Posts Tagged ‘cataracts’

November is Pet Diabetes Month

 

It’s TRUE!

Cats and dogs can develop diabetes. Luckily, treatment is available.

 

What is diabetes?

Diabetes mellitus is a condition in which the body either does not produce enough insulin (Type I) or is unable to effectively use the insulin it does produce (Type II). In either case, serious health disturbances result.

Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas, necessary for processing blood sugar (glucose). Without insulin, blood sugar passes into the urine, rather than being used by body tissues.

When body tissues are starved for sugar, they begin to break down and no longer function normally, resulting in:

  • cataracts
  • skin sores and infections
  • urinary and respiratory infections
  • pancreatitis
  • neuropathy
  • vomiting and dehydration
  • coma and death

The kidneys, liver, heart, and nervous system can also suffer as a result of diabetes.

Type I diabetes is also known as insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM) and is often seen in older, overweight female dogs and in cats.

Type II diabetes, also known as non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) is often seen in cats, but is rare in dogs.

What signs should I look for in my pet?

  • excessive thirst and urination
  • weight loss
  • poor appetite
  • weakness, inactivity
  • vomiting
  • dandruff and unkempt appearance (scruffy coat)
  • muscle wasting
  • plantigrade stance in cats (see photo)
Click to enlarge. Photo by Jennifer Miele.

Click to enlarge. Photo by Jennifer Miele.

What causes diabetes?

  • genetic predisposition
  • viral infection
  • pancreatitis and other diseases
  • hormone-type drugs
  • obesity

Is there a cure?
No, diabetes is not curable, but it can be controlled.

What kind of treatment is available?
Insulin injections and a specialized diet are indicated for Type I diabetes. You will learn how to give your pet its insulin injections at home. You may also need to monitor its blood sugar and urine sugar levels.

Type II diabetic patients may require a specialized diet and feeding schedule, along with blood sugar monitoring.

Nearly all diabetic patients require some amount of exercise, and female patients should be spayed to prevent hormone fluctuations from disturbing blood sugar levels.

Your pet’s veterinarian or vet specialist will recommend a suitable diet to manage glucose levels and weight, such as one that is low calorie, low carbohydrates, low fat, and high fiber, and features appropriate levels of protein and taurine.  

Will pet insurance companies help pay for treatment?
Some of them will, unless your pet’s diabetes is a pre-existing condition — meaning that it was diagnosed before you signed up for pet insurance. The best time to sign up for pet insurance is while your pet is young and healthy.


Note: The information above is a partial explanation of diabetes, its symptoms, and treatment. There are other diabetes-related diseases that are not mentioned here.
This article is not a substitute for medical care. It is not meant to diagnose or treat any condition. If you believe your pet has an illness, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian today.


Resources:
American Veterinary Medical Association
Hill’s Pet Nutrition publication
Instructions for Veterinary Clients
Saunders Comprehensive Veterinary Dictionary
Saunders Manual of Small Animal Practice
The 5 Minute Veterinary Consult


This post originally appeared on October 10, 2012.

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Cataracts are a common disorder of the eyes, often in aging dogs, although young animals can develop them, too. Cataracts are seen less frequently in cats.

A pet owner’s first indication that their dog or cat has impaired vision may be that the pet has difficulty seeing in low light.

What is a cataract? It is an opaque* area of the lens or its outer covering (capsule.)
[*Not allowing light through.] 

A cataract may be a tiny spot or it may cover the entire lens.
A cataract can develop within a few days or over a number of years.

Cataracts can be hereditary and can lead to blindness.

Breeds often affected* include:

  • miniature poodle
  • American cocker spaniel 
  • miniature schnauzer
  • golden retriever
  • Boston Terrier
  • Siberian husky

[*The complete list is much longer.]

Though rare, cats such as the Persian, Birman, and Himalayan have also been afflicted with hereditary cataracts.

Other causes of cataracts include:

  • aging
  • diabetes
  • electric shock
  • exposure to extreme heat or radiation
  • exposure to toxins
  • injury to the eye
  • poor nutrition as pups and kittens
  • retinal degeneration
  • uveitis [a type of inflammation of the eye]

An examination by a veterinarian can help determine whether changes in the eyes are the result of cataracts, corneal damage, sclerosis [a cloudy appearance, but without vision loss], or another cause. In some cases, further diagnostics by an eye specialist [ophthalmologist] will be recommended.

