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Canine Cataracts

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  • Canine Cataracts

    Can anyone give me some info about cataracts? A sweet elderly client was in recently and said she'd been to the eye specialist with her little (5 yr.old) toy poodle. The dog clearly has cataracts. She was quoted $3000.for the surgery on one eye.

    I don't question the Dr.,he has a good reputation. I don't question the price, it is a specialist doing his work. My concern is this little lady would be putting the amount on her credit card, as she doesn't have other resources. So here is the Q: can the cataract return? How effective is the surgery? One eye is worse than theother so he would only do one for now.

    I've never had a dog of my own nor a clients dog go thru the surgery. I appreciate your input. The cataracts came on rather quickly.


  • #2
    Bud had the surgery. Perhaps he didn't do as well as some because his were very early onset juvenile cataracts, and he is not the brightest boy in the bunch. The vet thought he may have been blind virtually since birth. In any case, his were at least that expensive and he did see, but he actually was scared of sight. Can it make their life better, yes, but it also requires daily vigilance with eye drops for the rest of their lives. It can become complicated and bring about other issues like glaucoma, especially if an owner does not stay on top of eye pressures and/or drops. So I guess if she really wants to do it, she certainly can and good on her. If I had to do it again, I am not sure I would. It has been a little over a year, and were not sure if he still sees (which is one possible complication). Basically he had three to four months of verifiable sight. Two of which he was terrified. He was very painful after the surgery, and him being borderline autistic, does not normally show pain. If you have ever seen a dog after ACL surgery, multiply times 20. I guess, in my opinion, blind dogs can live an excellent life. If it is inhibiting the dogs quality of life, if the owner can afford it and if there is no greater need go for it. If she is limited, the dog is fine etc, dont


    • #3
      I don't know a whole lot about the surgery. But a co-worker of mine is trying these new eye drops. She got them from her vet, and has been using them for a month or so and she said that she has seen a little improvement. I'm not sure what the drops are called, but maybe your client can ask her vet.


      • #4
        I have a client that had this done in FL. SHe was told it WOULD NOT come back and my hubby who had surgery in both eyes for it as well was told the same thing.

        That will help you out. My grandfather had the clouding of the replacement lens, but it is supposedly uncommon.
        <a href="" target="_blank">My Blog</a> The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why. –Mark Twain


        • #5
          The only thing I can suggest is this:

          If the lady has good credit she may qualify for a Care Credit card some vets have and the interest could be 0 for six months if that would help. I'd only do one eye. Or maybe she could set up a payment with a plan that could help her.


          • #6
            Poodles do have a genetic predisposition for early cataract's. I have a client with a bich-poo that is 4 and he just developed then seemingly over night in both eyes. They can't afford to have them fixed, so I understand your feelings.

            I dont' think (could be wrong) they will come back, as the lens is replaced by an artificial lens, thus eliminating the ability for it to reoccur. Again, I could be wrong and I'm sure if I am, some one will correct me.


            • #7
              This is why you should buy (if you buy ) dogs from serious breeders who test their dogs, In such cases the breeder will usually return your money to assitt with the care...

              So many goo points have been made, like the life time of after care. Hard choices, Dogs do do well blind.


              • #8
                A few years ago I looked into it for our cocker. I was pregnant and she went blind in one eye with a very aggressive and rapid forming cataract. They wanted $1500 per eye and that was about 6 years ago.
                What a caterpillar considers the end of his world, we call a butterfly.


                • #9
                  I think bud has fake lenses, and I have not seen the actual cataracts come back. He is rather disconnected from the world anyhow, so his lack of apparent vision may well be brain connections, not eye connections (it seems like he can see every seventh slightly sunny friday). He was from a terrible back yard puppy mill groomer breeder in NC. The fact that he is a nice dog, with good coat and great temperament speaks wonders. Most of her dogs were head cases (many owner destroyed in young adulthood) with bad coat. Long story how I got him, but needless to say the surgery did offer him some relief, but it seems like a long hard recovery for how well he sees (or doesn't see). I loved the vet who did the surgery, he is great, and bud has good eye pressures which is great, regardless this surgery requires a lot of commitment.


