Prevalence of primary breed-related cataracts in the dog in North America

Vet Ophthalmol. 2005 Mar-Apr;8(2):101-11. doi: 10.1111/j.1463-5224.2005.00352.x.


The objective of the study was to determine the prevalence of cataracts in dogs presented to veterinary medical teaching hospitals in North America between 1964 and 2003. A retrospective study of all dogs presented with cataracts to veterinary medical teaching hospitals in North America between 1964 and 2003 was conducted to determine cataract prevalence. The different decades, breeds, gender, and age at time of presentation with cataract were compared. The prevalence of dogs presented with cataract varied by decade and ranged from 0.95% (1964-73), 1.88% (1974-83), 2.42% (1994-2003), to 3.5% (1984-93). The total number of dogs presented with cataracts over the 40-year period was 39,229. From 1964 to 2003 the prevalence of cataract formation in this patient population increased by about 255%. Fifty-nine breeds of dogs were affected with cataracts above the baseline prevalence of 1.61% seen in mixed-breed/hybrid dogs. The breeds with the highest cataract prevalence included: Smooth Fox Terrier (11.70%), Havanese (11.57%), Bichon Frise (11.45%), Boston Terrier (11.11%), Miniature Poodle (10.79%), Silky Terrier (10.29%) and Toy Poodle (10.21%). The breeds with the largest number of cataractous dogs during the entire four decades were the Boston Terrier (11.11%), Miniature Poodle (10.79%), American Cocker Spaniel (8.77%), Standard Poodle (7.00%), and Miniature Schnauzer (4.98%). Gender ratios of cataractous dogs seemed to affect limited breeds. Age of presentation with cataract diagnosis varied among several breeds. In the mixed-breed/hybrid baseline population, cataract formation appeared to be age related with a higher frequency of cataract formation in dogs after 4-7 years. Cataract formation is one of the most prevalent eye diseases in the dog population, and in about 60 breeds of dogs the prevalence of cataract exceeds that of the baseline mixed-breed/hybrid group. The prevalence of cataract is also influenced by age in most purebred dogs and affects 16.80% of the 7-15+-year-old mixed-breed/hybrid dog population. Total and age-related cataract prevalence in dogs seems very similar to that in man.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cataract / epidemiology
  • Cataract / veterinary*
  • Dog Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Dog Diseases / etiology
  • Dog Diseases / genetics
  • Dogs
  • Female
  • Male
  • North America / epidemiology
  • Pedigree
  • Prevalence