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How do you treat cataracts in dogs without surgery?

A:

Quick Answer

A combination of bilberry extracts, gingko biloba, dandelion roots and wheatgrass extracts has been shown to be effective against canine cataracts, according to Natural Wonder Pets. The treatment can be added to food or administered with an eyedropper.

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Full Answer

Canine eye lenses are composed of protein and water, explains Natural Wonder Pets. The proteins are structured in a way that allows light to pass through. Over time, protein molecules in canine lenses may be damaged by free radicals generated by some medications, poor diet and sunlight, among other factors. This damage eventually leads to cataracts, which manifests as a cloudy lens.

Cataracts also may be caused by genetics, diabetes or retinal atrophy, states the American Kennel Club's Canine Health Foundation.

Herbs with antioxidant properties can be used to protect canine eye lenses from free radical damage, explains Natural Wonder Pets. Bilberries are an excellent source of antioxidants and have been used by the ancient Chinese to treat eye disorders. Bilberries are also a good source of anthocyanins, powerful antioxidants that help improve circulation to the retina.

Extracts from dandelion roots are used to boost the strength of retinal tissue and to cleanse the canine liver, which is believed to improve eyesight, explains Natural Wonder Pets. Dandelions are also a good source of antioxidants, beta carotene and vitamins A and C. Wheatgrass extracts and gingko biloba are also good sources of antioxidants.

The notion that canine cataracts can be treated nonsurgically is controversial. Organizations such as the Veterinary Eye Institute and the Canine Health Foundation and researcher Christine C. Lim argue that surgery is the only way of effectively treating canine cataracts.

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