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Nuclear Sclerosis in Dogs and Cats

Nuclear Sclerosis in Dogs and Cats

Nuclear Sclerosis, also known as Lenticular Sclerosis, occurs in older pets and causes the eyes to look cloudy. Although these changes may look scary, this is actually a normal ageing change. 

The lens of the eye gives the eye the ability to focus on objects by transmitting light to the retina at the back of the eye.  It is made up of tissue fibres that are normally clear. But as pets get older, more fibres come together in the lens and as the fibres become denser, the lens becomes more opaque, giving the eye a blue-grey sheen. 

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Who is affected?

Any aging pet can be affected by Nuclear Sclerosis but according to PetSure data from the 2020 calendar year it was most prevalent in the following breeds:

Breed  Prevalence
Shih Tzu  0.19%
Australian Silky Terrier  0.19%
Fox terrier Smooth 0.14%
Poodle-Standard  0.10%
Maltese 0.09%
Toy Poodle 0.07%
Bichon Frise 0.05%
Beagle 0.04%
Whippet 0.04%
German Short-haired Pointer 0.04%

Prevalence = Total number of unique claiming pets / total number of insured pets across 12-month period. Excludes breeds with less than 500 active pet insurance policies.

Signs of Nuclear Sclerosis

Often the first sign of Nuclear Sclerosis is a blueish or cloudy haze in both eyes. It might look like it comes and goes but this can be due to the lens changing size in different light. It can be easy to mix up Nuclear sclerosis with cataracts, but your Vet will be able to examine your pets eyes and advise you.

Generally, pets with Nuclear Sclerosis don’t have significant vision loss, so if you think your pet might be having problems seeing, get in touch with your Vet straight away as something more serious could be going on. 

Management of Nuclear Sclerosis

Generally, there is no specific treatment for Nuclear Sclerosis, and management is about having regular check-ups of the eyes to make sure that no other problems are developing behind the scenes, such as cataracts. 

How much does it cost to treat Nuclear Sclerosis? 

PetSure claims data from the 2020 calendar year show the average single treatment for Nuclear Sclerosis was $134, and the highest single treatment $396. 

Disclaimer: Reimbursement for these claims would be subject to limits, such as annual benefit limits or sub-limits, benefit percentage, applicable waiting periods and any applicable excess. Cover is subject to the policy terms and conditions. You should consider the relevant Product Disclosure Statement or policy wording available from the relevant provider.

References

  1. Davis, R, 2021, Cataract, VINCYCLOPEDIA OF DISEASES, accessed on 8/7/21 
  2. Clode, A, Differentiating Nuclear Sclerosis From Cataracts, Clinician’s Brief, 2016, accessed on 08/07/2021

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Kylie Mitchell is a veterinarian with over 17 years experience in animal health and welfare, including in the veterinary and pet insurance industries

She has three rescue cats (Noah, Bei Bei and Meeka), four very old cockatiels and a pond-full of fish.

Kylie's pets

Noah
Noah
Bei Bei
Bei Bei
Meeka
Meeka