Questions - Holistic / Environmental Support, Cataracts - German Shepherd Dog Forums
 
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-05-2015, 05:50 PM Thread Starter
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Questions - Holistic / Environmental Support, Cataracts

I had a less than awesome vet appointment today. For the last few weeks I started noticing a very (very) slight blue/gray cast in my 6.5 year old's eyes. Talked to my vet, and decided to bring her in for a checkup. He was out of the office for a few days and I wanted to wait until he (personally) was back in town, so I spent the last week worrying about pannus and other things.....

Diagnosis, cataracts (very small/slight, extremely early). He was patient and kind enough to totally darken/black-out the room, show me where to look, and what he was seeing. It was very informative, and if I hadn't been silently freaking out, I would have been fascinated. At this point there's no real vision loss, no irritation. He described it as the human equivalent of a faint, dirty thumbprint in the center of your reading glasses.

Current management plan is to give her replacement tears (non prescription, the mild OTC kind made for humans) any time we're going to be outside for more than two hours. Especially in bright sun and around the water, and every time it's windy. This breaks my heart since we're coming up on snowshoe and ice camping/fishing season, two of her favorite things, and we live on the water. I'm probably overreacting, he actually said he was surprised that I was able to detect them.... at her annual checkup a few months ago, eyes were totally clear. I guess I spend too many hours staring into her eyes, or something. Of course if anything changes visibly, back in we go, and he did discuss future potential surgical procedures, if things reach that point.

I started reading old threads today, and most of what I found emphasizes the importance of antioxidants. She currently gets a tablespoon of organic cold-press coconut oil with breakfast. I occasionally dehydrate strips of sweet potatoes, I can easily do this more often. She doesn't have any food allergies that I'm aware of, and she currently eats Fromm 4-star (grain free), with eggs (in the summer), homemade bone broth (when the chickens quit laying), and raw bones/occasional commercial raw patties for evening chewing, or just because.

Any other dietary recommendations?

And what's really bothering me, does anyone have any experience with outdoor activities causing more irritation?

I don't want to be the crazy person who runs out and buys a bunch of useless stuff, and I certainly don't plan to lock her in a dark house and prevent her from doing all of her favorite things. When I asked my vet, point blank, if there are environmental things I should restrict, his response was, "For someone like you, or someone like me, no. Go buy those eyedrops on the way home, then keep doing what you usually do."

I'm probably overreacting, but the thought of my friend slowly going blind makes me feel sick. Suggestions and info on your experiences are welcome, thanks in advance.
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-05-2015, 07:31 PM
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I'm sorry for the diagnosis. Are you sure it's not the thickening that is a normal part of aging in senior dogs? See Your Dog’s Eyes (3) | My Dog Space That blue-ish senior thickening is nothing to be worried about--it doesn't rob them of sight.

If it's really a cataract (which blocks light and will rob them of sight), I strongly recommend a visit to a vet ophthalmologist. I have a dog with double cataracts (totally blind, and has been for years). He has to see his specialist twice a year, as the cataracts change and require monitoring, and sometimes intervention. General practice vets are good for spotting the issue, but I really think a referral to a specialist is needed beyond that.

The specialist will do a much more thorough eye exam, with special instrumentation that likely can't be found at a regular vet clinic. Mine charges around $150 for that exam, and it takes a good hour. They'll get a really good look into the eyes, and come up with a plan for going forward.

Here's why you want a specialist involved:

1. Sometimes cataracts are operable to save the vision, if caught early enough. This is sophisticated surgery, done only by specialists as far as I know (it's several thousand dollars, per eye).

2. Dogs with cataracts often need to be on anti-inflammatory or steroidal RX eye drops to prevent glaucoma (a very painful disease that require removing the entire eye). An eye specialist can assess this risk, and figure out what, if anything is needed.

3. There are nutrition supplements for eyes that are likely to be prescribed or recommended directly from the eye specialist. Ocu-Glo is one I've seen dispensed in the clinic, for example. They can also talk through with you what to avoid -- the specialists tend to know the research on nutrition and eyes well and are a good sounding board for you.

