Keria will be 11 years old next month. It’s bound to happen with an older dog although I don’t think of Keira as being a senior. But, I notice a few subtle changes in her eyesight. She’s having a bit of difficulty seeing at night – bumping into furniture -even though the furniture been in the same place for years. Along with the rest of her fluffy self, she now has aging dog eyes. When I look in her eyes, I see a slight graying | cloudiness through her lens. Thinking Keira has cataracts I had her checked out. Thankfully, not cataracts, but she does have Nuclear Sclerosis.
Nuclear Sclerosis or Aging Dog Eyes
I learned quickly that nuclear sclerosis usually affects both eyes at the same time. Typically, subtle changes occur in pets starting at the age of 6 years. The lens becomes solid and thick, which makes the light going to the lens appear to disperse and gives the traditional film of nuclear sclerosis.
Nuclear Sclerosis is part of the typical aging process. That was comforting to know but still a gut check that my Keira girl is a senior. Happily, it’s not painful, and there is no treatment. My vet plans to monitor Keria with her regular 6-month checkup. I’m forever grateful that Keira was not diagnosed with cataracts because it’s a lot more serious.
Did You Know?
Cataracts are the most common eye disorder in dogs. There are many different types and causes of cataracts, but diabetes is the most common reason. Even though cataracts is relatively common, there is still a lot to learn about this disorder. Interesting, the treatment option is sometimes surgery so it’s worthwhile to know the characteristics of aging dog eyes.
What Are Cataracts?
Cataracts are a breakdown of the lens and look like white crushed ice in the eye. No matter what type of cataract the change in the eye is the same. In a perfect state, the lens is 66% water and 33% protein.
The lens contains a sodium water pump system that keeps this water | protein balance in the eye. When the biomechanical system in the lens is damaged, this pump system begins to fail, and extra water moves into the lens which increases the protein.
Giving a dog sight is one of the most enjoyable aspects of being a veterinary ophthalmologist. For a blind dog to be able to see again, play with toys and live life as a dog is incredibly impactful. But, cataract surgery is not a life-saving operation, it is a quality of life surgery.
Once cataracts appear there are nutritional supplements that improve lens health by administering antioxidants to the eye. Free radicals are once again rearing their ugly head, and these antioxidants are to the rescue. Improving your dog’s diet with antioxidants may also lower ocular inflammation following surgery.
If your senior pet needed cataract surgery would you decide to have the surgery? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Also, please share this post if you think it would help another pet owner.