Cataract Surgery in Chantilly, VA
Cataracts can result in blurred vision and eventual blindness for dogs, but surgery can help to restore sight in many cases. Here our Nova Pets Health Center's vets share a little about cataract surgery for dogs, and what you can expect when your dog goes in to have cataract surgery.
What are cataracts?
Within each of your dog’s eyes there is a lens, much like the lens of a camera. This lens works to focus your pet's vision in order to provide clear sight. A cataract is an opacification or cloudiness that can occur on all or part of the lens, which interferes with a clear image being focused on the retina, and hampers your dog's ability to see clearly.
What is the treatment for cataracts in dogs?
In many cases, cataracts in dogs can be surgically removed and replaced with an artificial lens. Unfortunately however, not all dogs with cataracts are suitable candidates for this surgery. If your dog has a pre-existing retinal detachment, retinal degeneration, glaucoma, or severe inflammation of the eyes, cataract surgery may not be an option for your pooch.
When it comes to saving your dog's vision, early diagnosis of conditions such as cataracts is important. Regular twice-yearly wellness exams give your vet the opportunity to check your dog's eyes for signs of developing cataracts and recommend treatment before they become more serious.
If your pup has been diagnosed with cataracts and is a good candidate for surgery, the sooner the surgery can be performed, the better the long-term outcome for your pet is likely to be.
Will my dog be able to see after cataract surgery?
Many dogs will have some vision restored by the very next day, but typically it will take a few weeks for vision to settle as the eye adjusts to the effect of surgery and the presence of the artificial lens. Provided that the rest of the eye is in good working order, cataract surgery in dogs is considered a very successful treatment with a high rate of positive outcomes.
Approximately 95% of dogs regain vision as soon as they recover from the surgery. Your Nova Pets vet will be able to give you a long-term prognosis for your dog however generally speaking, maintaining vision after surgery is about 90% at 1 year, and 80% at 2 years post-operatively. The key to successful long-term outcomes is good post-operative care and regular visits to the veterinarian for eye examinations and monitoring, following surgery and through your dog's life.
Are there risks with cataract surgery for dogs?
All surgical procedures with pets or people come with some level of risk. Complications stemming from cataract surgery in dogs is rare, but some complications seen by veterinary ophthalmologists following cataract surgery are corneal ulcers and pressure elevations within the eye. Taking your dog for their follow-up exam with the veterinary surgeon is essential for helping to prevent issues from developing after the surgery.
How long will it take for my dog to recover from cataract surgery?
The initial healing period following cataract surgery in dogs is approximately 2 weeks. Throughout that period, your dog will need to wear an E-collar (cone) at all times and have their activity restricted to leash walks only. You will also need to administer a number of medications to your dog during this time, including eye drops and oral medications. Carefully following your vet's instructions is essential for achieving a good outcome for your dog's vision.
Depending on the results of the 2 week follow-up appointment, your dog's medications may be reduced, however some dogs will need to remain on medication permanently.
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