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Cataract Surgery in Dogs

Cataract Surgery in Dogs

Dog cataracts are a common eye condition that can cause blurry vision and lead to blindness. However, dog cataract surgery can often restore vision. Our veterinarians in Murfreesboro  will discuss what you can expect if your dog requires this surgery. 

What are cataracts in dogs?

Dogs have lenses in their eyes, similar to those in a camera, that assist in focusing and improving vision. Cataracts occur when the lens becomes cloudy or opaque, preventing a clear image from reaching the retina and impairing your dog's vision. 

How can cataracts in dogs be treated?

Frequently, cataracts can be removed through surgery and replaced with an artificial lens in dogs. However, not all dogs with cataracts are suitable candidates for this procedure. Cataract surgery may not be recommended for dogs with pre-existing conditions such as retinal detachment, retinal degeneration, glaucoma, or severe eye inflammation. 

Early detection of cataracts is critical for preserving your dog's vision. During routine twice-yearly wellness exams, your veterinarian can check your dog's eyes for signs of developing cataracts and recommend treatment before they become more serious.

The sooner a dog diagnosed with cataracts and deemed a good candidate for surgery can undergo surgery, the better their long-term outcome. If your dog is not eligible for surgery, rest assured that they can still have an excellent quality of life despite being blind.

With practice, your dog will quickly adapt and use their other senses to navigate their home environment. 

If you're wondering how much cataract surgery is for dogs, please contact our office and come for a visit to get an estimate.

What is cataract surgery for dogs process?

Veterinary hospitals handle things differently, but generally, you drop your dog off the night before or the morning of surgery. While diabetic dogs require special attention, your vet will always provide detailed feeding and care instructions prior to surgery. Obey your veterinarian's advice.

Pre-Surgery Testing

  • Your dog will be sedated, and an ultrasound will be performed prior to surgery to rule out any complications like retinal detachment or lens rupture (bursting). An electroretinogram (ERG) will also be performed to ensure your dog's retina is in good working order. Unfortunately, if these tests reveal any unexpected issues, your dog may not be a candidate for cataract surgery.

Surgical Procedure

  • Cataract surgery requires a general anesthetic. A muscle relaxant will also be administered to assist your dog's eye in sitting properly for the surgery. Phacoemulsification is used to remove cataracts in dogs. This procedure, like human cataract surgery, uses ultrasonic waves to break up and remove the cloudy lens from the dog's eye. Following the removal of the cataract, an intraocular lens (IOL) can be implanted in the eye to focus images clearly onto the retina.


  • Typically, the veterinarian performing your dog's ocular surgery will recommend that your dog stay overnight for monitoring following cataract surgery. Following surgery, intensive at-home aftercare will be required, including the repeated use of multiple types of eye drops.

Will my dog be able to see after cataract surgery?

Dogs who undergo cataract surgery typically regain some vision the day after the procedure, but it can take a few weeks for the eye to adjust to the surgery and artificial lens fully. This surgery is highly effective for dogs with a healthy eye. 

Approximately 95% of dogs regain vision after surgery. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, 90 percent of dogs with cataract surgery retain vision after one year and 80 percent after two years. Good post-operative care and regular eye exams and monitoring by your veterinarian are critical to long-term success.

Are there risks with cataract surgery for dogs?

As with any surgical procedure, there are risks involved. Although uncommon, corneal ulcers and pressure elevations within the eye are possible cataract surgery complications in dogs. It's important to schedule a follow-up exam with your veterinary surgeon to prevent complications. 

What is a dog's cataract surgery recovery time?

Dogs require about two weeks to recover after cataract surgery. During that time, your dog must wear an E-collar (cone) at all times and can only go on leash walks. You will need to give your dog eye drops and oral medications during this time. Following your veterinarian's advice is critical for your dog's vision.

After the two-week follow-up appointment, your dog's medication may be reduced, but some dogs may require medication indefinitely. 

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Is your dog suffering from cataracts? To schedule an examination for your dog, contact our Murfreesboro veterinarians.

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