Cataracts in Pets

A cataract is a clouding of the lens of the eye that interferes with the normal lens function. Cataracts are often age related. Injury, infections, toxins, congenital or inherited abnormalities, and several diseases (including diabetes) can cause cataract formation as well.

Cataract Symptoms

Signs of cataracts can range from small, faint spots to total and profound clouding of the entire lens. Cataracts (especially when age related) often become progressively worse over time. In severe cases, little or no light can pass to the back of the eye, resulting in blindness.

Diagnosing Cataracts

Diagnosis is based on examination findings that include a clouded appearance or "milky" flecks or lines in the normally clear eye lens. A complete eye examination is important to access the lens and health of the eye and its surrounding tissues. Laboratory tests may be necessary to check for underlying infection or disease.

Removing a Cataract & Treatment

Surgical removal is the only reliable treatment for serious cataract formation. Any underlying problems such as injury, infection, or systemic disease must also be addressed. Surgery is considered in cases where the rest of the eye is normal, no serious underlying disease is present, and the possibility to restore adequate sight is high. Some owners choose not to pursue cataract surgery. If cared for properly, a visually impaired pet can remain an active part of the family and have a good quality of life.

Important Points

  • Please use all medications as prescribed by your veterinarian.
  • Discuss expected outcome and treatment options with your veterinarian.
  • Monitor your pet's eyes and overall health carefully. Have him/her rechecked if you have any concerns.
  • If your pet has any loss of vision, be sure he/she is kept in a safe, secure environment at all times. Visually impaired pets are at greater risk of becoming lost or injured.


If you have questions about this or any medical topic, please contact your Banfield hospital today.