Lily is a 4 year old female West Highland Terrier who was brought in to the clinic when her mum noticed that her right eye had suddenly turned blue and cloudy.
Almost immediately upon seeing young Lily, Dr Natalie suspected she was suffering from a cataract. A cataract is an opacity in the lens of the eye. Depending on the size it can affect the vision only a little or it can cause complete vision loss. Although Lily may seem young to have a cataract, most are inherited and can occur at any age in dogs. They may develop slowly over the years or rapidly in just a few weeks, and can occur in one or both eyes. Cataracts can also be caused by diabetes or a form of ocular disease.
Dr Natalie knew that the best thing for Lily was to refer her to the specialist at All Animal Eye Services. A couple of days later Lily was at the specialist and it was confirmed that she indeed had a cataract. Not all cataracts in dogs require surgery, however the specialist determined that the best option for Lily was to have it surgically removed.
Cataract surgery is one of the most common surgeries performed in humans. The equipment used in the surgical removal of cataracts in dogs is the same as in humans. For Lily’s procedure she was placed under general anaesthesia before the cloudy lens (cataract) were surgically removed. It was then replaced with an artificial replacement lens; this is called an intraocular lens. The eye was then closed using very small, absorbable sutures.
Lily’s surgery was performed at the referral centre. She was discharged in the afternoon following her procedure. It was important that Lily be kept confined for a couple of weeks to ensure a quick recovery. She also had to be walked on a harness as using throat collars can increase the pressure in the eyes. Lily's mum was given eye drops which had to be applied to Lily's eye up to four times a day. Lily’s mum was very diligent even waking up in the middle of the night to make sure Lily got her medications.
We saw Lily a few weeks after her procedure and she looked great. Her mum reported that she was doing fantastic! She would have to be seen back at the referral centre from time to time but all reports from All Animal Eye Service’s indicated that Lily would make a full recovery!