Canine Cataract Treatment for Diabetic Dogs

Diabetic dogs will often develop cataracts due to the diabetes. Because of the fluctuation in blood sugars, cataracts will develop at varying rates depending upon the diabetic control and your dog’s individual body. Treatment varies based upon the maturity of the cataract and expense.

Cataract Development

Diabetic dogs develop cataracts because of the elevated sugars in their system. The lens of the eye requires fluids to be absorbed and when it takes in the fluids with elevated sugars, the sugars in turn inhibit the lens from absorbing additional fluids. As this continues, the lens crystallizes and becomes opaque, preventing vision in the affected eye.

Treating Developing Cataracts

In the early stages of cataracts a dog typically will not require treatment unless you have decided to have the cataracts removed. Immature cataracts typically do not cause problems aside from limiting the dog’s visual ability. During this period it is important not to move furnishings in the home so your dog can become used to their locations and learn how to navigate the home without running into things.

Surgical removal of the cataracts is a second option in treating immature cataracts. While there are cataract drops available that can help dissolve the cataracts, these drops are not effective in the treatment of diabetic cataracts. Surgery incorporates either the removal of the complete lens or phacoemulsification, a procedure that breaks up the lens into tiny pieces and suctions them out of the eye. While surgery can have complications and only diabetic dogs under good control are candidates for surgery, cataract surgery does have an almost 90% success rate in the return of functional vision.

Treating Mature Cataracts

Allowing the dog to remain blind is the first of two options. Dogs can adjust to blindness and learn to maneuver through their world using other senses such as hearing and smell. While they will occasionally bump into things, they quickly adjust to their environment. If your dog will remain blind, it is important to avoid moving household furnishings in order to minimize your dog bumping into things and having to relearn his way around the home.

Removing the cataracts through surgery is the second option. While removing cataracts once mature can have a higher level of complications than removing immature cataracts, the success rate of restoring vision to your dog is also high.

Treating Hypermature Cataracts

Hypermature cataracts are those that have progressed to a point where they are actually starting to liquefy and dissolve. Not all canine cataracts advance to this point, but once they do, the liquefaction process often creates painful inflammation in the eye that causes symptoms such as redness of the eye and constriction of the pupil. Using eye drops as recommended by a veterinary ophthalmologist can relieve the discomfort caused by this condition.

Cataracts are often a complication caused by canine diabetes. Proper treatment can keep your diabetic dog comfortable and can return his vision, depending upon the option you choose. While not everyone can afford cataract surgery for their dog, dogs can continue to effectively function even though blind. The important thing is to ensure he is free from discomfort and a good quality of life is maintained.