                  • #10
                    Not sure where to start. There is just so much wrong about this. First off, as someone else said, dogs do quite well with reduced or no vision. In fact, it probably has already adapted to the vision loss and is not suffering. We have to stop projecting our human emotions on our pets. So I would consider the surgery not necessary. The vet should have explained this to the client. If indeed the vet has any kind of ethics, he should consider how this espence would be a hardship on the pet owner. The idea of an elderly person placing this on a credit card boggles the mind. It brings to mind the millions of people that are struggling with debt due to making expenditures that they "thought" they really needed but actually only wanted. Here we are in the "great recession", with average folks like you and me wondering how they're going to feed their family and keep a roof over their head. So, what if this lady could afford the surgery? Does that make it the right thing to do? I feel strongly that we should all give careful thought to the impact we make on the world, the environment, our neighbors, our less fortunate.


                    • #11
                      The cataracts can't reoccur, as the lens is "broken up and sucked out"...for lack of a better description.

                      "Artificial lens" was an option, but I opted against at the time (12 years ago) for my dog.

                      My Cocker had both eyes done at the age of 8 (but damn-it, that dog NEVER had an ear infection, lol!)
                      She did have some vision restored for about a year, but then glaucoma set in, and one eye was removed, and she never had vision out of the other one....but pressures were controlled w/ beta-blocking drops, and pred-acetate (as I recall).

                      The whole ordeal set me back 4 Grand, and I'm not convinced I would ever do it again.
                      Not sure what I would do differently, but it was say the least.

                      My Cocker lived to be 18 yrs. old, and did just fine, totally blind,....but still....very happy.

                      Best case scenario...she finds that the dog does just fine w/ only one eye done, if the pressures don't build up in the second eye.
                      Hopefully the price includes the test to check the integrity of the retina(s) in your clients lil Poo.
                      Often it's not what you say, but how you say it.


                      • #12
                        Ali I disagree. My oldest poodle developed cataracts very late in life. 12 to be precise. Her eyes CERFD until 8, so she was permanently clear. She developed cataracts in both eyes in about 2 months time and was totally blind. She is NOT doing well. SHe is NOT happy. I am struggling with a decision I do not want to make. She is not a candidate for surgery since she is so old but if she was I WOULD do it. Not all dogs do well. I would do it in a heartbeat if it would help......

                        Also, you cannot prevent the onset of cataracts through testing. As in my dogs case she was old and clear up until then. She was bred with the understanding she was clear. Not so apparently. You can minimize the occurance, but not eliminate it. Sometimes its just the two dogs together that create that problem....

                        Juvenile catarcts is also sometimes caused by injury, illness and of course genetics. Clear eye tests are no guarantee.
                        <a href="" target="_blank">My Blog</a> The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why. –Mark Twain


                        • #13
                          Thanks to all who have replied,you have confirmed my thoughts thus far.

                          I have known quite a few dogs that were partially to completely blind, all did very well in their controlled environments. (don't move the furniture!) I did express this to the owner , tho' I'm not sure how she received it. I felt like she may have thought I was talking about not caring enough for the dog. I'm confident she would do anything to "properly" care for the dog. Personally, I do not think it is a good idea to use credit for these reasons.



                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Ali Kat View Post
                            We have to stop projecting our human emotions on our pets.
                            Well, my initial no I don't. My pets experience pain, and I know how pain feels.
                            My pets experience happiness, goofiness, even moments of pure glee...and I can identify w/ those moments, my pets experience depression to some extent, and loss, so I will continue to recognize those "emotions" in them as well.

                            What some people refer to as "projecting human emotions' I simply refer to as being aware, sensitive, responsive, supportive, and occasionally pro-active when the situation warrants.

                            Now that I got that off my chest...I reread all the current posts, and failed to see where anyone was projecting human emotion on a pet.

                            And....I think it would be terribly remiss of any veterinarian NOT to point out all available options to an owner when a pet has a situation that can be dealt with from several different angles.
                            I may not like the options, or be able to afford them. or even feel they are applicable to the specific pet....but I sure would be pissed if I found out the vet decided FOR me that I couldn't afford a certain avenue of therefore never informed me of it.
                            Often it's not what you say, but how you say it.


                            • #15
                              At the time, when Tawney went blind in the one eye and became mostly blind in the other, I was pregnant with our first child and Tawney had never been great with toddlers. My concern was a blind dog would be more opt to bite a child. I think there are many very good reasons to have this surgery done and it cannot be judged a black or white situation by one person.
                              What a caterpillar considers the end of his world, we call a butterfly.