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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 21201
Experience:  Hello, I am a small animal veterinarian and am happy to discuss any concerns & questions you have on any species.
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My 12 year old male Tibetian Terrier was just diagnosed with

Customer Question

My 12 year old male Tibetian Terrier was just diagnosed with diabetes. His eyes are also starting to cloud a little indicating cataracts? He takes insulin shots twice a day with meals. What will his life be like? Is he in pain or uncomfortable. What can I expect? Yesterday he urinated in the house right in front of me. He has never peed in the house much less right in front of me. Can you give me some guidance on what to expect and what to do.
Submitted: 2 years ago via PetWave.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 2 years ago.
Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.
Now I know this diagnosis will be a shock and you will feel that the situation is over your head. Please know that this will be daunting at first but diabetes is a very manageable and treatable disease for dogs. So, it will be a learning curve of course, but I assure you that this is something you can help Tobey with. And with proper management, Tobey can live a good quality life with you.
In regards ***** ***** specific questions, if the haze is deep in the eye (at the level of the lens), then cataracts are quite possible. Dogs can develop these quite easily if their diabetes is not well regulated. That said, dogs his age will also be ripe for developing natural old age changes to the lens (called nuclear sclerosis). So, if the clouding is like blue haze, then this is likely just an old age change. But if it looks like a frosted window, then cataracts are likely. That said, many dogs manage well despite these and there are surgical options if you wished, once he is stable.
Otherwise, diabetes is not a painful disease. This is something I have actually quizzed diabetic owners on, just so I can appreciate how my dog patients feel. People tell me that when they are not stable, they just feel constantly thirst and when they then drink it translates to needing to urinate more often (which means our dogs are more prone to accidents when uncontrolled). So, it is not a painful disease, but potentially a frustrating one for them when they are unstable.
Otherwise, treatment isn't overly painful either. Most animals don't even mind the tiny needle poke that delivers their insulin. And if they are well regulated, then these animals will feel just as they did before they were a diabetic (just now they are getting insulin via injection instead of from their pancreas).
Finally, just to make sure you have a thorough understanding of how to manage his diabetes, what to watch out for, how to monitor blood glucose at home (if you wish to), I would advise a visit to This is an excellent website written by and for owners of diabetic dog. There are some very good outlines and even videos for checking blood sugar. So, rather then try to answer every question you may have (though you are welcome to post any that spring to mind), I would advise a thorough read of this resource since it is a great guide for managing and troubleshooting diabetes in our dogs.
So, I would forgive him the accident he has had and take a deep breath. It will be a learning curve, but I assure you that you will find your feet in treating Tobey and once you have him stable, both of you will be able to live a fairly normal life together (with only a few medical adjustments of course).
I hope this information is helpful.
If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to ask!
All the best,
Dr. B.
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