate over the six weeks recommended course of treatment. It is unlikely that you veterinary or ophthalmologist will have even heard about them yet and, even if they have, it is unlikely that they will recommend them as they are programmed to recommend cataracts surgery. The NAC eye drops were originally developed for people, but they work equally as well with pets and all other animals. A 14 year old boy we treated with the drops gave us the brilliant analogy when he was asked why cataracts surgeons didn't recommend using NAC eye drops and he said 'It would be like asking turkeys to vote for thanksgiving...'.

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