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Does Your Senior German Shepherd Have Cataracts?

Updated: Oct 27, 2022



What are cataracts?


Cataracts are a common eye condition in older German Shepherds. As our fur friends age, their eye lenses become less transparent and more cloudy, resulting in reduced vision.


As you can imagine, this can be a serious problem for your fur friend for various reasons, such as the big one, going blind. But also because it will make him much slower at responding to his surroundings, potentially leading to accidents or injuries. Additionally, cataracts could also be a sign of other health issues, such as diabetes, so if your older German Shepherd’s eyes look cloudy, don’t ignore them.


In this blog post, we’ll cover the signs of cataracts in older German Shepherds, what causes cataracts, how to prevent them, and treatment options.

What causes cataracts?


The number one cause of cataracts in older German Shepherds is hereditary. But that’s not the only reason. Older German Shepherds may get cataracts due to an eye injury or an underlying health issue such as diabetes. Furthermore, cataracts can also appear for no apparent reason other than advanced age.


Types of Cataracts:


There are three types of cataracts which can affect our dogs. They include congenital cataracts, developmental cataracts, and senile cataracts.


Congenital cataracts are present from birth, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the cataracts are inherited.


Developmental cataracts develop with time and are not inherited.


Senile cataracts develop in older dogs. Older German Shepherds primarily suffer from congenital cataracts.


Signs and symptoms:

  • Blurry or cloudy eyes

  • Your fur friend is bumping into things

  • Your fur friend struggles to find his food dish, water bowl, toys, or bed

  • Unusually anxious, possibly even snappish

  • He becomes overly clingy

  • Reluctant to get up and move around


Treatment options for older German Shepherds with cataracts:


Your veterinarian will determine the best course of treatment for your older German Shepherd based on his age and other factors. Treatment may include:


  • Surgical removal of the discolored lens material

  • Treating underlying health issues

  • Eye drops

  • Possible lens replacement


Preventing cataracts:


Prevention is not always possible. For instance, if the cataracts are congenital, it’s not preventable, but there are steps you can take to reduce his chances of getting cataracts otherwise. You can:

  • Reduce eye exposure to sunlight and bright lights. That means you may need to purchase your older German Shepherd sun goggles, not for fun, but for medicinal purposes.


  • It’s also imperative to incorporate regular eye exams into your older German Shepherd’s wellness regime.


  • And finally, you can help reduce your fur friend’s chance of getting cataracts by controlling underlying health issues.


In closing, cataracts in older German Shepherds are a clouding of the eye lens, which is common in older dogs. If your older German Shepherd has trouble seeing or difficulty walking, you should take him to see his veterinarian for an exam. A diagnosis of cataracts is not the end of the world, but it needs to be addressed by a trusted veterinarian and a treatment plan put in place. Cataracts may make life harder for your fur friend by diminishing his vision, but with treatment, his sight can be restored to the degree that enhances his quality of life.


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***** Disclaimer: Throughout the “20 Most Common Health Issues in Senior German Shepherds” series, each blog post is expressed explicitly from our point of view and is not to be substituted for the professional medical expertise of your trusted veterinarian.

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