Do all diabetic dogs go blind?

Most diabetic dogs will develop cataracts and go blind.

A: Our Boykin Spaniel, who is 16 years old, has been a member of the family for almost as long as we have. She attended the first day of first grade and the summer graduation of one of our sons.

Although she is still generally happy and healthy, she was given a diabetes diagnosis last year. She suddenly developed cataracts this month, and as a result, she is now completely blind. Our veterinarian advised us to consult a specialist to have the cataracts removed.

We are unable to do that given her age and our financial situation. My wife believes that we should put her to sleep if we aren’t going to do it. She has only recently become blind, but she seems content. What are your thoughts?.

A: Cataract formation in diabetic dogs is extremely common. In fact, even if their diabetes is well-managed, 90 to 95 percent of dogs with diabetes will develop cataracts within a year. Additionally, these cataracts typically progress much more quickly than cataracts brought on by aging. This causes inflammatory changes around the lens, which can lower the likelihood that surgery will be successful. As a result, many dogs in this situation either undergo surgery but have subpar results or never undergo surgery and remain blind.

Although they may have health issues, the blindness does not seem to be as much of a disability as one might think, according to the numerous of these dogs that I (Henri Bianucci) have seen over the years.

Age itself is not a disease, but growing older increases one’s risk of developing health issues like arthritis, cancer, or major organ failure. And while dogs are blissfully unaware of their own mortality and aging, humans may worry about these things.

This may seem like a no-brainer, but I recently received a call from a client who lamented that it was “time” for her to put her cat to sleep. I expressed my regret to her and enquired as to the issue. Her response floored me. He is 16, which is an advanced age for a cat, so I believe it is time. ” That was it. The cat was in perfect health, but its owner decided it was time for it to leave because it had crossed a certain threshold. The cat lived another three years after I was able to convince her otherwise.

Factors On Dogs Going Blind From Diabetes

Depending on how quickly you identify the illness and start treatment The sooner you start treating the illness, the less chance your puppy will develop blindness. How quickly you can get your dog’s blood glucose levels in a safe range will also be a factor. If your puppy is still able to see, we advise keeping the BG (Blood Glucose) numbers as close to 200 as you can. Get a meter and start testing your dog right away to figure out how to do that. Not only could knowing the locations of the numbers save your dog’s sight, but it will also spare you countless hours of worry and ultimately cost you a ton less money!

Diabetes results in diabetic cataracts, which means that the lens of the eye becomes cloudy and brittle as a result of sugar buildup. This is not the same condition as aging-related cataracts. Diabetic cataracts can be removed surgically, but once done, they won’t come back. This is so because during surgery a synthetic lens is placed, and glucose cannot adhere to the synthetic lens. Additionally, there are supplements that, if started soon after diagnosis, will protect your dog’s vision.

Diabetic dogs actually tend to have a better surgical success rate after cataract surgery than “normal” dogs with cataracts. The surgery is same-day surgery, with no overnight hospital stay. Both eyes are done at the same time. However, if cataract surgery is not possible, dogs usually adjust to their vision loss and are happy, as long as the eyes are comfortable. There are books and websites that can help your pet if vision loss is permanent: , and the book “ My Dog is Blind but Lives Life to the Full ” by Nicole Horsky.

Miniature Schnauzers are one breed that has a high risk of developing diabetes. This breed is more likely to experience pancreatitis, which raises triglyceride levels in the blood and increases the risk of developing diabetes. Miniature Schnauzers have a genetic predisposition to hyperlipidemia, which affects 20% or more of adult dogs, according to clinical studies. Some canines do not experience hyperlipidemia until they are 3–4 years old at the latest.

