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February 22, 2008 6:23 PM   Subscribe

My dog may have the beetus. What do I do?

My 10 year old pointer mix recently developed a cataract very quickly in his right eye. We were at the vet's last week for it. He said that most often geriatric cataracts develop bilaterally but with one coming up so fast (really, it was like 10 days from clear eye to obstructed) that it may be canine diabetes. We talked about it and he hasn't shown any of the other behaviors associated with diabetic dogs. For now I'm going to order Diastix and check his urine and also get a Glucopet meter to see if his blood sugar is out of whack. He just finished off a bag of Nutro Venison and Rice for his itchy skin, which did help it. So now I'm shopping for a new bag of food. So recommendations on food are requested as well as general advice for having a diabetic dog.

Another note, cataract surgery generally isn't done on dogs unless they have obstructed vision in both eyes and usually is only done to one eye because the cost is about 1500/eye. This is an option for us if it comes to that. His other eye is clear.
posted by pieoverdone to Pets & Animals (7 answers total)
Response by poster: One more thing, other than the gimp eye and some itchy skin, which has cleared up, he's very healthy and active.
posted by pieoverdone at 6:30 PM on February 22, 2008

A canine cataract is usually a long-term complication of canine diabetes. If your dog had been diabetic long enough to develop a cataract, I would assume you'd have noticed other symptoms. Maybe ask your vet for some other testing and/or get a second opinion.
posted by amyms at 7:07 PM on February 22, 2008

Response by poster: When I look at the symptoms, he hasn't exhibited any of these. His food and water intake are normal, he's not sluggish, his activitity is normal, and he has no other health problems.
posted by pieoverdone at 7:17 PM on February 22, 2008

Then you should definitely seek a second opinion.
posted by amyms at 7:20 PM on February 22, 2008

Dogs are a frequently used animal in studying diabetes. I'd guess that you could buy a blood-glucose meter at the pharmacy for $20 and screen him for high BG a few hours after eating. Normal for them is very close to normal for us. I'd bet that glycosylated hemoglobin works pretty much the same in dogs also, that would be a pretty cheap definitive answer.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 8:01 PM on February 22, 2008

Several years ago my 10-yr old dog woke me in the middle of the night. She couldn't stand up, she kept sliding to the ground or falling over. I had suspected that it was a sugar thing so I gave her some food with a little bit of sugar in it, and within a half hour she was fine. It happened again a few weeks later, and she was diagnosed with the diabetes. I had to give her 2 shots a day, and maintain a fairly strict high-fiber diet. As hard as I tried to test her urine and keep her blood sugar regulated, it's not that easy to do. She never had another episode of passing out after the diet change and the insulin. Eventually she went blind and had many "accidents", but she was a happy dog until she died at 14.
Most of everything I had read indicated that dogs generally don't make it past 6 months with diabetes. I'm glad that she stuck around as long as she did, and I still miss her.

But like amyms said, the eye problems are a long term thing, and if your dog is not drinking/urinating excessively, I'd get a second opinion. But it sounds like you're doing what you should, the test strips are a great idea. Make sure you have some Karo syrup around for emergencies, if the dog is going towards a reaction, give him a Tbsp. I never needed it, but it's good to have it handy.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 9:20 PM on February 22, 2008

Diabetes in dogs is fairly easy to manage once it's diagnosed and the correct treatment is established, but this isn't something you diagnose at home. The dog needs a proper diabetic work-up at the vet, and preferably at a vet who knows what they're doing.
posted by biscotti at 8:17 AM on February 23, 2008

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