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What You Need To Know About Cataract Surgery For Dogs

What You Need To Know About Cataract Surgery For Dogs

Cataracts are a usual eye problem found in many dogs, which can cause blurry eyesight and even loss of vision if not treated. However, surgery can usually help to restore a pet's eyesight. Our vets in Poway will provide further information about dog cataract surgery. 

Dog Cataracts

Your dog's eyes have a lens that helps to focus their vision, like a camera. When this lens becomes cloudy or opaque, it's called a cataract. This can make it difficult for your dog to see clearly because the cloudy lens interferes with the clear image being focused on their retina.

Treating Cataracts in Dogs

Dogs with cataracts can often have surgery to replace the cloudy lens with an artificial one. However, not all dogs with cataracts can have this surgery, especially if they have other eye problems like retinal detachment or inflammation.

To prevent cataracts from getting worse, take your dog to the vet for regular check-ups, and if surgery is necessary, the sooner it's done, the better.

If surgery isn't an option, don't worry, your dog can still have a happy life and adapt to blindness with practice. 

Cost of Cataract Surgery in Dogs

The cost of cataract surgery for your dog depends on a few things, like their health and the serious problem. It would be best if you talked to your vet to know how much it will cost. They can give you a detailed breakdown of the expenses and let you know if your dog is suitable for the surgery. 

Dog Cataract Surgery Process

When taking your dog to the vet for surgery, the process may vary by hospital, but typically you will need to drop your dog off either the morning of the surgery or the night before. If your dog has diabetes, special care may be needed, but your vet will give you detailed instructions on how to feed and care for your dog before surgery. It's important to follow your vet's instructions carefully to ensure the best possible outcome for your dog.

Pre-Surgery Testing

  • Before cataract surgery, your dog will be given sedatives and undergo an ultrasound to check for any eye problems like retinal detachment or lens bursting. An electroretinogram (ERG) will also be conducted to ensure that your dog's retina is functioning correctly. If any unexpected issues arise during these tests, your dog may not be eligible for the surgery.

Surgical Procedure

  • During cataract surgery for dogs, the operation will be performed while the dog is under general anesthesia. A muscle relaxant will be given to help the eye stay in the correct position. The cataract removal technique is called phacoemulsification, where an ultrasonic device is used to break up and take out the cloudy lens from the dog's eye. This procedure is also done in humans. After the removal of the lens with the cataract, a synthetic lens implant called an intraocular lens (IOL) can be inserted into the eye to allow clear focusing of images onto the retina.


  • Usually, the vet performing your dog's ocular surgery will recommend that your dog stay overnight for monitoring, following cataract surgery. Intensive at-home aftercare will be required following surgery, including several types of eye drops, multiple times daily.

Dog Cataract Surgery Success Rate

Many pet owners wonder if their dog will still be able to see after cataract surgery. The good news is that most dogs will have some vision restored by the next day after surgery, but it may take a few weeks for their vision to fully adjust to the effects of the surgery and the new artificial lens.

As long as the rest of the eye is healthy, cataract surgery is usually very successful in dogs, with about 95% of them regaining their vision right after the surgery.

However, the long-term prognosis can vary, with about 90% of dogs maintaining their vision one year after surgery and 80% after two years.

To ensure the best outcomes for your dog, it's essential to provide good post-operative care and regular visits to the vet for eye examinations and monitoring throughout their life.

Risks Associated with Cataract Surgery for Dogs

There is always a chance of something going wrong whenever pets or people undergo surgery. Although complications from cataract surgery in dogs are rare, veterinarians have reported seeing corneal ulcers and increased pressure in the eye as potential risks.

Therefore, it's important to take your dog for a follow-up appointment with the veterinarian after cataract surgery to help prevent any issues from arising.

Recovery After Dog Cataract Surgery

After cataract surgery, your dog needs two weeks to recover. During this time, you should make sure that your dog always wears an E-collar and only goes on leash walks. You also need to give your dog eye drops and oral medication as prescribed by your vet. It's important to follow the vet's instructions to ensure your dog's vision is fully restored.

At the follow-up appointment, the vet will determine if medication needs to continue permanently.

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 starting to develop cataracts? Contact our experienced Poway vets today to book an examination for your dog, or to learn more about surgical services at Advanced Care Veterinary Hospital.

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Advanced Care Veterinary Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Poway companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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