Natural Treatment and Prevention of Canine Cataracts

Cataracts are quite common in aging dogs, and can also be caused by diabetes, injury, or genetics. Some dog breeds appear to be predisposed to the development of cataracts, including the Bichon Frise, Poodle, Golden Retriever, Cocker Spaniel, Schnauzer, and some Terriers.

Cataracts affect the lens of the eye through calcification and opacification, resulting in reduced vision or blindness. Holistic veterinarians, scientists, and natural pet care experts have a few tricks up their sleeve for the treatment and prevention of cataracts in dogs. The main focus of these natural ‘remedies’ is the prevention and repair of oxidative damage to the retina.

TopicalNatural Treatment and Prevention of Dog Cataracts

Succus cineraria extract mixed 50:50 with artificial tears may improve vision in some dogs with cataracts. Other topical treatments have been studied with mixed results, including antioxidants glutathione, cysteine ascorbate, l-taurine and riboflavin.

Herbs

Bilberry, Ginkgo biloba, Grape Seed extract and Turmeric are often recommended as herbal supplements for cataracts in dogs. Gentian may be helpful for diabetic cataracts. It’s important to use fresh, high quality, organic herbs for full effectiveness. We obtain most of our dried herbs from Starwest Botanicals, as they have proven to be reliable for quality and freshness.

Rosemary (Rosmarinus offinalis) and Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria) extract solutions may be used in drops to clean and soothe the eye. Pet Alive’s Eye-Heal drops contain these ingredients.

If your dog has cataracts, do not give him St. John’s Wort.

Diet

A balanced lifetime diet can help to prevent cataracts in your dog. Preventing canine obesity lowers the risk of diabetes and associated conditions like cataracts. Feed species-appropriate foods high in amino acids (including glutamic acid, cysteine and glycine), carotenoids and bioflavonoids, Vitamins A, C, E, and minerals zinc, manganese, and selenium.

If your dog has cataracts, avoid processed meat, saturated fats and dairy products.

Nutraceuticals

Wheat Grass sprouts have shown great promise in the natural treatment and reversal of cataracts in dogs. In a 2005 study on senior dogs, conducted by the Department of Cellular and Environmental Biology at the University of Perugia, scientists found a 25 to 40% reduction of lens opacity. Scientists theorized that the reduction could be due to “the contemporary presence of small regulatory acid peptides, a remarkable level of highly energetic phosphoric radicals and antioxidant molecules, peculiarities that may be, to some extent, related to the aging process regulation.” You can feed fresh sprouts or purchase high-quality Wheat Grass powder supplement for convenience.

Seaweed / Algae contains the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and gentle liver detoxifying properties associated with natural cataract remedies for dogs.

Whole Krill is an excellent source of astaxanthin carotenoid and other powerful antioxidants recommended for general eye health and treatment of eye conditions.

Note of caution: Before treatment, a positive diagnosis should be made by a qualified professional. Inform your Veterinarian about any natural treatments being administered to avoid negative drug interactions or other issues.

Natural Pet Care Blog CommentsHave you tried natural remedies for canine cataracts on your dog?  Please share your experience in the comments below.

Sources:
Basso, Andrea. Aging reversibility: from thymus graft to vegetable extract treatment – application to cure an age-associated pathology. Biogerontology. 2005.
William G Christen. Dietary carotenoids, vitamins C and E, and risk of cataract in women: a prospective study. 2008.
Banot, Jayshree. Effect of Emblica officinalis (Gaertn) on lens regeneration in the frog, Rana cyanophlyctis. 2008.
Urfer et al., Urfer, S.R., Greer, K., Wolf, N. Age-related cataract in dogs: A biomarker for life span and its relation to body size. 2010.
Williams, David L. The effect of a topical antioxidant formulation including N-acetyl carnosine on canine cataract: a preliminary study. 2006.
Gelatt, Kirk N. Cataracts in the Bichon Frise. 2003.
Messonnier, Shawn DVM. Natural Health Bible for Dogs & Cats: Your A-Z Guide to Over 200 Conditions, Herbs, Vitamins, and Supplements 2001.
Wynn, Susan G. DVM. Emerging Therapies: Using Herbs and Nutraceuticals for Small Animals. American Animal Hospital Assn. 1999.
Balch, Phyllis A. Prescription for Herbal HealingPrescription for Herbal Healing 2012.
Tilford, Gregory. Wulff, Mary. Herbs for Pets: The Natural Way to Enhance Your Pet’s LifeHerbs for Pets: The Natural Way to Enhance Your Pet's Life. 2009.
Dr. Andrew Jones, DVM. Veterinary Secrets Revealed.

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14 Responses to “Natural Treatment and Prevention of Canine Cataracts”

  1. Sue Huss says:

    I wish I knew about these natural treatments years ago when my 17 year Pomeranian went completely blind. Do you know about the eye drop that contain N-Acetyl-Carnosine?

    • Melody McKinnon says:

      Sue, it probably doesn’t do any harm but scientific research into it doing any good is sketchy.

  2. Jennifer says:

    Handy info to have on hand for my old doggies. Loving the natural ways!

  3. Trianda says:

    Unfortunately I’ll be using this information for my dog who has cataracts. :-(

  4. Melanie says:

    So glad to find these natural treatments!!!

  5. Rosa says:

    Our holistic vet mixed up cineraria drops for our dog and they work wonders. Thanks for the tips.

  6. Susanna GTA says:

    I wish you’d write a natural pet care book. Most of them aren’t as thoroughly researched as even one of your blog posts sadly. But I guess that makes us appreciate you even more. :-)

  7. Christian says:

    Thanks for the natural remedies. I have a friend that’s a holistic vet and I’ll share it with her. She loves it when I take her your articles and she visits your site now too.

  8. Monette says:

    I had a terrible experience with a breeder who sold me a registered puppy with cataracts. I had to pay for surgery and she didn’t even give me my money back or pay the vet expenses. The next year she was selling puppies from the same parents!!!!!

  9. Rockford says:

    Thank you for posting yet another informed piece.

  10. Pria says:

    THANK YOU! I have a bichon frise. She doesn’t have cataracts but she’s only 5 and I’d like to prevent them now that I know about her predisposition. I wouldn’t have known about her breed getting them if it wasn’t for this post so you might have saved her eyesight. THANK YOU!

  11. SEan says:

    Our last dog had cataracts before he died and was almost blind. At 14 we didn’t want to risk surgery so we just took extra special care of him. He was a good dog and he deserved our devotion until his natural end.

  12. Leslie Carter says:

    I heard vets are researching surgery alternatives because old dogs get cataracts and sometimes surgery is too dangerous for them.

  13. Kate says:

    Our pup just started getting cataracts :-(. I’m going to take this post to my vet! Thank you!

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