Dog Cataract Surgery: What To Expect And How Much
If your canine companion has developed cataracts, you may be researching the options available to your furry friend.
Cataracts can deeply impact your dog’s vision, causing many dog owners to pursue dog cataract surgery to restore their pup’s sight.
So what are the details of cataract surgery in dogs, and what is the standard cost of the procedure?
In this article we will discuss the details of cataracts in dogs, and help you understand the steps of dog cataract surgery.
What Are Cataracts?
While most pet parents can recognize cataracts in their furry friends, they may not understand exactly what they are and why they occur.
Cataracts are a cloudy film that develops within the lens of a dog’s eye, ranging in size from a small spot to covering the entire lens.
This cloudiness of the lens blocks images from making their way to the retina, leading to severe vision impairment as their cataracts progress.
While some pups may be able to see changes in light, everything else may be difficult to make out.
Cataracts in dogs can deeply impact your pup’s life, leading to near blindness eventually if they are not corrected.
Cataracts are most common in our older canine friends, but they can develop as a result of genetics or medical conditions.
Cataracts can be congenital, a result of chronic eye conditions, a side effect of diabetes, or even develop after trauma to the eye.
While cataracts in old dogs are more common, they can occur at any age.
How Do You Treat Cataracts In Dogs?
The only way to treat your dog’s cataracts is through cataract removal surgery.
Cataracts in dogs cannot be reversed by any other method when they have formed, meaning the only way to restore vision would be to physically remove the cataracts themselves.
There are eye drops that can reduce the chance of a high risk dog developing cataracts, but there are no options outside of surgery once they have formed.
Cataract removal in dogs involves breaking up and removing the cloudy portion of the eye, to then be replaced by an artificial lens that will allow the dog to see clearly again.
Not only will this procedure restore vision for dogs with cataracts, but it will also eliminate future complications and pain that can develop as a result of cataracts in the future.
Does My Dog Need Cataract Surgery?
Cataract removal surgery in dogs is considered an extremely successful procedure for many struggling pups.
If your dog has developed cataracts and is experiencing a decline in their vision, your pup may be a great candidate for dog cataract surgery.
While the only way to know if your pup needs the surgery is by speaking with your vet, most dogs with cataracts affecting their vision can benefit.
While your dog may need cataract surgery, they may not always qualify for the procedure.
The ideal candidate for the procedure will have no other serious conditions of the eye, and should not have any medical conditions that make anesthesia a serious risk.
Every dog’s situation is different, but your vet can always steer you in an appropriate direction.
Will My Dog See Better After Cataract Surgery?
If your dog has cataract surgery in their future, you may wonder how soon their vision will be restored after the procedure.
While this may vary from dog to dog, it’s estimated that about 95% of dogs can see better as soon as they wake up from the procedure.
Their vision will continue to improve as the weeks go on, making cataract surgery in dogs a successful surgery.
The positive outcome of dog cataract surgery relies heavily on proper post-op care and long term management.
Though a dog’s vision may decline slightly in the years following their procedure, a proper management plan from your veterinarian will help your dog maintain their vision as long as possible.
This will include going to all follow up appointments, administering any medications that are prescribed, and watching out for any post-op complications.
What Does Cataract Surgery Usually Cost?
Cataract removal in dogs has become a common practice in most veterinary ophthalmology centers.
There is a long list of veterinarians across the country performing this procedure, meaning there is quite a range of costs to expect.
The cheapest dog cataract surgery may be around $1,500 per eye, where other specialists may charge up to $4,000 per eye.
The average price can range based on how severe your dog’s cataracts are, if they have any other medical complications, and if they have any post-op complications.
If your canine friend needs cataract removal, we always suggest calling around to gather as many options as possible.
Once you have done this, you can choose the option that best fits your budget.
What To Expect With Your Dog’s Cataract Removal
When preparing for your dog’s cataract procedure, you will likely want to know what to expect throughout the process.
To help you better prepare for your dog’s upcoming surgery, let’s discuss what to expect before, during, and after their cataract removal surgery.
What To Expect Before The Procedure
Before your dog’s cataract surgery, there are a few ways your vet will help to ensure your dog’s safety throughout the procedure.
Your vet will first perform pre-anesthetic blood work that rules out any complication with their liver or kidneys.
This will not only let your vet know if anesthesia is safe for your pup, but also which medications your pup can relieve after their procedure.
Your vet will also perform diagnostics on your dog’s eyes to rule out any other eye conditions, as this can lead to an unsuccessful cataract removal surgery.
If these tests reveal any underlying conditions, this may impact your dog’s ability to have their cataracts removed.
However, if all tests come back normal, your pup should be free to move forward with their cataract removal surgery.
What To Expect During The Procedure
On the day of your dog’s cataract removal, your vet will likely instruct you to fast your dog for 12 hours before their surgery.
Once your pup arrives at the vet and is checked in for their procedure, the standard cataract removal procedure should take anywhere from 1-2 hours from start to finish.
Your dog may require a few hours to wake up fully in the hospital, but should be sent home that evening or the next morning.
Your pup will likely be sent home with an e-collar to wear for the next 2 weeks, as well as eye drops and pain medications to be administered diligently.
What To Expect After The Procedure
A proper recovery is essential for ensuring your dog’s success with their cataract removal surgery.
This means following the guidelines your vet puts in place after their procedure, as well as keeping up with any follow up appointments.
A standard cataract removal aftercare plan involves keeping your dog calm and rested for 2 weeks, keeping their e-collar on for 2 weeks, administering any eye drops or medications diligently, and monitoring their eyes for any sign of complication.
Most vets will require a 2 week follow up appointment, and will then give your pup permission to get back to their normal routine.
How Long Does It Take For My Dog To Recover From Cataract Surgery?
Most dogs will recover from cataract surgery in 2-3 weeks.
As long as there are no complications throughout their recovery, most pups should be pain free and ready to return to normal life at this point.
This may vary if your pup has any other medical conditions that complicate their procedure, so it’s best to speak with your vet about your dog’s specific recovery plan.
Dog cataract removal surgery is a successful procedure that helps so many canine friends.
Be sure to review the information that we discussed above, and you can be better prepared for your pup’s upcoming procedure.
My name is Amber. I am a dedicated animal lover that turned my passion into my career. I am a Licensed Vet Tech with 10 years of experience in veterinary medicine, but I recently took my career online to help spread accurate information on animal care. With how vast the online world is, I have a strong desire to ensure that the reader always walks away with helpful pet advice. With the experience I’ve gained from my time in this field, I have been able to travel the world, offering my services to as many animal rescues as I can find. If I am not at my laptop, or back home visiting family, you can find me somewhere in the world, cuddling every furry friend that I can find! Read more about us here.