Cataracts surgery heals blindness in dogs

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When Susan Ferrell's 10-year-old dog, Lucky started to develop cataracts, everything changed.

"He walked very slowly, looking down, and we kind of guided him with our leg trying to get him to go one way or the other," Susan said.

At first, only one eye was affected, but eventually, both eyes clouded over and Lucky was blind. Blood work revealed Lucky was diabetic which explained his loss of sight.

Dr. Tammy Michau, a Veterinary Opthomologist with Blue Pearl Medicine for Pets says when dogs begin to lose their sight, it can be frightening and dangerous.

"They'll run into doors, they'll trip and fall down stairs. They'll wander into the street," Dr. Michau explained.

In fact, it's actually a wide-ranging problem; 75 percent of diabetic dogs will go completely blind within nine months of being diagnosed with cataracts. And genetics can be another factor, especially in younger dogs.

For Susan, the solution for Lucky's loss of sight was Cataract surgery. But at $4,000 for both eyes, it wasn't cheap.

"My husband and I decided that was our Christmas gift to each other. Giving our dog his sight back," Susan said.

The procedure is not painful. It is done the exact same way it is in humans, except our four-legged friends have to go under general anesthesia.

When it's over, Michau says, "It's usually pretty amazing. They wake up and they see you for the first time and a lot of them go like this," making a shocked face.

And Susan could see the difference almost immediately.

"I think he understood that, at one time, he couldn't see and things were difficult for him and all of a sudden now he could see again. Even though he couldn't tell us, you could just tell in the way that he responded to everything," she explained.

Faced with spending his older years living in the shadows, Lucky now has a second chance, with a gift of sight.