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Recognizing and Treating Goldendoodle Cataracts

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Goldendoodles represent a unique and charming mix of the Golden Retriever and Poodle breeds. These dogs exhibit high levels of intelligence, maintain attraction, and react smartly. What’s amazing about your Golden Doodle is the dog’s ability to sustain high levels of energy, remain playful, and exercise often.

Health conditions like cataracts in dogs can be depressing to you as an owner and may also seem challenging to comprehend. There’s no cause to worry. Keep reading for essential information about cataracts in your dog and the best steps to take.

Goldendoodle Cataracts Explained

Cataracts in Goldendoodles occur when your dog’s eye is cloudy due to a change in water balance in the lens. It’s also connected to changes to protein within your dog’s eyes. Cloudy eyes in dogs prevent light from reaching the retina, resulting in blindness. Severe or mature conditions of cataracts in dogs appear as a white disk behind your dog’s iris.

If you observe your dog’s eye region that should be black now appears white, consult your vet.  Nuclear sclerosis is a condition that is closely similar to cataracts in dogs. However, nuclear sclerosis defines the haziness that occurs due to the hardening of the lens as your dog ages. Many dog owners often think their Goldendoodles have cataracts when it’s only nuclear sclerosis.

The major cause of cataracts in Goldendoodles is genetic. According to some scientists, mutations in genes increase the risk of dog cataracts. Apart from the uncontrollable hereditary cause of cataracts, your dog may also be prone to the infection due to high blood sugar levels. If your Golden Doodle is diabetic, there will be a change in the water balance of his lens.

When the cause of cataracts is due to diabetes, it causes loss of sight between one or two days. Vets may prescribe oral antioxidants to help delay the formation of dog cataracts in the eye. Hence, it’s imperative to speak to a vet for the best approach to prevention and treatment.

Compared to many other eye conditions, eye drops and pills can’t treat cataracts in your Golden Doodle. However, a suitable treatment option may be surgery. The surgical procedure aims to remove the cloudy lens from your dog’s eye to restore sight.

Speak to your vet for the best treatment approach. All experts go through your Goldendoodle’s medical history to review whether a surgical approach will be successful. There are low chances of a dog having a successful surgery if there’s an inflammation in the eye, damage to the retina, or glaucoma.

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Causes of Goldendoodle Cataract

What are the potential health or environmental conditions that cause cataracts in your Golden Doodle? In most cases, your dog can experience cataracts due to multiple contributing factors, including poor nutrition. For better comprehension, here’s a breakdown of the potential causes of Goldendoodle cataracts:

Nutritional Disorders

If your Goldendoodle is deficient in important nutrients, it increases the risk of cataracts. If the dog is experiencing malnutrition, a change in diet can improve the condition of cataracts in the eye. Apart from cataracts, your Golden Doodle is at risk of other conditions due to nutritional disorders.

Other common health conditions due to nutritional disorders include obesity, bladder stones, diarrhea, and heart disease. If you observe any symptoms of nutritional disorders in your Goldendoodle, consider reviewing your dog’s diet plan.

When feeding your Goldendoodle, a common rule of thumb is providing the dog with 1 – 4 cups of food daily. Avoid giving your Goldendoodle table scraps and meals meant for people. Note that the amount of food you decide to feed your dog will ultimately depends on size, age, size, and body metabolism.

Eye Injury or Infection

Eye injury and infection are common causes of cataracts. Another name for cataracts due to eye injury is traumatic cataract. If your Golden Doodle experiences penetrating ocular trauma, chemical burns, electric shock, or ionizing radiation, there’s a risk of cataract.

In most cases, Golden Doodle owners may not realize their dog has an injury. The intraocular inflammation also doesn’t manifest after a significant number of weeks after the injury. For this reason, it’s important to perform regular checkups with the vet for the best treatment options.

Goldendoodles tend to have eye infections due to allergies, injuries, congenital disabilities, and other major conditions. If you don’t treat these conditions early, your Golden Doodle has a significant chance of experiencing cataracts.

How can you know your Golden Doodle has an eye infection to prevent the chances of cataracts? Some common symptoms of an eye condition include watery eyes, crust in the eyes, and eye discharge

Genetics

One of the most common causes of cataracts in Goldendoodles is a genetic predisposition. Both male and female Goldendoodles are highly prone to the condition because of their hereditary disposition. According to studies, dog cataracts are typically due to the mutation in the HSF4 gene.

Research proves that mutation increases the risk of dogs like Goldendoodles developing posterior bilateral cataracts. Genetics plays a strong role in your dog’s overall health. Apart from cataracts, some other common hereditary diseases include canine hip dysplasia, cancers, and hypothyroidism.