Diabetic dogs can live healthy lives. Unfortunately, cataracts (cloudy lenses) are a typical complication of canine diabetes. In fact, within nine months of receiving a diabetes diagnosis, 75% of dogs develop cataracts and become blind in both eyes. If left untreated, cataracts can cause Lens-Induced Uveitis (LIU), an intraocular inflammatory condition that harms the eyes by leading to glaucoma (increased intraocular pressure). It might not be possible to perform cataract surgery if the LIU is not controlled and glaucoma develops. Glaucoma causes a chronic headache (similar to a migraine). In the worst-case scenario, both eyes would need to be surgically removed due to rapid development of cataracts in both eyes, lens capsule rupture or split, severe LIU leading to glaucoma and excruciatingly painful intraocular inflammation (phacoclastic uveitis), and lens capsule split/rupture. This is a tragic result that should be avoided if at all possible. So, DO NOT DELAY seeing an ophthalmologist until your dog’s diabetes is under control!

If your diabetic dog is developing cataracts, you should seek immediate veterinary ophthalmologist attention as this is a serious ophthalmic emergency. Please ask your family veterinarian or go to the ACVO website to find a veterinary ophthalmologist nearby. In our article Cataracts and Cataract Surgery in Dogs, you can learn more about cataract surgery.

Another very important recommendation is that if your diabetic dog is started on a special canine antioxidant vision supplement called Ocu-GLO™ , BEFORE they develop cataracts, blindness can be prevented in many of these dogs. A 2012 clinical study in Great Britain found that diabetic dogs supplemented daily with Ocu-GLO™ did not develop blinding cataracts over a one-year period. This has also been Dr. McCalla’s clinical experience with Ocu-GLO™ supplementation in diabetic dogs, as long as the diabetes remains well-controlled.

Common Cause of Blindness in Dogs

Although there are numerous potential causes of vision loss, medical issues are the main contributor to canine blindness. The following are a few of the most typical health conditions that cause vision loss in pets:

Vision loss from diabetes is one of the leading causes of blindness in dogs. Diabetes is more common than you may think. 1 in 10 dogs will become diabetic in their lifetime, and 75% of diabetic dogs will eventually go blind. Most dogs with diabetes will quickly see changes in vision and formation of cataracts after becoming diabetic.

Within five to six months of a diagnosis, affected dogs frequently lose their vision. Complete vision loss due to diabetes can occur within 48 hours of the onset of the first symptom.

Glaucoma is a painful condition that causes pressure to build up in one or both eyes. Although glaucoma can be treated when caught early, it will lead to blindness if untreated. 40% of dogs with glaucoma will end up blind within the first year of diagnosis.

Cataracts are common in both humans and pets. Cataracts develop into a cloudy film over the eye as pets age. Cataracts in dogs typically grow slowly and are treatable, but if left untreated, they can cause vision loss.

PRA is an inherited condition where cells in the retina deteriorate, causing blindness. Although not painful, Progressive Retinal Atrophy affects both of a dog’s eyes. PRA is a degenerative condition with no cure, although, with medication, you may be able to slow down the process.


What percentage of dogs with diabetes go blind?

In their lifetime, 1 in 10 dogs will develop diabetes, and 75% of diabetic dogs will eventually lose their vision. After developing diabetes, the majority of dogs experience vision changes and the development of cataracts quickly. Within five to six months of a diagnosis, affected dogs frequently lose their vision.

How do I stop my diabetic dog from going blind?

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  1. Diabetic dogs can live healthy lives. …
  2. A special canine antioxidant vision supplement called Ocu-GLOTM should be given to your diabetic dog BEFORE they develop cataracts. This will help prevent blindness in many of these dogs.

How long can a dog live with diabetes and blindness?

The median lifespan for diabetic dogs is two years, but many of them live significantly longer if they receive the right care and are regularly examined by a veterinarian. Therefore, when given the right care, dogs with diabetes generally lead happy, full lives free of symptoms.

Do all diabetic dogs get cataracts?

Sadly, dogs who have diabetes are more likely to develop cataracts, and 80% of diabetics lose their vision within a year of their diagnosis. If untreated, diabetic cataracts can have devastating effects on the eye because they develop quickly.