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Cataract Surgery in Dogs

Cataract Surgery in Dogs

Canine cataracts are a prevalent eye condition in dogs that may cause blurred vision and eventual blindness. However, vision can be restored by undergoing surgery. Our North Providence vets will guide you through the process of canine cataract surgery if your furry friend requires it.

What are cataracts in dogs?

Each of your dog's eyes has a lens similar to that of a camera. This lens aids in focusing your dog's vision for improved vision. A cataract is a cloudiness or opacification of the lens that prevents a clear image from being focused on the retina, thereby impairing your dog's vision.

How can cataracts in dogs be treated?

Surgical removal of cataracts and replacement with an artificial lens is a common treatment for dogs, but not all dogs with cataracts are eligible for this procedure.

Dogs with pre-existing conditions such as retinal detachment, retinal degeneration, glaucoma, or severe eye inflammation may not be suitable candidates for cataract surgery.

It is essential to detect cataracts at an early stage during routine bi-annual wellness checkups with your veterinarian to preserve your dog's vision. If a dog with cataracts is a good candidate for surgery, the sooner they undergo the operation, the better their long-term outcome. However, if surgery is not an option, rest assured that your dog can still have an excellent quality of life despite blindness.

With some practice, they will adapt and navigate their home using their other senses. If you have any questions about the cost of cataract surgery for dogs, feel free to contact our office and schedule a visit for an estimate.

What is cataract surgery for dogs process?

When it comes to veterinary hospitals, the procedures may vary, but typically, you will need to leave your dog overnight or early in the morning before the scheduled surgery. If your dog has diabetes, special care is necessary, but your veterinarian will furnish you with comprehensive instructions on feeding and caring for your pet before the surgery. It is important to follow your vet's guidance.

Pre-Surgery Testing

  • Your dog will be sedated and an ultrasound will be performed prior to surgery to rule out any complications like retinal detachment or lens rupture (bursting). An electroretinogram (ERG) will also be performed to ensure that your dog's retina is in good working order. Unfortunately, if these tests reveal any unexpected issues, your dog may not be a candidate for cataract surgery.

Surgical Procedure

  • Cataract surgery requires a general anesthetic. A muscle relaxant will also be administered to assist your dog's eye in sitting properly for the surgery. Phacoemulsification is used to remove cataracts in dogs. This procedure, like human cataract surgery, uses ultrasonic waves to break up and remove the cloudy lens from the dog's eye. Following the removal of the cataract, an intraocular lens (IOL) can be implanted in the eye to focus images clearly onto the retina.


  • Typically, the veterinarian performing your dog's ocular surgery will recommend that your dog stay overnight for monitoring following cataract surgery. Following surgery, intensive at-home aftercare will be required, including the repeated use of multiple types of eye drops.

Will my dog be able to see after cataract surgery?

After cataract surgery, dogs may regain some vision immediately, but it can take a few weeks for the eye to fully adjust to the artificial lens.

This surgery is a highly effective treatment as long as the rest of the eye is healthy. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, approximately 95% of dogs regain their vision after surgery.

Additionally, 90% of dogs retain their vision after one year and 80% after two years. It is crucial to provide good post-operative care, as well as regular eye exams and monitoring by a veterinarian to ensure long-term success.

Are there risks with cataract surgery for dogs?

Whenever pets or humans undergo surgical procedures, there is always a level of risk involved. Although occurrences of corneal ulcers and pressure elevations within the eye are rare complications of cataract surgery in dogs, cases have been reported by veterinarians. It is crucial to schedule a follow-up appointment with the veterinary surgeon after the surgery to prevent any potential complications.

What is a dog's cataract surgery recovery time?

After undergoing cataract surgery, dogs require approximately two weeks to fully recuperate. During this period, your furry companion would have to wear an E-collar (cone) at all times and refrain from off-leash walks. You would also have to administer eye drops and oral medications to your dog as prescribed by the veterinarian.

It is crucial to adhere to your veterinarian's instructions to ensure your dog's vision is adequately restored. Depending on the outcome of the 2-week follow-up appointment, your dog's medication may be reduced, but some dogs may need to continue taking medication for an indefinite period.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Is your dog suffering from cataracts? To schedule an examination for your dog, contact our North Providence veterinarians.

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