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sudden onset cataracts

by Liz Crumbley

My young Maltese recently became totally blind with sudden onset cataracts. Virtually overnight, each eye clouded over with a complete cataract. Fortunately, he has undergone successful surgery that has restored vision to one eye (all we will do for now). Has anyone else heard of this problem among Maltese? The animal opthamologist who performed the surgery said she has seen this happen to cocker spaniels.


Please bear in mind when reading topics pertaining to health issues, that many of these questions were answered by helpful Maltese owners with no formal education in veterinarian medicine. When in doubt seek a professionals advise.

Liz, You didn't say how old your maltese is although you did say young. I did have a Yorkshire Terrier who developed cataracts but this was due to old age and just like some people it does happen in all breeds of dogs and cats as well. Your pet is lucky to have such a caring mom and I absolutely agree with doing one eye at a time. Good luck to you both.

My last dog (a cocker spaniel), who past away at 15 years, had cataracts from age 3 on. Today, as you know, they have an excellent surgical technique to fix the problem. While investigating the causes, I learned that cataracts in dogs can be caused for a variety of reasons, but the most common is in-breeding. (Mating dogs to close in bloodline). In-breeding can cause a weaker gene pool, making the dog suceptable to disease or other physical problems like cataracts. This is why many cocker spaniels get cataracts. I was told that when the cocker spaniel breed was being developed, in-breeding was very common. Another cause is a strong blow to the head. In cases of abuse, cataracts are possible in all species, humans too! There are many other reasons as well, but these are two of the most common. You may never know specifically why your dog got cataracts. But, I am happy for you and your dog that there is treatment available.Chuck Norman
-Chuck Norman

My 5 year old 6.5 pound Lacey was just diagnosed with a 'dense' cataract. I will be taking her to a specialist next week to decide if it is ripe enough to operate. How did the surgery go? How long was the recovery period? I'm just terrified of her undergoing an operation. Thanks for your help. MJ

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