If you are a pet owner, no one has to tell you that your cat or dog has a special place in your life. You want the best for your pet to ensure its optimal health and well being. But, as animals age, they can experience many of the same health issues that humans face, including cataracts.
In animals, as in humans, the lens in our eyes can thicken with age. That’s not necessarily a cause for alarm. However, if your pet’s eyes are beginning to look noticeably cloudy, it could be a sign of something more serious, like cataracts.
In a healthy eye, the lens is a small clear ligament located directly behind the iris. Despite its small size, the lens plays a crucial role in your pet’s vision. The lens focuses light rays that pass onto the retina, and provide clear images of objects for your cat or dog.
Cataracts develop slowly and may be caused by a variety of reasons including metabolic disorders, poor nutrition, trauma or age. In dogs, the leading cause of cataracts is generally diabetes, while in cats it is frequently caused by uveitis or inflammation of the uvea — the pigmented part of the eye. Animals may exhibit early signs of eye trouble caused by cataracts including a sudden reluctance to jump on furniture, hesitation climbing stairs, clumsiness, or a persistent rubbing of their eyes. If you suspect that your pet has developed cataracts, the best way to be certain is to ask a veterinary ophthalmologist to perform a thorough eye exam.
If your pet has been diagnosed with cataracts, you and your vet will need to discuss the best treatment options. Often cataracts cannot be prevented. At the same time, they will not simply go away on their own. Left untreated, cataracts can have serious health consequences like pain, infection and even blindness.
The most common course of treatment for pets with cataracts is surgery. The vet will remove the affected lens and replace it with an artificial implant. Fortunately, most dogs and cats are good candidates for cataracts surgery. However, while the surgery itself has a relatively short recovery period, it can be quite expensive. A typical surgery can cost in excess of $4,000.00.
Pet insurance will not cover the costs associated with diagnosis and treatment if the cataracts are determined to be a pre-existing condition, that is, a condition that was evident prior to the start of your pet’s insurance policy. For this reason, it is important to protect your pet with insurance as soon as possible, preferably when your pet is less than a year old. Pet insurance, though a relatively new industry is not prohibitive and the benefits may far outweigh the costs associated with it. With the rising costs of pet care, insurance is used by millions to affordably manage pet health.
Policies are generally straightforward, and provided that your vet is licensed, your insurer won’t dictate where you take your pet for care. To provide the best coverage for your pet consider comprehensive coverage. Many carriers offer hereditary condition coverage.
Do your homework and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Reputable insurance providers will discuss a variety of cost options and other important details with you before enrolling. You want the best for your pet; that much is clear. That’s why careful home monitoring, combined with regular veterinary checkups, will ensure the best health outcomes for your cat or dog. Early comprehensive pet insurance will give you the added peace of mind you deserve as your pet ages so you can focus on making the most of the time you spend with your furry friend.