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Doc Sara
Doc Sara, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 952
Experience:  I am a dog and cat veterinarian with a lifetime of experience in our family veterinary hospital.
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My tibetan terrier (8 years old) was diagnosed with diabetes

Customer Question

My tibetan terrier (8 years old) was diagnosed with diabetes 4 weeks ago and is taking 5 units of insulin 2x daily after eating, 12 hours apart. His eyes are starting to roll back in his head and he seems lucid and out of it. I'm concerend that he may be developing eye problems. what could it be?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Doc Sara replied 1 year ago.

Good evening - I'm Dr. Sara. I'm a licensed veterinarian who works exclusively with dogs and cats. I'm sorry to hear that Somba has become diabetic - I know that it can be a stressful disease to deal with. He's lucky to have you to care for him!

Based on what's most common, I'd consider cataracts a potential issue here. Diabetic pets quite commonly develop cataracts as a consequence of their high blood sugar. The longer their blood sugar is high before being diagnosed and the longer we take to get it under control, the faster the cataracts develop. I've seen some dogs develop them in a matter of weeks - from clear eyes to significant vision loss. I've seen other dogs develop them more slowly - like over months to years, but just about every diabetic dog is going to develop cataracts from their diabetes. Cataracts look like gray, blue, or white color change inside the pupil that is normally black. If you shine a light on their eyes, you sometimes can see a crystalline white change inside their pupils. Cataracts can cause significant inflammation in the eye and secondary glaucoma, which can be painful and require prescription medication to treat.

If he's acting relatively normally and you're seeing mild changes, you could ask your vet about it at his next exam. However, if you're seeing major changes, discharge, severe redness, or have any doubts about his vision, I'd suggest an exam sooner. If he's not acting normally, it'd be a good idea to get a blood sugar run on him ASAP to be sure that he's not hypoglycemic (low sugar). If they have low blood sugar they can stare off into space, become severely lethargic, have muscle tremors, weakness, or even seizures. I have my clients educated on what to look for and also suggest that if they think that their pet is having a hypoglycemic episode to put some karo or corn syrup (or maple syrup in a pinch) on their pet's gums to bring that sugar up.

Please let me know what other questions I can answer for you :)

~Dr. Sara

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
OK thank you! I took him to the vet Friday because I felt his eyes started turning blue but the vet looked at his eyes with the scope and did not feel he had cataracts yet but warned it could be starting. It seems like I should be doing something and not wait for it to happen. Good to know about him having low blood sugar. I do not use cirn syrup so don't have any to try but sounds like I said take him in tomorrow to ck his blood levels. Is there anything I should put in his eyes to prevent cataracts?
Expert:  Doc Sara replied 1 year ago.

Unfortunately the best way to slow down cataract formation is to control the blood sugar well. There is really no stopping them otherwise and even a well controlled pet will get them eventually. The best thing to do is to follow your vet's instructions on the insulin carefully and follow up with any blood sugar measurements that the vet recommends. I know that many times my clients won't come back in for their blood glucose curves when I request it because they feel that their pet is doing well and they are trying to save money by not bringing them in. I'd try not to skip out on those monitoring tests when the vet recommends them (if you can) so that you can get the absolute best control of his sugar. Having good glycemic control is the key to slowing down cataract progression :)

~Dr. Sara

Expert:  Doc Sara replied 1 year ago.
Hi Julie,
I'm just following up on our conversation about Somba. How is everything going?
Doc Sara