Cataracts and phacoemulsification in the Siberian Husky: A retrospective and multicentric study (2008–2018)

Lisa K. Uhl, Michala de Linde Henriksen, Søren Saxmose Nielsen, Anne J. Gemensky-Metzler, Lionel Sebbag, Jeffrey M. Todd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


PURPOSE: To compare cataract characteristics and complications related to cataracts and phacoemulsification in the Siberian Husky (Huskies) versus other canine breeds (non-Huskies).

ANIMALS: A total of 50 Huskies (92 eyes) and 96 non-Huskies (182 eyes) were evaluated.

METHODS: Medical records of Huskies (at four university veterinary hospitals, 2008-2018) and non-Huskies (Colorado State University, 2017-2018) diagnosed with cataracts were reviewed. Age of dog, cataract stage at presentation, and pre- and post-operative complications were recorded and analyzed.

RESULTS: Mean (±standard deviation) age at presentation was significantly lower in Huskies (3.5 ± 3.3 years) compared to non-Huskies (9.5 ± 2.9 years) (p < .0001). Huskies more commonly presented with hereditary cataracts than non-Huskies (84% versus 52%) and a significantly higher percentage of non-Huskies presented with diabetic cataracts than Huskies (48% versus 16%; p = .0001). Cataract stage at presentation did not differ between Huskies and non-Huskies. Phacoemulsification was performed in 40% (20 out of 50 dogs, 39 out of 92 eyes) of Huskies and 42% (40 out of 96 dogs, 74 out of 182 eyes) of non-Huskies. Pre-operative and post-operative retinal detachment were more common in Huskies than non-Huskies (13% versus 2% and 10% versus 1%, respectively) but the difference was not significant. Other post-operative complications occurred with similar frequency in both groups (p ≥ .17).

CONCLUSIONS: Huskies evaluated for cataracts were younger and less likely to present with diabetic cataracts than other canine breeds and, although not statistically significant, had a clinically important increased risk of retinal detachment pre- and post-phacoemulsification.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)252-264
Number of pages13
JournalVeterinary Ophthalmology
Issue number3
Early online dateMar 17 2021
StatePublished - May 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to acknowledge the ophthalmology technician, Melissa Boyd, for her help with data collection from the UMN-VMC cases.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists


  • Siberian husky
  • canine
  • cataract
  • phacoemulsification
  • retinal detachment

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Multicenter Study


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