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Cataracts are a common side effect of diabetes in dogs

The Contessa snoozing in her basket on the sofa

The Contessa snoozing in her basket on the sofa

The Contessa has diabetes which is being treated with daily insulin injections and a special diet. She has adapted well and loved jumping on the chair for her ‘jecky’ as it’s followed by a scrap of cheddar cheese. Then one day she jumped onto the chair and missed.

I checked her eyes carefully, her nut brown eyes were smudged with milky cataracts.

The Contessa’s cataracts developed very quickly. Seemingly in just a matter of days she changed from a dog with the grace and agility of a tiny gazelle to a nervous and uncertain waif – bumping into furniture and creeping onto our laps for comfort.

Of course Inca made matters worse by dive bombing her when she went into the garden.

Fly, our first Min Pin, developed cataracts when he got older. But these progressed slowly giving him time to get acquainted with the ins and outs of being blind. As the only dog in the household he had no chance of jumping onto a sofa where another Min Pins was already snoozing.

A quick search on the Internet informed me that the development of cataracts is a common side effect of diabetes in dogs. And yes, it can happen very quickly. If you notice that your dog has suddenly developed cataracts it’s important to visit your vet as soon as possible. Cataracts can often be dealt with relatively easily if caught early.

We are waiting for a referral to The Animal Health Trust. Meanwhile she is adjusting very quickly to her loss of sight. If I pat the sofa, she knows that it’s safe to jump onboard. She is happy on the stairs and is lifted onto my bed at night where she curls beside my head to sleep. I must admit I’m marvelling at her ability to cope. She’s even started playing with us again – a tiny paw placed on one of our feet indicates that she needs to play NOW!

At 12 years old she may live for quite a few more years. We are hoping that something can be done about the cataracts but if not that she quickly adjusts to her condition. Meanwhile we are trying to keep the furniture in exactly the same place and giving her loads of cuddles and reassurance. She’s a grand old lady after all.


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16 Comments

  1. Oh noo, poor puppy! Thank goodness you’ve noticed, though. I hope everything goes well at the vet’s. x

  2. I’m sorry to hear about your little dog! About 15 years ago the same thing happened to our dog. He was a different dog afterward as he had to be more careful but he adapted very well. He lived happily for several more years (got it at 11 years old. He became best friends with the cat who was also old and partially deaf and they would roam around relying on each other.

    Take care! You little doggie is quite brave and resilient!

  3. Fiona Nevile

    Thank you everyone for your supportive comments.

    Contessa is getting used to her condition. She was bouncing on my bed like a wild thing this morning. She is also keeping Inca in her place.

    She did join the others when they discovered a hedgehog in the shrubbery the other night. Hedgehog removed to a place of safety.

  4. mary beth

    Forgot to add… Frisky is now more than Frisky! She is very well fed – shiny red coat – perfect health (besides the cataracts) and living a marvelous late life!

  5. mary beth

    Has brought tears to my eyes… I acquired my mom’s dog 5 years ago after her (mom’s) passing. Frisky was a recovered stray… tied to a post and left in the heat of 90 degrees. My mom’s later years were not the best for Frisky- when I brought her to my home (with 2 150# rescue dog’s) her stools were pure white (liver problem) and her coat was thin and lackluster. She is now going on 16 – severe cataracts developing the last year but she is amazing and knowing how to get around and stay protected from my little horses!! (Dog’s) Your baby will be just fine with your love and attention. Best!

  6. oh good luck! I hope she’ll be fine soon.

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