When you think of cataracts, you may consider them to be an eye condition for humans alone. However, animals are prone to cataracts as well. With June being Cataract Awareness Month, here’s some basic information about cataracts in cats and dogs.

animal cataracts

While the lens of the eye is normally clear, cataracts cloud the lens, causing vision to become foggy and blurry. If not immediately attended to, the lens may become opaque, and cataracts may lead to permanent blindness.

Causes

Genetics figure heavily into an animal’s propensity to develop cataracts. Injury to the eye, old age, and disease (such as diabetes) can also make animals more susceptible to cataracts.

Symptoms of cataracts in animals

As a pet owner, it is important to know the symptoms of cataracts so you can intervene early should they develop. Some small cataracts may not disturb your pet’s vision, so treatment may not be necessary. For more significant cataracts, watch for these scenarios to know when to consult a veterinarian:

  1. Your pet develops a white, gray or bluish colored cloudiness in the eye.
  2. Your pet frequently scratches its eye.
  3. Your pet’s eye seems irritated (reddening, discharge, or excessive blinking).
  4. Your pet becomes clumsy, runs into things more than usual, or grows uneasy about climbing from one surface to the next (ex: climbing stairs).

If you notice these symptoms in your cat or dog, visit your vet right away to keep your pet’s vision healthy!