Ensure you perform regular checks with a vet. Most experts may advise a surgical procedure to help treat genetic cataracts. However, they may also request your Goldendoodle’s medical history.

Age

Your Goldendoodle’s eye consists of protein and water. As your dog ages, some protein forms chunks and clouds certain regions in the eye’s lens. With time, dog cataracts may grow and result in partial or complete loss of vision.

When your dog is reaching an older age, several health conditions may occur apart from dog cataracts. Other significant health conditions associated with aging include arthritis, cancer, and dementia. Maintain a regular visit with the vet for constant examination.

Diabetes

If your Goldendoodles have a condition of Diabetes Mellitus, they become very prone to developing dog cataracts. In your Goldendoodle’s eye, the aqueous humor provides important nutrients, including glucose and oxygen. Diabetes causes an increase in glucose levels, and most Goldendoodles may develop dog cataracts that grow aggressively with time.

You can know whether your Golden Doodle has diabetes by observing some symptoms of the condition. These symptoms include excessive thirst, weight loss, increased urination, and increased appetite. Consult a vet for proper diagnosis and treatment if you observe any of those signs in your Golden Doodle. Proper dieting and exercising are advisable treatment methods for diabetes.

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How Cataract Can Affect Your Goldendoodle

Your Golden Doodle is prone to developing other mild to severe health conditions without immediate or early cataract treatment procedure aims. Most possible health conditions may affect your Goldendoodle’s eye before any other parts of their body. Hence, it’s imperative to see a vet for immediate treatment of the condition in early dog cataracts stages.

Here are some unique ways cataracts can affect your Golden Doodle before or after surgery:

Chronic Uveitis

Chronic Uveitis is a condition that makes dogs experience severe pain and redness of certain parts of the eye. It signifies the inflammation of one or more structures in the uvea. 

In scenarios where the inflammation includes the three structures, it’s pan-uveitis or true uveitis. If it’s only an inflammation of the ciliary body and the iris, it signifies anterior uveitis; an inflammation of the choroid in your Golden Doodle is posterior uveitis.

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If your Golden Doodle has chronic uveitis, you will notice constant eye shutting (blepharospasm) and avoiding bright lights. Other major signs also include cloudiness of the eye, bleeding, and excessive tearing.

Before making any conclusions, the vet will examine to know the primary cause of uveitis. Aside from cataracts, some common ones include metabolic diseases like diabetes, eye tumors, trauma to the eye, high blood pressure, and toxins. The vet may first suggest treatment to reduce the inflammation and provide pain relief using eye medications.

Glaucoma

One of the ways cataracts may affect your Golden Doodle is developing includes health conditions like glaucoma. In dogs, glaucoma is a condition where the pressure within the eye becomes high. The major cause of glaucoma is the inadequate drainage of aqueous fluid.

There are two major classifications of glaucoma, which include the primary and the secondary. Primary glaucoma only occurs as a result of inherited anatomical abnormalities in the drainage angle. Most dogs typically experience secondary glaucoma due to increased intraocular pressure resulting from eye injuries.

How can you know whether your Golden Doodle has glaucoma due to a cataract? The first sign of glaucoma from cataracts is eye pain and watery discharge. More often, Goldendoodles may also experience loss of appetite, physical swelling, and lethargy. Note that all signs of glaucoma occur suddenly in the acute stages but develop more slowly when it’s chronic.

For treatment, experts typically prescribe analgesics to help control the pain and discomfort. In severe cases, vets may also combine medical treatment with surgery for the best outcomes.

Retinal Detachment and Infection

After cataract surgery, retinal detachment is a major complication that may affect your Golden Doodle. The retina is the innermost lining in the eyeball of all dogs. When retinal detachment occurs, there’s a separation of that region from the back of the eyeball. Apart from cataracts, the condition may arise due to some genetic and non-genetic factors.

Retinal detachment is more common in older Goldendoodles and sometimes indicates a more severe medical condition. Some dogs may experience retinal detachment due to high blood pressure, increased levels of thyroid hormone, and low oxygen levels in the body. 

When diagnosing the condition, vets perform a full eye examination of your Golden Doodle to determine if there’s an underlying condition. In most cases, surgery is the standard treatment option for the condition in Goldendoodles.

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Life Expectancy of a Goldendoodle With Cataract

The typical life expectancy of a healthy Golden Doodle is between 10 to 15 years. Conditions like cataracts may significantly influence your dog’s life but don’t need to affect your dog’s life expectancy. Note that cataracts may only lead to consistent discomfort if you don’t treat them. Most Goldendoodles with untreated cataracts stand the risk of permanent loss of sight.

