Canine Diabetes and Cataracts

No matter how well you and the veterinarian care for your pet, it is very likely that the dog will develop cataracts.

Many times, cataracts have already developed by the time the diabetes is diagnosed.

Many diabetic dogs go blind, even if the diabetes is carefully treated. Cataracts cause the lens of the dog's eye to turn white. When this happens, the light cannot pass through the lens, and your dog becomes blind.

Caratacts develop in a diabetic dog because high blood glucose levels cause water to build up in the lens of the eye, leading to swelling, rupture of the lens fibers, and the development of cataracts.

The cataract development cannot be reversed once it begins.

This condition is almost unavoidable in dogs with diabetes, but take heart: blind dogs can get around quite nicely, especially in a familiar home and yard setting. In many cases, the cataracts can be surgically removed to bring sight back to the dog. Vision is restored in 75 to 80 percent of diabetic dogs that undergo cataract removal.

However, some dogs may stay blind even after the cataracts are gone, and some cataracts simply cannot be removed.

In humans a common cause of diabetes-related blindness is retinopathy, but in dogs this condition is rare. 

Around 75 to 80 percent of diabetic dogs can have their vision restored by removal of the cataracts. So, when the cataracts appear, deal with your pet's vision problem but do not blame yourself or the veterinarian. If your diabetic dog does not form cataracts, it is a lucky animal indeed.


The BD Diabetes Learning Center describes the causes of diabetes, its symptoms, and diabetes complications such as retinopathy and neuropathy. This site contains detailed information about blood glucose monitoring, insulin injection and safe sharps disposal. Interactive quizzes, educational literature downloads and animated demonstrations help to teach diabetes care skills.

Important Note: The content of this website is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Do not disregard your doctor's advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read in this website.

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