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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Have you tried natural remedies for canine cataracts on your dog? Please share your experience in the comments below.
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