Cataract in diabetic dog dogs

Sabine SahrAfter studying veterinary medicine in Leipzig, Dr. Sabine Sahr remained loyal to the city and its university for five years, during which she trained in ophthalmology at the small animal clinic there. Your second focus, internal medicine, proves time and again to be inseparable from ophthalmology. After completing her specialization as a veterinary ophthalmologist, she is working in a specialized way. Highly specialized in the team at the Berlin eye veterinary practice of Dr. Ingrid Allgoewer.

Augentier practice Dr. Ingrid Allgoewer

Cataracts in diabetic dogs

Hayta, an 8-year-old Labrador retriever bitch came to us because she had gone completely blind in two weeks. In addition, Hayta's owners were concerned because her pupils were suddenly unequal in size. Three months earlier she was diagnosed with diabetes mellitus.

During the eye examination the cause of the blindness became quickly clear, Hayta has a cataract on both sides. The cause of Hayta's cataract is her diabetes. Dogs suffering from diabetes have a very high risk of developing cataracts! This is triggered by persistently high blood glucose levels, which lead to altered metabolism of glucose within the lens. Typical for this so-called diabetogenic cataract is its rapid development. It is not uncommon for diabetic dogs to go blind within 1-2 weeks. In this case, the lens not only becomes completely cloudy, but also swells strongly in the disease process. As a result of rapid development, the lens capsule may rupture, releasing lens material. To avoid this, very timely therapy is crucial in diabetic dogs.

What is it about the unequally sized pupils??
Hayta has an inner eye inflammation on both sides. This is a typical accompanying symptom of cataracts. The faster the lens opacity progresses, the more severe this inflammation becomes. The inner eye inflammation manifests itself among other things by a narrow pupil. Since the left side was particularly inflamed, the pupil is so narrow here.

Cataract out – artificial lens in
The therapy is similar to the one in humans with an operation called "phacoemulsification". The cloudy lens contents are crushed and removed using an ultrasound probe. The clear lens capsular bag remains in the eye. Serves as a 'pocket' for the artificial lens. This is added to the lentil capsule bag. Remained in the correct position within the eye as a result. Cataract surgery is currently the only therapy that restores vision. It is performed under general anesthesia under the operating microscope.

Eye ultrasound before surgery
An eye ultrasound must be performed before surgery. Due to the cloudy lens, the posterior segment of the eye can no longer be seen during eye examination. However, an evaluation is possible by means of eye ultrasound. Essential before surgery. The main purpose of the examination is to detect changes that may influence the operation or even oppose an operation. For example, the retina must not be detached. Of interest is also whether the posterior lens capsule is intact or torn. Especially in the fast developing diabetogenic cataracts a tear in the lens capsule may occur. This mainly affects the thinner posterior lens capsule. Therefore it is only visible with ultrasound. In such cases it is possible that no artificial lens can be inserted (depending on where the tear is located). However, the vision is good after the operation even without the use of an artificial lens, the animals are only farsighted. In Hayta's case, the ultrasound examination of her left eye revealed the suspicion of a torn lens capsule. Therefore, it was discussed with their owners before the operation that probably no artificial lens can be inserted on one side.

During surgery

During the operation the suspicion of the torn lens capsule on the left side was confirmed. Since this tear was so inconveniently located, Hayta was operated only in the right eye with an artificial lens and the left eye without the use of an artificial lens. The crack in the lens also explains why Hayta's left pupil was so narrow during the examination. The torn lens has caused severe sudden internal ocular inflammation. This in turn caused the pupil to constrict.

After the operation
In the first two weeks after the operation Hayta had to receive anti-inflammatory eye drops several times a day. After that the frequency will be reduced bit by bit. The vision returns already in the first days after the operation. Especially diabetics should be well observed after this operation. Their immune system is weaker than in healthy patients. It can come faster for example to bladder infections. This, in turn, can cause internal inflammation of the eye. Hayta is doing very well. No complications have occurred. The faster the operation, the better the outcome. Waiting increases the risk of complications. If this is taken into account, the prognosis after cataract surgery in diabetic dogs is very good.

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