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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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  1. NannyOgg

    Sorry to hear. As an insulin diabetic myself I have very deep respect of people who look after animals with it. Hope Contessa is adapting. Animals seem to be amazing at accepting so much hardship as long as they know they are loved as so obviously she is.

  2. Poor Contessa…I feel for her, they are such beautiful little dogs, I fell in love with them the first time I saw them, just couldn’t believe how tiny they are.

  3. Herbal Product

    It is very depressing situation seeing your pet or an animal suffer; and you don’t know what the problem is all about. Sometimes I wish they could speak or we could better understand them. Poor Contessa. I wish she gets well soon!

  4. Your poor Contessa, I hope she adjusts, she has a good life (except for Inca’s dive bombing, they sense when another is weak)

  5. The Liquineer

    I have every sympathy with Contessa, having catarcts in both eyes played havoc with my vision- a nice surgeon has corrected that for me to the extent I don’t wear glasses for anything but close work now e.g. typing this

  6. Michelle from Oregon

    When I met Madame Contessa (oh, don’t I sound snazzy!) I was struck with how much confidence she has. Poor dear, I’m sure its a blow.
    My Honey had one eye removed because of a tumor, and the other has a cataract. She has adjusted, it takes time, but she uses her other senses more and more. I’d be willing to bet you will find her doing more smelling around and her hearing will probably sharpen up as well.
    Please give her a cuddle for me, heaven knows that’s the only way she’d get one, she didn’t let me touch her when I was there! 8)

  7. Tanya @ Lovely Greens

    Poor Contessa…it’s so heartbreaking to see an animal suffering and not knowing what’s going on. Our little Louis had an accident a couple of days ago and had to have seven stitches. We’re worried sick about him too 🙁

  8. veronica

    aw, poor little sweetie! I hope the vet can do something, but if not I am sure that with care and cuddles she will adapt! My mother had a cat who went blind in his old age. He would still roam the garden and even successfully jump onto the fence because he knew the environment so well. Having a familiar and safe environment is key.

  9. Poor Contessa, how confusing it must have been for her when it happens.

  10. Eye problems and blindness are common in humans with diabetes too. It is something I am trying to manage myself.

    Do they do cataract operations for animals yet? I know when my 90 year old MIL had hers done in both eyes it was like taking 30 years off her age!

    Hope you find an answer x

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