This should help you find a vet eye specialist - the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists:
Veterinarians & Public

Please don't despair! Even if your dog is going blind, it will be okay. They adjust much better than humans do. My blind one leads a full, normal life and isn't a pity case -- he goes to training classes, goes hiking and enjoys outdoor adventures, swims, romps with other dogs, chases squirrels, and acts like a totally normal dog. People often don't even realize he's blind when they watch him. We've learned how to give him a normal life safely, and if you ever hit this point with your dog, I can send you a ton of info by PM.

Oh -- and get him a pair of super-cool Doggles!!! You now have an excuse to have a dog that wears shades.

Last edited by Magwart; 10-05-2015 at 07:34 PM.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-05-2015, 08:07 PM
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I'm so sorry about your best friend.

I have 4 suggestions:

1.Our dogs wear Doggles to protect the eyes from wind and debris when we go "back road ridin" the Doggles can also protect from sun:
Attachment 322585
Doggles at BaxterBoo

2.N-acetyl-carnosine Can-C eye-drops - for Cataracts
Human Study: Efficacy of N-acetylcarnosine in the treatment of cataracts. - PubMed - NCBI

This is the book: http://www.amazon.com/The-Cataract-Cure-breakthrough-N-acetylcarnosine/dp/0595348319
Dog Study:
Can-C Eye Drops Safely Reverse Cataracts in Dogs!
Canine Clinical Trials

3.Another combination: Cataracts in dogs and cats | Natural Pet Cataract Treatment
  • Cineraria is the traditional homeopathic remedy found in the Ophthalmology section of the Physicians Desk reference for over 25 years as a treatment for cataracts. The government of India has stated that "Cineraria is the nutrient of choice to halt or reverse cataracts." Homeopathy ignites the healing process, nutraceuticals provide the fuel.
  • Vitamin C with bioflavonoids is recommended as a general supplement.
  • Eyebright and bilberry, two herbs integral to holistic cataract treatment, are helpful for pets.
4.Supplements:
Phyt-n-Chance (superfoods, which includes cleansing/detoxification, anti inflammation, and phyto nutrition supporting immune health): http://ineedthat.corecommerce.com/Phyt-n-Chance-K9-A-Highly-Concentrated-Antioxidant-Blend.html
Power Of EA’s (a unique blend of natural, health enriching oils that are high in omega 3. It also provides a rich source of beta carotene, another anti inflammatory and complete, natural vitamin E from two separate ingredients which provide four tocopherols.) http://ineedthat.corecommerce.com/Power-of-3EA-s.html


Hope some of this info helps!
Moms

Last edited by Momto2GSDs; 07-11-2016 at 02:12 PM.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-05-2015, 08:59 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Magwart View Post
I'm sorry for the diagnosis. Are you sure it's not the thickening that is a normal part of aging in senior dogs? See Your Dog’s Eyes (3) | My Dog Space That blue-ish senior thickening is nothing to be worried about--it doesn't rob them of sight.
.....

If it's really a cataract (which blocks light and will rob them of sight), I strongly recommend a visit to a vet ophthalmologist.
.....
Please don't despair! Even if your dog is going blind, it will be okay. They adjust much better than humans do. My blind one leads a full, normal life and isn't a pity case -- he goes to training classes, goes hiking and enjoys outdoor adventures, swims, romps with other dogs, chases squirrels, and acts like a totally normal dog. People often don't even realize he's blind when they watch him. We've learned how to give him a normal life safely, and if you ever hit this point with your dog, I can send you a ton of info by PM.

Oh -- and get him a pair of super-cool Doggles!!! You now have an excuse to have a dog that wears shades.
Thank you so much for your response. We'll be following up with an ophthalmologist, they did give a referral in the area, and he said if things progressed he would send me there directly. Apparently the slight blueish color I was seeing was just regular age progression, the cataract was only visible when the room was totally dark, with a small direct pen light, like a circle toward the back of the eye. It was kind of startling, I've never looked that closely at a canine eye before, I'm glad he took the time to show me. So maybe it was coincidence, or maybe I did really see something different in her eyes, but I'm glad it brought us to the vet early.

