So a funny thing that Henry likes to do (and probably most frenchies) is stand perfectly still and then run as fast as he can..like a rocket..from zero to sixty, Henry is off in a flash! A few weeks ago, we were visiting some friends and he did this very thing from the end of the yard and just ran right into the firepit in the middle of the yard. We checked on him, showered him with lots of love and he was okay although a little shaken.
Now it wasn’t very bright out but it was certainly unusual for him to run into an object like he did, and that was compounded when he bumped into my leg while I was wearing black pants, as if he hadn’t seen the leg at all. When we returned home we made an appointment to see Henry’s vet who checked him out and confirmed that he is developing cataracts.
We had to schedule an appointment to see an ophthalmologist to get Henry’s eyes checked by a specialist and they ran a series of tests while Henry begged for belly rubs. The diagnostic tests were a tear production management, measuring the intraocular pressure (IOP) and staining his eye with drops to evaluate the ocular surface.
Ultimately, Henry was diagnosed with early onset cataracts, and the only recourse is to perform surgery to remove the cataract, which blocks light from entering. However it would require putting him under general anesthesia which is always a little risky, especially for dogs like Henry who are flat-faced (brachycephalic) and can have respiratory issues. Also the surgery is only successful approximately 2/3 of the time…so with all this, our doctor recommended to keep an eye on things (no pun intended) to determine progression of the cataracts.
In dogs, the most common cause of cataract formation is genetics. The cataracts are inherited and can either be present at birth (congenital) or can develop later in life. The second most common cause of cataracts in dogs is diabetes. We ruled this out of Henry’s prognosis though.
Henry is still able to see but in the meantime we give him lots of love and attention, and try to make sure that there aren’t any dangerous items around, or many obstacles for him to run into. We also make sure when we’re walking him that he doesn’t walk into poles, or fall into a dip in the ground and hurt himself. We also leave a little night light on for him to see and have a ramp for him to use instead of stairs to the bed/couch.
Consider checking your dog for cataracts if you see a cloudy film in their eyes or if they are running into things as well. Henry is currently not in any discomfort but eventually we may consider surgery, although there is always a possibility the cataracts may not continue to worsen so for now we are monitoring things and Penny is helping her brother out whenever she can.