Surgery is the primary treatment for cataracts in dogs, states WebMD. During surgery, the veterinarian replaces the dog's natural lens with an artificial one. Since some cataracts are caused by underlying illnesses, including diabetes, treating the disease may also help slow the progression of the cataracts.
Many dogs that develop cataracts as they age do not need surgical intervention, according to petMD. While cataracts can impair the dog's vision, some develop slowly, and simply watching for any progression may be a better choice. Some dogs also develop nuclear sclerosis, which also manifests as a cloudiness in the eye that can be mistaken for cataracts, notes WebMD. However, nuclear sclerosis is not as progressive as cataracts and does not usually require treatment.
Early treatment can be important for a good prognosis, especially if the cataracts are hereditary or related to diabetes, explains WebMD. This type of cataract often progresses rapidly and can eventually lead to glaucoma, which causes permanent vision loss. Owners of dogs with diabetes should check the dog's eyes regularly and take them to a veterinarian at the first sign of cloudiness. People with breeds known for hereditary cataracts, including American cocker spaniels, poodles, Boston terriers and miniature schnauzers, should also pay special attention. However, all dogs benefit from regular eye exams and prompt veterinary attention at the first sign of changes or vision loss.