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Canine Diabetes And Cataracts In Dogs -- Your Dog's Sight Is At Risk

Updated on May 17, 2009
Darlene Norris profile image

Darlene Norris loves cats and dogs. She has worked as a vet assistant, and draws on this experience when she writes her hubs.

Dogs with canine diabetes usually develop cataracts within a year.
Dogs with canine diabetes usually develop cataracts within a year.

Did you know that most dogs with diabetes will develop cataracts in dogs and go blind within a year? This is a shocking fact that many dog owners are unaware of until it's too late to stop the process. Read on to learn more about why your diabetic dog will probably develop cataracts that will threaten his sight.

What Are Cataracts? And How Do They Form?

A cataract forms when the lens of the eye becomes cloudy and opaque, instead of remaining clear and transparent. Your diabetic dog can't see through a cloudy lens, and thus loses his sight.

The lens of the eye is normally is a somewhat dehydrated state, with a moisture level of 66 percent, compared to the rest of your dog's body, which is 98 percent water. As long as nothing happens to upset the delicate balance between water and protein in the eyeball, the lens will remain clear.

But if the balance is upset, more water will be absorbed into the lens, which causes the characteristic cloudiness and opacity seen with cataracts. Dogs with diabetes have high blood sugar levels. These high glucose levels affect every organ in the body, including the eyeball.  

The lens gets its nutrients and moisture from the eyeball. Excess glucose passes into the lens, which absorbs more water in an effort to dilute it. This is what causes cataracts to form, which leads to vision loss.

Cataracts in dogs can form very quickly, sometimes in as little time as a few weeks. The dog owners may not even be aware that there's a problem until their canine companion suddenly goes blind.

What Are The Treatment Options For Cataracts In Dogs?

Your vet can surgically remove the cataracts, which will usually restore your pet's vision. Cataract surgery is very expensive, though, and some pet owners can't afford the expense.  

Another option you may want to try is natural remedies for dogs. Bilberry is a close relative of the common blueberry. It's also an herb that's been used by healers for centuries to cure eye problems. Now scientific studies have shown that bilberries are a rich source of anthocyanins. These anthocyanins contain antioxidants that protect the eyes from damage.

Some herbalists believe that bilberry not only slows down the progression of cataracts, but may even reverse them. It certainly wouldn't hurt to try bilberry, especially if it's combined with goat's rue, astragalus, fenugreek, and chromium, which have all been proven to lower blood glucose levels in pets. 

You'll want to purchase your remedy from a company that has an excellent reputation for producing only the highest quality natural pet remedies. It's also important that the remedy is formulated especially for dogs and cats, not people. 

Before making any changes to your diabetic dog's treatment plan, always consult with your vet to prevent any problems with swings in your dog's blood sugar levels. Most vets these days are very open to alternative treatments, and yours will more than likely be happy to work with you. You'll want to let him or her know that these remedies are safe to use along with the insulin you may be giving your pet.

If your companion has canine diabetes, do him a favor, and give natural remedies for dogs a try. You may be surprised at the result.


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