Daisy the Shih Tzu was 9-years-old when she was diagnosed with Diabetes. In just a few short months, she developed diabetic cataracts and went completely blind as a result of her disease. “It changed her life,” according to Daisy’s dad, Chris. “She was afraid to go anywhere or do anything. So, she would cower in the corner for most of the day.” Chris was referred to Dr. Martha Low, board-certified veterinary ophthalmologist at CARES. Dr. Low performed bilateral cataract surgery to remove the cataracts in Daisy’s eyes. “I looked into this excessively to make sure there were no unnecessary risks,” says Chris. “Daisy had the surgery and came home the same day. We noticed she started walking around without bumping into things. Then, in just 2 weeks, when her eyes had healed more, Daisy was looking at us, directly at our faces! She was going up and down steps, jumping over things and acting like a puppy! Daisy is thoroughly enjoying life now. This was a great decision for Daisy and I would recommend this surgery with Dr. Low, a million times over!”
Almost 80% of dogs will develop cataracts within one year after being diagnosed with Diabetes. Diabetic cataracts can develop rapidly, causing your pet to lose vision, sometimes as quickly as overnight. Not only are cataracts blinding, but they can also cause inflammation inside of the eyes (uveitis). This inflammation can make your pet’s eyes uncomfortable and can also cause their diabetes to be more difficult to control.
The best way to prevent serious eye complications, including permanent blindness, is with early cataract surgery. Ideally, surgery is done shortly after your pet loses vision to minimize complications. The success rate with early surgery is 90%, sometimes even higher. Even if surgery is not an option for you, or your pet, a board-certified veterinary ophthalmologist will likely be able to keep your dog comfortable and happy with a variety of eye drops.
Watch your dog for any squinting, redness, discharge or tearing, cloudiness or haziness of the eye, or any vision changes. If you notice any of these signs, your pet may be developing an eye problem and immediate evaluation by a board-certified veterinary ophthalmologist is recommended.