Once cataracts begin to develop in the eye, they are painless and won’t cause physical discomfort to your dog. Nonetheless, early diagnosis by a veterinarian is key to preserving vision and ensuring overall eye health. Watch out for these symptoms of cataracts in dogs:
Changes in the eye
One of the sure-most signs of cataracts is the signature cloudy pupil. A blue, grey, or white colored haze can cover one or both eyes partially or completely. This cloudiness may appear gradually or seemingly overnight. The eye may also show signs of swelling, redness, and inflammation. The surface of the pupil can take on a crackled, uneven look. Any of these changes in the eye indicate a serious problem, and should be checked out by a veterinarian. Cloudiness in the pupil can also indicate glaucoma or nuclear sclerosis, and a vet or veterinary optometrist will be able to detect the underlying causes.
Signs of impaired vision
Dogs with cataracts will display signs of sight loss. As cataracts develop and disrupt vision, your dog will have trouble navigating. You may notice that your dog bumps into things, trips, walks into walls, hesitates when walking, misjudges distances, or walks with a high step. Some dogs have difficulty recognizing people as well.
Vision loss associated with cataracts may also show up in unusual behavior by your pet. Some dogs may experience dizziness, which can manifest in vomiting or whining. Other pets will increase their intake of water and urinate more frequently if diabetes is an underlying cause. Dogs with cataracts sometimes pace the floor or appear restless. Other dogs will move around less, or slow down significantly.
Many of these symptoms can also flag other eye issues or illnesses. If you notice changes in your dog’s eye or behavior, be sure to contact your veterinarian and set up an appointment. Untreated cataracts can lead to glaucoma, blindness, and other eye issues, so early intervention is key.