Canine cataracts: a nonsurgical solution looms on horizon

One of the most common eye problems in dogs is cataracts, and most are inherited, according to the American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation.

But a simple “solution” may be the answer.

A new study, published in Nature on July 30 by researchers at the University of California at San Diego, offers a nonsurgical alternative to cataracts: a steroid solution that dissolves them.

Researchers observed that children with a genetic alteration that causes cataracts did not produce lanosterol, a steroid in the body, reported The Foundation for Biomedical Research. 

So the researchers tested such a solution on three groups: in lab cultures, in the cataract lenses of rabbits, and in seven dogs from three breeds (black Labrador, Miniature Pinscher, and Queensland Heeler), reported CBS News. All the dogs had adult-onset cataracts.

The dogs were given the solution in either eye drops or eye injections, and within six days, all the dogs improved, reported The Foundation for Biomedical Research.

"This is a really comprehensive and compelling paper—the strongest I've seen of its kind in a decade," Jonathan A. King, PhD, a molecular biologist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology who researches cataract proteins, told Science magazine.

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