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There are a number of options when it comes to naturally treating cataracts in your dog’s eyes. But firstly, what are cataracts? When talking about cataracts we are referring to a cloudiness of the eye lens, which affects a dog’s vision. The condition is often inherited, but it is particularly common in older dogs, certain breeds, and dogs with diabetes. Natural cataract remedies can be administered at home, with the goal to slow down the progression of cataracts or actually reverse the progression altogether. It is a treatment option many dog owners try, usually during the primary stages of cataract progression.
Natural cataract remedies involve the administration of supplementary vitamins and antioxidants, which can be administered at home by the owner.
Vitamin C is used for its properties that aid in improving vision. The following dose should be administered:
Vitamin A is used because it acts like a shield, protecting the integrity of the epithelium (which covers the eyeball). It should be administered in the following dose:
Vitamin E works to remedy the oxidative damage of tissue that comes with aging.
Coenzyme Q10 is a potent antioxidant that can stop the progression of cataracts and sometimes even reverse their effects. It works to strengthen and protect the eyes. It should be administered in the following dose:
All doses for both vitamins and Coenzyme Q10 can be split between the dog’s morning and evening meals.
It is important to note, supplementation is not an invasive surgical treatment, so instant results are unlikely. There is growing support for the use of natural cataract remedies because they can be an effective treatment method and are certainly effective in slowing down the progression of cataracts. There has also been success to some extent in reversing the cataract progression. If the cataracts are reversed then the treatment will have a lasting effect. However, usually these natural remedies do not have a permanent effect.
There is also the option of surgery to treat cataracts. The vet will remove the cloudy lens under general anaesthetic. Whilst it can be effective, if the cataracts are advanced it is difficult for surgery to remedy them. Also, surgery brings with it the risk of scarring and inflammation which can diminish the dog’s vision, as well as a host of complications that can come from surgery and anaesthetics. On top of that, the surgical option is extremely expensive.
The time for these natural remedies to show signs of improvement varies case by case. It depends on the age of the dog and how far the cataracts have progressed. Some owners can see signs of improvement in just a few weeks, with others it will take months. It is hard to measure their success because they may slow the progression, but we are unable to know how much further the cataracts would have progressed without the treatment.
Because these remedies are natural and do not require invasive surgery, there is no aftercare or support needed. The dog may need to go the vet’s to assess the progression of cataracts but not because of any risks associated with the natural remedies. The only ongoing maintenance needed is to continue to use the vitamins and supplements.
As the natural remedies do not require surgery or numerous vet visits, they are significantly less expensive than surgical options. Depending on the size of the dog, all three vitamins could cost less than $10 a week and cost up to $20. A box or pack of Coenzyme Q10 can be bought for just $10. The alternative surgical option is extremely costly. It could cost anywhere between $1,500 to $3,500 per eye, depending on the individual case, the experience of the vet, and other variables. Whilst surgery can be effective, it is the vastly more expensive option.
The main selling point of the natural cataract remedies is that they come with extremely low risks. Supplements are safe for your dog and as long as they are not taken excessively, will only have a positive impact on your dog’s health. The only risk is that the treatment may not be as effective as surgery, but surgery comes with a much higher risk of complications. There are no short term or long term implications to be wary of, but there is a chance they are not as effective as one would hope and the dog’s cataracts progress quicker than expected.
Unfortunately, cataracts are often inherited or come with age so preventing them is a challenge. However, there are certain steps owners can take to prevent their progression. An owner can regularly check for cloudiness and take the dog to the vet if any appears. Catching signs early gives vets and owners the best chance to stay ahead of the condition.
Cataracts can develop as a result of diabetes, so keeping your dog at a healthy weight is essential. Feed them a healthy, balanced diet and supplement as recommended by your vet. Also, walk your dog regularly, this has the added bonus of ensuring both owner and dog get regular exercise.
It is also worth keeping vaccinations to a minimum. Research has shown some cataracts develop from drug-related systemic toxicosis, which can be caused by over-vaccination. Discuss the most appropriate vaccinations with your vet.
All of these measures can be somewhat effective in preventing cataracts developing, but unfortunately, they are usually impossible to prevent entirely. These proactive measures can delay their development and could give your dog better quality of vision for longer.
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