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Senior Pets With Cataracts

Posted Jan 04 2010 5:20pm
Just as senior citizens experience a progressive decline in visual acuity, so do our four-legged friends.

Approximately 40% of the 130 million pets in this country have some type of eye disorder. As pets age, their eyesight often deteriorates, leading to impaired vision. As you might suspect, the majority of vision-related ailments occur in senior pets. When signs of visual impairment become apparent in your pet, the culprit is usually a cataract. According to a report from the American Pet Products Association, cataracts afflict over 12 million U.S. pets. A cataract, which appears as a slight clouding of the lens or surrounding capsule, can occur in one or both eyes. This condition, if left untreated, will initially cause blurry vision and eventually total vision loss. While cataracts can afflict the eyes of both dogs and cats, the problem tends to be more prevalent in canines.

Historically, cataracts have required extensive surgery, which can cost in the thousands of dollars. What’s even costlier from an emotional perspective is the stress of putting a pet through surgery, as well as the recovery time and treatment involved. In fact, many pets suffer from post-surgical side effects ranging from infection, pain and swelling to total blindness. Some additional risk factors to consider include:
• Scar Tissue. Development of scar tissue from the surgical procedure can limit your pet’s eyesight.
• Glaucoma. Post-operative statistics suggest that this condition can occur in almost 30 percent of dogs that had cataract surgery within 6-18 months. Glaucoma can lead to pain, additional surgeries and even vision loss.

There are many types of treatment available. If you suspect your pet is having eye problems, consult your vet for the best type of treatment.
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