Jakarta, West Java Indonesia (PressExposure) December 24, 2010 -- Cataracts in dogs generally has a genetic base or can also be caused by diabetes. While geriatric dogs develop Nuclear Sclerosis - hardening of the lens - cataracts in dogs can occur at any age and may develop either slowly over years or aggressively over weeks. Just like in human, cataract in dogs can occur in one or both eyes.
When the dogs turn blind, cataract surgery for dogs can make a significant life quality improvement, however this type of surgery can't be done on all ages or breeds. A study held at the Moscow Helmholtz Research Institute for Eye Diseases showed that 1% concentration of NAC (N-Acetylcarnosine) was able to pass from the eyes cornea to the aqueous humor after about 15 to 30 minutes of application. Aqueous humor is the limpid fluid found within the eyeball between the cornea and the lens.
NAC can help cataract dogs to get a better vision by slowly reducing the cataractous tissues in the lens. This "snow melting effect" happens when NAC is deacetylated (loses its acetyl group) and transforms into carnosine, which then acts as an antioxidant and against glycation in the lens.
The advantages of using NAC over cataract surgery for dogs:
- NAC is cheap. Cataract surgery is expensive because it requires a highly advanced training and expertise of a certified veterinary as well as specialized equipment.
- Cataract surgery also leaves scar tissue which may slightly reduce the dog's vision
- Dogs with cataract surgery may need anti-inflammatory or painkillers for dogs for several weeks or even lifetime following the surgery.
A study on 30 dogs of varying breeds and ages was made by David L. Williams and Patricia Munday from Dept. of Veterinary Medicine, University of Cambridge Madingley Road, Cambridge, CB3 OES, England, UK. Dogs were treated three times daily with topical 2% N-acetyl carnosine in a buffered vehicle containing the antioxidants glutathione, cysteine ascorbate, L-taurine and riboflavin (OcluVet,Practivet, Phoenix, AZ, USA). All dogs were examined prior to treatment and at 2, 4 and 8 weeks during treatment, by direct and indirect ophthalmoscopy and slit-lamp biomicroscopy after pharmacologic pupil dilation. Out of 30 examined dogs, 100% showed measurable reduction of Nuclear Sclerosis, 92% showed measurable reduction of Immature Cataract, 66% showed measurable reduction of Mature cataract and 77% showed measurable reduction of other cataracts. Total measurable cataract reduction on all dogs is 82%.
Multi-Veterinarian/Multi-Veterinary Clinic Study Data gathered from 23 hospitals in different geographical locations across the United States gave 83% measurable cataract reduction on 64 dogs, similar to the previous study above.
Since the cost of cataract surgery for dog (per eye) can easily buy 20 to 25 bottles of the NAC solution, people have another option to deal with cataract in dogs.