Do all diabetic dogs develop cataracts? Essential Tips

Case Advice or Arranging a Referral

If you would like to discuss a case with one of our team, or require pre-referral advice about a patient, please call 01883 741449. Alternatively, to refer a case, please use the online referral form

If you would like to receive regular guidance and advice from the NDSR Specialist team, please sign up to our Veterinary Professionals Members Area

Incipient cataracts are the beginning stages of cataract formation. You may see a slight clouding of the eye, though overall vision shouldnt be affected too noticeably. If the clouding increases, or if you notice behavior changes in your dog due to sight loss, it may be a signal that the cataract has moved beyond the incipient stage.

If your dogs vision is seriously affected by a cataract, visit a veterinarian right away. If the cataract is a result of diabetes, its possible to reverse the progress by changing your dogs diet and insulin intake. If the cataract has progressed far enough, surgery is also an option. Its important though to undergoe surgery sooner rather than later–a mature or hyper-mature cataract is much more difficult to treat.

In the past we have heard that it is inevitable and owners need to learn to live with a blind dog. However, top notch diabetic pet owners can try to fight the process by managing their diabetic pet closely. Perhaps we are on the cusp of new therapies that may at least delay the onset of diabetic cataracts in dogs.

I recently met a non-diabetic patient with cataracts. He was on a supplement from another veterinarian for his cataracts. I made a mental note to myself to research this as soon as possible. I hoped perhaps there had been some breakthrough I hadn’t heard of. My med search came up empty. Despite claims for various supplements, there is still no proven medical treatment that removes cataracts. Surgery is still the only treatment to remove cataracts.

Last year we discussed the formation of cataracts in diabetic dogs. Unfortunately, about 75% of diabetic dogs will develop cataracts within the first 2 years of diagnosis of diabetes and eventually most diabetic dogs will develop cataracts.

It makes sense that if we achieve good glycemic control the onset of cataract formation would be delayed. Unfortunately, this is not always the case, and once a cataract starts it seems to mature rapidly in diabetics. I am so thankful that we now have such wonderfully simple blood glucose meters available that require miniscule amounts of blood. These user friendly monitors allow diabetic pet owners to do home glucose monitoring with great accuracy. Our ability to regulate these diabetic pets is much less expensive and much more accurate than when a pet needed to go to the vet clinic for a day of glucose checks. If we keep the blood glucose levels near the normal range, we have a better chance of delaying diabetic cataracts.

NOTE: Consult your veterinarian to confirm that my recommendations are applicable for the health needs of your pet.

Cataracts In Dogs: 3 New Natural Remedies

Most diabetic dogs will develop cataracts and go blind. This FAQ is designed to assist the owners of diabetic dogs in knowing what to expect and to make decisions regarding cataract surgery.

A cataract is an opacity in the lens of the eye. The entire lens may be involved or just a part of it. The patient will not be able to see through the opacity.