Our beloved canine friends often turn a little silver around the muzzle as they get older, but many owners notice their eyes going cloudy or white as well. Are they cataracts, or something else, and what can we do about them?
Two commonly occurring conditions of the canine eye are cataracts and nuclear sclerosis. Both these conditions look very similar, but have vastly different outcomes for your dog. Cataracts cause blindness and can cause pain, while nuclear sclerosis rarely causes any issue with a dog’s quality of life.
Nuclear sclerosis is a normal, old age change to the fibres of the lens. Affected dogs can still see and most will have no effect on their quality of life. It is possible for affected dogs to have other conditions of the retina that affect sight, but nuclear sclerosis on its own does not cause blindness in dogs.
Cataracts often do cause treatable blindness in dogs, and can be a source of ocular pain. Cataracts may be removed surgically to restore sight and comfort. Cataracts may be more common in dogs with other medical conditions, such as diabetes melitus.
It is important to know which of these conditions are affecting your dogs eyes, as one can cause pain and blindness while the other is benign. Book a consult with one of our veterinarians to examine your pet and discuss any concerns you might have.