my 6y.o. boston terrier was just diagnosed with immature cataracts in both eyes. the opthamologist said she doesn't need surgery yet, but will in the future. he wants to see her back in 4-6mos to check the progression, but he wasn't saying that she would 100% need the surgery then either. this leads me to my 2 questions:
1.)is it really necesary to bring her in every 6 mos until who knows when ($120 a visit for check and 3hr drive round trip), at which point he'll tell me she needs the $3000 surgery
2.)what's the success rate of the surgery? $3000 is A LOT of money for something that's not guaranteed to work. but what's the alternative? let her go blind for certain? i would rather take the chance on surgery.
so is there anyone out there who's ran into this? what did you decide to do and why did you decide it? are you pleased with your decision? TIA!
You can get a lot of data if you know exactly what kind of cataracts they are, and if she came from a good breeder I'd call the breeder first. If they're breed-specific cataracts, she or he will know the normal course in the breed. If you are without breeder help, I'd probably check on it yearly unless you notice an obvious change in her sight.
I don't know of alternatives to surgery, but maybe someone else on the board does.
they are indeed breed specific hereditary cataracts. i don't think heidi came from a very good breeder. we adopted her from an elderly couple when she was 8mos old. they thought they were getting a lap dog. bostons aren't exactly mild mannered lap dogs, but they're great if you can give them the right amount of exercise. heidi has bad teeth, very bad allergies, and now the cataracts. it's a good thing she's so cute and loveable--makes up for all the health problems!
I worked with a very good veterinary opthamoligist for a few years. I will say that success depends VERY much on the surgeon, so I would do some looking around to ensure that the optho you're seeing is indeed the best in your area. I'd contact a few boston breeders who ARE good to ensure that. If you are going through the university, specify, in writing that you do not want a resident or student doing the surgery--I know they have to learn, but cataract surgery is one of those things where the more you've done the better you are.
As far as alternatives, there really aren't any.
As far as how often you should need to see the optho, if he's far away, ask your vet if he feels comfortable evaluating your dog every 6 mos and then you can see the optho if you actually find a problem.
This is the optho that I worked with and Joe is amazing--so much so that if he was in detroit I would make the trip to see him, so it's something you may consider if you're not comfortable with the optho you are seeing now. I know Joe has pioneered many of the newer techniques for cataract removal.
You will see on that page that he has a link to information on cataracts.
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