Just like humans, dogs’ bodies can begin to show signs of wear and tear as they get older. From arthritis in the hips to hearing loss, man’s best friend might require some increased upkeep as he or she ages.
WFAA ABC reported that a veterinarian clinic based in Houston, Texas, is restoring dogs’ eyesight with cataract surgeries. Wilma, a Poodle who’s a patient at the Houston Humane Society, acts as a four-legged employee with the rest of the staff, despite having recently developed cataracts. As a result of the condition, she’s lost vision in both of her eyes.
However, Julie Hempstead, D.V.M., is utilizing new technology to give dogs like Wilma hope. She’s one of a few veterinary ophthalmologists in the area, and performs cataract surgeries on a variety of animals. Following a similar procedure used in humans, Hempstead removes the cataract and inserts a small lens to correct the dogs’ vision.
“[The dog] wakes up, he perks up, and wags his tail – excited to see the owner,” Hempstead said, quoted by the news source. “It’s really neat to be a part of that.”
The cataract procedure typically costs around $2,300 at Gulf Coast Veterinary Specialists, the facility where Hempstead performs surgeries. However, with the right knowledge and preventive measures, owners can improve their dogs’ quality of life and hope to avoid the negative effects of aging.
What are canine cataracts?
According to the American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation, cataracts are the clouding and darkening of the eye lens. Because it functions as the focusing agent in the eye, opacity of the lens can significantly impact the ability to see. Cataracts are typically classified in a number of ways, such as the age that they appear or their severity. These include congenital (present at birth), juvenile (present early in life) and senile (present later in life), while immature (covers most of lens), mature (covers the entire lens) and hypermature (dehydration of the cataract) define the severity of the condition.
Cataracts are one of the most common eye problems in dogs. However, it shouldn’t be confused with nuclear sclerosis, which is a hardening of the lens that normally occurs in aging dogs. When this happens, the eye turns a shade of blue similar to cataracts, but doesn’t affect the dog’s vision.
Healthy Pets explained that most dogs inherit cataracts through their gene pools, and they can develop at any age. The condition is more prevalent in purebred dogs than mixed breeds, with some breeds being increasingly susceptible to cataracts, such as Poodles, Siberian Huskies, Samoyeds and Labrador retrievers. If you suspect your pooch has cataracts, plan a visit to your veterinarian as soon as possible.
How to maintain eye health
The Whole Dog Journal suggested that while injuries and age can affect the prevalence of eye problems, inadequate nutrition may also be a factor. Cataracts may accompany immune disorders and chronic diseases such as diabetes, leading to the suggestion that the proper diet can stave off the development of cataracts.
The source explained that increasing your dog’s intake of omega-3 fatty acids can lower intraocular pressure and decrease symptoms of hypertension. Joining PetPlus grants pet parents access to Nordic Naturals Omega-3 Pet Soft Gels at a conveniently discounted price. The supplement is an excellent source of EPA and DHA, two of the most beneficial fatty acids that support optimal canine health.
The Pet Soft Gels are derived from wild anchovies and sardines from the South Pacific Ocean off the coast of Peru. Its small capsules are perfect for canine consumption and are easy to take with you on the go. Sign up for PetPlus today and keep your dog’s eye health in top shape.