Canine Juvenile Cataracts

Canine juvenile cataracts are a condition where an eye’s lens becomes opaque and causes vision impairments. This condition is most common in young dogs, although it can occur at any age. It’s usually caused by an inherited genetic defect or by an infection or trauma to their eye. Depending on the severity of their cataract, it might need to be surgically removed or can be managed with medications.

Symptoms of Canine Juvenile Cataracts

The most common symptom of juvenile cataracts is a cloudy or whitish appearance to their eye. This cloudiness is caused by the lens opacity, which prevents light from passing through it correctly. Other symptoms can include:

  • Excessive tearing
  • Eye redness or swelling

In some cases, vision loss will occur due to the cataract blocking light from entering their eye.

Diagnosing Canine Juvenile Cataracts

In order to diagnose juvenile cataracts, a veterinarian will need to do an eye exam. This can include dilating the pupil and using a special light to look inside their eye. It might also be necessary to take X-rays or other imaging tests in order to determine the extent of their cataract.

Stages of Canine Juvenile Cataracts

Stages of Canine Juvenile Cataracts:

Juvenile cataracts typically follow a three-stage progression.

Stage 1

The first stage is known as the initial phase, which is associated with a mild opacity to their eye’s lens. During this stage, some vision loss will be present, but it’s typically mild and can often be managed with medications or lifestyle changes.

Stage 2

The second stage is known as the intermediate phase, during this phase the cataract becomes more dense and vision loss increases. This type of cataract can often be managed with medication and lifestyle changes. If their vision impairments become too severe, surgery will be recommended to remove the cataract.

Stage 3

In the final stage of juvenile cataracts, known as the advanced phase, the cataract becomes very dense and vision loss is severe. At this stage, surgery is typically recommended in order to restore sight.

Treating Canine Juvenile Cataracts

Treating juvenile cataracts depends on the severity of their condition. In mild cases, it can be managed with medications, lifestyle changes, and regular eye exams. In moderate to severe cases, surgery might be necessary to remove the cataract in order to restore vision. 

During surgery, an artificial lens is inserted to replace the damaged lens. Recovery from surgery usually takes several weeks and regular follow-up visits are necessary in order to monitor the healing process.

Preventing Canine Juvenile Cataracts

The best way to prevent juvenile cataracts is to get a puppy from a reputable breeder who offers genetic testing for known eye conditions.

It’s important to have regular veterinary care and keep up with vaccinations and parasite prevention. If your pet has an existing eye condition, it’s important to follow the treatment plan recommended by your veterinarian.