Apart from cataracts, your dog may be prone to other conditions that influence the typical life expectancy. For the best experience for your Golden Doodle, go for regular checkups with the vet for a complete eye examination. 

Signs your Goldendoodle Might Have Cataract

As a dog owner, certain signs will help you figure out whether your Golden Doodle has cataracts. Before making conclusions, ensure you consult a vet for proper diagnosis. Here are the significant signs of cataracts in your Golden Doodle:

Changes in Eye Color

A change in the eye color of your Golden Doodle signifies a major sign of dog cataracts and other possible eye conditions. Most Goldendoodles are born with blue eyes and sometimes have hints of gray, brown, or green. So, if you observe a change in the normal color, speak to a vet for immediate examination and diagnosis.

In some cases, it’s normal for your Golden Doodle to have cloudy or gray lenses with age due to nuclear sclerosis. However, nuclear sclerosis doesn’t put your dog’s vision at risk compared to cataracts. Changes in eye color in your Golden Doodle may also indicate an infection of the cornea.

Clumsiness

In puppy Goldendoodles, clumsiness may seem normal. In most scenarios, it’s something your dog will outgrow because, in most cases, it’s a trait your dog developed from birth. If your dog is clumsy, it may be because of vision problems. You need to study your pet’s behavior for consistent events of clumsiness and see a vet.

Your vet will perform a proper examination of your Golden Doodle to determine the major causes of loss of balance. The vet may also ask certain important questions to determine your dog’s medical history for proper diagnosis. Common conditions that cause clumsiness apart from cataracts include vestibular syndrome, injury, and stroke.

Reluctance to Jumping or Climbing

If your Golden Doodle has vision problems, climbing or jumping may seem very difficult. Dogs rely on balance from their ears and eyes. Hence, if there’s any problem with those organs, they typically find it challenging to maintain balance. Check your dog’s eye to see if it exhibits any other symptoms of cataract.

Several other medical conditions could cause a loss of balance for your Golden Doodle. Some of these health issues include trauma to the legs or back. If your Goldendoodle always exhibits a reluctance to climb a surface or jump, consult your vet.

Rubbing of the Eyes

Goldendoodles with cataracts typically scratch their eyes often. Constant rubbing will also make your dog’s eye appear red and cause significant levels of irritation. Dogs often rub their eyes when things get stuck inside their eyes. The constant irritation makes them rub their face against carpets or furniture in some cases.

Your Golden Doodle could also be rubbing his eyes due to allergies. Some of these allergens that may cause constant rubbing are preservatives, dust, insect bites, and food additives. Ensure you use medications that the vet prescribes to avoid triggering allergic reactions.

Cloudy Pupils in One or Both Eyes

The most significant sign of cataracts in dogs’ eyes is the appearance of cloudy pupils in one or both eyes. It’s important not to confuse this condition with nuclear sclerosis. The latter majorly applies to older dogs. For this reason, it’s important to speak to an expert for veterinary attention and help.

After speaking to a vet and proper examination, you should know whether the condition is a cataract or nuclear sclerosis. Compared to dog cataracts, nuclear sclerosis would not significantly affect your dog’s vision. Most vets don’t advise any treatment procedure for nuclear sclerosis since it doesn’t result in severe health conditions.

Eye Irritation

Common signs of irritation in your Goldendoodle include redness of the eye or watery discharge. If your dog is experiencing eye irritation, you’ll often notice squinting of the eye, swelling of the eyelid, and constant pawing at the eyes.

In the case of dog cataracts, eye irritation typically occurs alongside other major symptoms like cloudy eyes in dogs and clumsiness. Consult a vet for proper diagnosis and treatment when the eye irritation becomes consistent.

How to Care for and treat your Goldendoodle for Cataract

Depending on the cause of cataracts in dogs, treatment options may differ. Most vets only advise treatment when your dog is losing a high degree of vision due to cataracts. Some experts also discover the underlying cause for the condition for proper correction.

Most experts recommend surgical procedures for dogs with the condition. Veterinary ophthalmologists in private practice typically specialize in such surgeries with the use of general anesthetics. The primary aim of the surgery is to help remove the cloudy lens in your Goldendoodle to restore vision.

How to Help your Goldendoodle Live a Fulfilling Life with Cataract

If you discover your Goldendoodle has a cataract, it’s not the end of the world for your pet. Try to help your dog live a fulfilling life by providing a proper diet and nutritional support. Good eating habits will help your dog during the condition. 

As a dog owner, it’s also imperative to practice making constant visits with your Goldendoodle to the vet for examination. Your dog may need a little more guidance during this time but will ultimately have a healthy life.