Is surgery an option? It can be. We are fortunate to have veterinary ophthalmologists in our area who are able to evaluate cataracts for surgical treatment. Not all pets will qualify. In fact, if you are considering surgery for your pet, time is of the essence. As the cataract progresses, the retina and lens can become so damaged that the pet will not regain its sight even if surgery is performed.

What kind of medicine will help? Cataracts cannot be treated with medicine. However, the veterinarian may dispense medication for other disorders of the eye occurring at the same time.

What can I do? Dr. Donald Miele, a Norfolk veterinarian, has several recommendations: 

  • Try to keep furniture where it is; your pet has likely learned to navigate it well and any changes in furniture arrangements will lead to painful run-ins with chairs and tables.
  • Help your pet up and down stairs.
  • Follow your dog into the yard to make sure he doesn’t get lost or “stuck.”
  • Monitor his eyes for any changes in appearance and report changes or concerns to the doctor.

******************************************************************
Resources include:
Saunders Comprehensive Veterinary Dictionary
Saunders Manual of Small Animal Practice
The 5 Minute Veterinary Consult

*******************************************************************
A version of this post originally appeared on Sept. 17, 2012.

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Guest Post: Cat Eye Problems: All You Need To Know
By Pets Best Pet Health Insurance
Original article and links found here.

Discovering that your cat is squinting in one eye or that the cat’s eyes are red around the edges can be disheartening – nobody wants to see their furry friends suffer and feel uncomfortable, especially since the eyes are such a delicate part of their body.
Cat eye problems are one of the most common health issues that felines face and they can cause permanent damage in a relatively short time if left untreated.

That is why it’s so vital that you keep an “eye out” for any cat eye problems and know how to recognize the most common symptoms that could be a cause for alarm.

Are your cat’s eyes the picture of good health?

Warning Signs of Cat Eye Problems
Even though cat eye issues can be dangerous, the good news is that in most cases, you can spot them rather quickly and ensure that you provide your cat with treatment early.
If your cat is living indoors-only, it might not be as likely to develop eye problems as an outdoor cat because it’s less exposed to feral cats and diseases that they may carry,¹ but there are still risks.
Even a relatively small cat eye injury can become infected, and you may soon start noticing your cat squinting their eyes and trying to clean them.
If you notice that your cat’s eyes suddenly become runny, with colorless or even yellow or green discharge, you can be fairly certain that your cat has either a viral or a bacterial infection.² Especially if the discharge is followed by redness and respiratory symptoms, which will require urgent treatment to avoid complications.
If your cat is squinting in one or both eyes, this can also indicate an infection. Even if no other symptoms are present.
Finally, keep an eye out for your cat scratching at their eyes which may indicate a severe issue.

Common Cat Eye Problems
Since cats aren’t always vocal or expressive about health issues and may act more or less normal even when not feeling too well, you will need to look for behavioral changes which could indicate problems.
Luckily, issues involving your cat’s eyes are usually readily apparent and obvious. A simple examination of your cat’s eyes to look for irritation, redness, or squinting can be sure signs of an issue.
But what are some of the more common eye problems that cats suffer from?
One of the most common issues is conjunctivitis, also known as “pink eye.” Conjunctivitis is the inflammation of the mucous membrane of the eye which can cause runny eyes, swelling inside of the eye, and redness. Cat pink eye is usually a result of a viral or bacterial infection and may appear at the same time as an upper respiratory system infection.
Another common eye issue is a corneal ulcer. An ulcer can develop from an injury, because of a genetic abnormality, or even from an infection that isn’t treated promptly.³ The most common symptom of a corneal ulcer in a cat is a cloudy eye. However, it is usually accompanied by rubbing of the eyes, redness, as well as more severe discomfort for the cat.
Other common cat eye problems include irritation from allergies or various environmental factors, as well as more serious eye issues such as cataracts or glaucoma.

