Diabetes mellitus is a common cause for cataracts in dogs. Studies suggest that 68-75 percent of diabetic dogs will develop cataracts within one year of diabetes diagnosis. Many diabetic dogs will develop cataracts and will go blind. Cataracts do not necessarily imply poor control of diabetics. Even well-regulated dogs can also get cataracts.
The symptoms of cataracts developing are not always as clear as you might expect, especially if they develop slowly over a long period of time. You might notice:
- Cloudiness, or grey tinge in your dog’s eye(s)-you can find this only when light hits the eye at a certain angle, or if you take a picture of your dog.
- Loss of sight, particularly in low light conditions-this can be very difficult to notice because it mostly develops slowly and most dogs are very good at adapting by using their hearing and sense of smell instead.
- Pain – cataracts are not painful, but some of the fundamental conditions that cause them are (e.g., eye injury or glaucoma).
Medical treatments have been falsely marketed as effective for the treatment of cataracts. There is no established medical procedure that can reverse or slow down the process or prevent the development of a cataract. In fact, some promoted agents worsen cataracts rather than improve the condition. Surgery is the only known cure for both animals and humans, and also provides pets with a restoration to usable vision.
The most important thing you can do for your dog is to carefully control their appetite, water intake, energy level, and urine production. More regular (daily) blood glucose monitoring is indicated at the start of insulin therapy. Gluco-meters are highly advanced, need only one drop of blood, and are comfortably sized and portable. They are small enough to take you on-the-go, and they can be used anywhere at any time, based on your comfort level. Daily monitoring may also help you prevent long-term health problems that could arise from the condition.