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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 18150
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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My toy poodle is 10 years old and has been blind since the

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My toy poodle is 10 years old and has been blind since the age of 6 due to retinol atrophy and then subsequently cataracts have occurred. I have been to the vets today and been told that he now has anterior lens luxation which will require surgery. I will attend a specialist appointment asap to find out more. My question following researching this condition is due to the fact my dog is already blind (and obviously operating will not be about preserving his sight) will removal of both lenses be the right thing as opposed to removing the whole eyes. After the lenses are removed will there be more secondary conditions to follow which could lead to the removal of the eyes anyway?
Hello, my name isXXXXX and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian. I'm sorry to hear that your fellow developed retinal atrophy and subsequent cataracts and lens luxations.

Because he is already blind removal of his lenses will be a procedure that will make him more comfortable and reduce the chances of painful glaucoma developing. But enucleation of his eyes will do the same thing for him.
The difference is purely cosmetic in that removal of his lenses will allow him to still have his eyes, whereas some people find the look of enucleated eyes upsetting.

After removing his lenses he will need postoperative care, eye drops to decrease the chance of secondary infection and inflammation which could predispose to glaucoma developing as well as pain medication. He will need to be checked periodically to make sure he isn't developing uveitis or glaucoma.

After enucleation he will need pain medication, care of the incisions and a recheck for suture removal. But after that there is no need to worry about uveitis or glaucoma developing so long term care isn't an issue.

If cosmetic appearance isn't important then I would probably recommend that you consider enucleation versus lens removal.

Please let me know if you have any further questions.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Removal of the eyes was not discussed with the vet today only the explanation about the lens removal. Obviously I will now go along to the specialist as recommended but wanted to understand more about the options so as to ask the right questions following the consultation. I am concerned about the aftercare following the lens removal and knowing Jimmy he is likely to develop some kind of secondary condition as we seem to live at the vets bless him! Would it be right to ask for the option of full eye removal to be an option in the hope that he can be relatively pain free with reduced need for after care? Also not that money is particularly an issue and he is fully insured luckily I have no idea what these procedures may cost?

Many people are put off by enucleation and the way their dog's face looks without eyes, so that may be why your veterinarian didn't discuss it. But practically speaking if he is already blind he has nothing to gain by keeping his eyes. Postoperative inflammation and secondary uveitis which can progress to glaucoma are certainly possibilities with lens removal, so that would be what I would discuss with the ophthalmologist. And it is absolutely fine to then bring up enucleation as an alternative. It will be less work and decrease Jimmy's need for long term care.
Expense-wise an enucleation should be significantly cheaper. The equipment needed for lens removal is very expensive, and maintenance fees on those machines are also expensive, so fees for their use are understandably high.
I think if you discuss enucleation as a way to prevent complications and the need for long term medications for Jimmy they will be very honest with you.

Best of luck with your fellow, please let me know how the appointment goes.
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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you so much for your help. At the end of the day I just do not want Jimmy to suffer unnecessarily. He already copes remarkably well with the blindness and now I feel it is so important to make the right decision for the long term as I would not be able to put him through numerous procedures and see him suffer! I feel more enabled to go to the specialist and initiate a full discussion and have gained a greater understanding of the after effects of both options. Thank you Elaine x

Elaine, you are very welcome. I am glad I could give you the tools you need for a rational discussion. I admire you for thinking of what will make him more comfortable long term rather then how he will look. A comfortable dog is a happy dog, and they are all beautiful when they are happy. Let me know how things go, thanks, Dr. Kara.