What Causes Cat Eye Problems?
There are a wide range of reasons that can cause cats to develop eye problems. It’s essential to know the most common cat eye issues and what symptoms to look for. It is also important to understand the causes of these issues so that you can try to prevent them from developing in your furry friends.
For instance, conjunctivitis is most frequently caused by a bacterial, viral, or fungal infection, but there are other ways it can develop, too. It can be caused by non-infectious issues due to hereditary factors, traits of certain breeds, allergies, or tumors.²
A corneal ulcer, which often appears as a cloudy eye in a cat, is commonly the result of an injury. Whether your kitty accidentally rubbed their eye against something too strongly, or became injured by a foreign object or during a skirmish with another cat, the result will often be an ulcer that will need to be treated immediately.
Irritation, itchiness, and redness are usually caused by environmental factors such as allergies, chemicals, or a range of other factors. So it’s important to consult with a vet to determine the cause.
As for more serious conditions like glaucoma and cataracts, they can develop because of a genetic predisposition to these problems.[4,5] For cats, however, it more commonly is the result of an infection or trauma.

Eye Problem Treatment
If you notice something wrong with your cat’s eyes, it’s important to act fast. These issues will likely require diagnosis and treatment. The longer your cat goes without treatment, the greater the chance of the symptoms becoming more severe. The good news is that as long as you act quickly, the better the chance is that your cat will make a full recovery.
Issues like conjunctivitis or corneal ulcers may be treated with antibiotics since they are often caused or at least followed by an infection. In other circumstances, your vet may prescribe eye drops to reduce irritation and help the eyes heal.
In the case of glaucoma, it’s crucial to drain the fluid to relieve eye pressure as quickly as possible. This will not only reduce the discomfort and pain your cat is feels, but it will also help minimize the long-term negative effects.
Finally, your vet might not prescribe any treatment and simply recommend your cat rest to allow the issue to heal on its own. It is important to allow a licensed veterinarian to make a treatment decision like this and to never try to diagnose your pet on your own. This will ensure you pet receives the best treatment available.
And if you want to have peace of mind knowing that your cat will always have the best treatment options in case it develops eye problems, check out Pets Best’s Cat Insurance which offers complete coverage for your pet. Call us at 1-877-738-7237 today, and we’ll help you find a plan that works best for your individual needs.

1 American Humane (2016, August 25). Indoor Cats vs. Outdoor Cats. [Web blog post]. Retrieved June 28, 2019, from https://www.americanhumane.org/fact-sheet/indoor-cats-vs-outdoor-cats/
2 Ward, E. (2009). Conjunctivitis in Cats. [Web blog post]. Retrieved June 28, 2019, from https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/conjunctivitis-in-cats
3 Ward, E. (2017). Corneal Ulcers in Cats. [Web blog post]. Retrieved June 28, 2019, from https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/corneal-ulcers-in-cats
4 McLellan, G.J., & Miller, P.E. (2011). Feline glaucoma: A comprehensive review. Veterinary Ophthalmology, 14(1), 15-29. doi:10.1111/j.1463-5224.2011.00912.x
5 PetMD.com (2019). Cataracts in Cats. [Web blog post]. Retrieved June 28, 2019, from https://www.petmd.com/cat/conditions/eye/c_ct_cataract

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Today’s guest post is by Dr. Heather Brookshire, a veterinary ophthalmologist at Animal Vision Center of Virginia.

Keep An Eye Out for Cataracts
By Dr. Heather Brookshire

Do your pet’s eyes appear cloudy? Is she misjudging distances or bumping into objects? These are common signs of cataracts, and it may be time to have your loved one’s eyes checked. A cataract is an opacity that appears within the lens of the eye, causing it to lose transparency and resulting in impaired vision. Most cataracts in dogs form due to genetics, but it can also result from systemic disease (diabetes mellitus); inflammation within the eye (uveitis); trauma; advanced age; or toxic or nutritional causes. It can progress slowly or rapidly, depending on the underlying cause, age and breed of your dog. The only true form of cataract treatment is to remove the cataract with surgery, and we have successfully treated many cases at Animal Vision Center of Virginia.

If you suspect your dog has cataracts, the first step is to schedule a wellness eye exam to have the eyes evaluated. If she is a suitable candidate for surgery, a functional testing of the retina will follow, along with an ocular ultrasound to determine if surgery will restore her vision. The success rate for cataract surgery in dogs is quite high, with greater than 90 percent of cases undergoing a successful procedure and having improved vision following surgery.

*************************************************
Reprinted with permission.This article is not intended to diagnose
or treat any medical condition and is not a substitute for
an examination by your pet’s veterinarian.

Your pet’s eyes are delicate organs. If you have a concern about your pet’s eyes, 
Contact Us
 to schedule an appointment with our veterinarian.