I really appreciate your vote of confidence. And thank you for your happy story of your dog. If I'm being totally honest with myself, the real reason I'm so upset is that this is the first time I'm faced with the fact that she's getting older and isn't a puppy anymore.... sigh.

We will pick up some very fancy doggles before snowshoe season, it'll be her first real fashion accessory.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Momto2GSDs View Post
I'm so sorry about your best friend.

I have 4 suggestions:
........

Hope some of this info helps!
Moms
Thank you! I'll be doing lots of reading and will follow up with your recommendations. Thanks so much for taking the time to put this info together for me.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-05-2015, 11:23 PM
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I was at my holistic vet a month ago and she noticed mild cataracts starting in my guys eyes (he is going to be 11 very soon).

I had mentioned I had read up on NAC eye drops for another forum members dog and asked what her take on it was.

Her words were...absolutely, that antioxidants are integral part of treatment and prevention.

I think the link Moms provided, the power of EA's, if it is Carmens product (without looking at link), then it contains RED PALM OIL, an excellent source of beta-carotene - for eye health.

Also, eye health is related to the liver...Milk thistle for liver health

He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion. - Unknown
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-06-2015, 05:18 AM
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I was researching cataracts before and seen that it can be caused by an iodine deficiency. I think it was wikipedia and it was cataracts in people.

Iodine can be found in foods like liver, seaweed, fish. Sea kelp is the highest percentage for seaweed. If you want a good contact for Irish kelp pm me. It's 8 euro a kilo. And is top quality as the water is so pure here and tides are powerful, making for good seaweed.

Nascent Iodine is a purified version that is expensive but ment to be the best version. You can get that in the good natural health stores.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-06-2015, 06:12 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GatorBytes View Post
I was at my holistic vet a month ago and she noticed mild cataracts starting in my guys eyes (he is going to be 11 very soon).

I had mentioned I had read up on NAC eye drops for another forum members dog and asked what her take on it was.

Her words were...absolutely, that antioxidants are integral part of treatment and prevention.

I think the link Moms provided, the power of EA's, if it is Carmens product (without looking at link), then it contains RED PALM OIL, an excellent source of beta-carotene - for eye health.

Also, eye health is related to the liver...Milk thistle for liver health
Thank you!

For food-based sources of beta-carotene and antioxidants, pumpkin, sweet potato, and carrots seem to be the easiest, unless I'm overlooking something even more obvious? We're swamped in home grown pumpkins right now, it would be easy enough to make a huge batch of purée and freeze for use this year. She's never been very keen on eating vegetables (especially raw ones), but I could probably shred them in a food processor and mix them w/coconut or another healthy oil and roll into little balls....

My goats love milk thistle (the whole plant), and I've deliberately harvested and fed it to rabbits before. For a canine I'm assuming that the only realistic way to offer it is in extract/supplement form? The plant does grow around here and isn't too hard to find at certain times of the year.


Quote:
Originally Posted by MadLab
Iodine can be found in foods like liver, seaweed, fish. Sea kelp is the highest percentage for seaweed. If you want a good contact for Irish kelp pm me. It's 8 euro a kilo. And is top quality as the water is so pure here and tides are powerful, making for good seaweed..
I've been meaning to make liver treats, I should step up to the plate and do it, stinky house or no. If I get the word out that I'm looking for liver before all of my friends go hunting this year I might get lucky.

seaweed/kelp is interesting to me. I actually drink a small shot (powdered form mixed w/water) of a seaweed blend every morning. It looks like green sludge and doesn't smell the greatest, but I haven't caught a cold or the flu in two years, even when winter germs circulate around the office.

I just held out my green morning mug to Tica, she sniffed, winced, and walked away (ha...). Maybe powdered, lightly sprinkled on food.

------

You guys are a wealth of info and ideas, thank you thank you.
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