You Make The Diagnosis: Cloudy Eyes in a Dog

Several months ago, I performed an annual exam on a lovely Chihuahua mix.  This handsome boy let me look in his mouth, listen to his heart and feel his abdomen. Look at the picture below and then answer the following questions: What is wrong with this dog’s eyes? Does it affect his vision? List some of the common causes?

Cataracts close up

Diagnosis: Cataracts

Cataracts is the term used to describe cloudiness of the lens of the eye. When the condition is mild, the dog can still see through the lens although their vision is blurry. As the cataracts progress, less and less light is transmitted through the opaque lens resulting in blindness. Unfortunately, this dog is functionally blind from the cataracts but his owner reports he gets around well at home. Since he developed cataracts, they have been careful to keep everything the same in their house. The two most common causes of cataracts I see in practice are inherited, even in mixed breeds like this one and diabetes mellitus.


Published by kristennelsondvm

Dr. Kristen Nelson grew up on a farm in Watertown, Minn., where she developed a deep love for animals of all kinds. She received a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Minnesota, College of Veterinary Medicine. Kris then completed a small-animal internship at the prestigious Animal Medical Center in New York City. In addition to writing and speaking, she cares for small and exotic animals in Scottsdale, Az. Dr. Nelson is widely quoted in the media. Her credits include Ladies’ Home Journal, USA TODAY, the Los Angeles Times and numerous radio and television interviews. Dr. Nelson has written two books, Coated With Fur: A Vet’s Life and Coated With Fur: A Blind Cat’s Love. Kris and her husband Steve share their home with rescued cats, birds and a dog.