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Today’s guest post is by Dr. Heather Brookshire, a veterinary ophthalmolgist at the Animal Vision Center of Virginia.
FOCUS on Ocular Health
By Dr. Heather Brookshire
Many severe ocular conditions can be prevented or avoided by identifying them early and becoming familiar with the conditions for which your pet may be predisposed. For instance, many brachycephalic breeds (dogs with short noses) are predisposed to the development of corneal ulcers due to increased exposure of their eyes, among other factors. 
                 
Many purebred dogs (especially Poodles, Labradors, Golden retrievers, Boston terriers, miniature Schnauzers, Cocker spaniels, etc.) are predisposed to heritable cataract formation. While we currently cannot prevent cataracts from forming, when caught early, surgery can be performed with a high success rate to remove the cataract and restore vision. 
Glaucoma (increased eye pressure) is another common heritable/genetic condition that can be successfully treated with early detection. When undiagnosed and untreated, this condition can cause a chronic headache sensation for your pet and irreversible blindness. Breeds predisposed to glaucoma include the Basset hound, Cocker spaniel, Boston terrier, Flat-coated retriever, Golden retriever, Chow Chow, Shiba Inu, Shar pei, Poodle, Siberian husky and many more. 

For more information on your pet’s specific breed, an excellent resource is the Inherited Diseases in Dogs Database. The directory, compiled at Cambridge Veterinary School, is great not only for heritable eye diseases, but all diseases suspected to have a genetic basis. If you feel that your pet may be at risk for eye disease, it is always a good idea to have the eyes evaluated by your family veterinarian or a veterinary ophthalmologist to catch the problem early and help prevent blindness.

*********************************************************************
Reprinted with permission.This article is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical condition and is not a substitute for an examination by your pet’s veterinarian.

Your pet’s eyes are delicate organs. If you have a concern about your pet’s eyes, Contact Us to schedule an appointment with our veterinarian.

Read Full Post »

Can cats and dogs develop diabetes?

The answer is – YES. Cats and dogs can develop diabetes. Luckily, treatment is available.

Diabetes 010

What is diabetes?

Diabetes mellitus is a condition in which the body either does not produce enough insulin (Type I) or is unable to effectively use the insulin it does produce (Type II). In either case, serious health disturbances result.

Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas, necessary for processing blood sugar (glucose). Without insulin, blood sugar passes into the urine, rather than being used by body tissues.

When body tissues are starved for sugar, they begin to break down and no longer function normally, resulting in:

  • cataracts
  • skin sores and infections
  • urinary and respiratory infections
  • pancreatitis
  • neuropathy
  • vomiting and dehydration
  • coma and death

The kidneys, liver, heart, and nervous system can also suffer as a result of diabetes.

Type I diabetes is also known as insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM) and is often seen in older, overweight female dogs and in cats.

Type II diabetes, also known as non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) is often seen in cats, but is rare in dogs.

What signs should I look for in my pet?

  • excessive thirst and urination
  • weight loss
  • poor appetite
  • weakness, inactivity
  • vomiting
  • dandruff and unkempt appearance (scruffy coat)
  • muscle wasting
  • plantigrade stance in cats (see photo)
Click to enlarge. Photo by Jennifer Miele.

Click to enlarge. Photo by Jennifer Miele.

What causes diabetes?

  • genetic predisposition
  • viral infection
  • pancreatitis and other diseases
  • hormone-type drugs
  • obesity

Is there a cure?
No, diabetes is not curable, but it can be controlled.

What kind of treatment is available?
Insulin injections and a specialized diet are indicated for Type I diabetes. You will learn how to give your pet its insulin injections at home. You may also need to monitor its blood sugar and urine sugar levels.

Type II diabetic patients may require a specialized diet and feeding schedule, along with blood sugar monitoring.

Nearly all diabetic patients require some amount of exercise, and female patients should be spayed to prevent hormone fluctuations from disturbing blood sugar levels.

As for diet, low carbohydrate, low fat, high fiber, high protein diets work best. Your pet’s veterinarian or vet specialist will recommend a suitable diet to manage glucose levels and weight. Hill’s Pet Nutrition has formulated m/d, r/d, and w/d to address various issues concerning diabetic dogs and cats.

Will pet insurance help me manage the cost of treatment?
Yes.*  In fact Veterinary Pet Insurance reported in 2010 that its fifth most common health claim for cats was diabetes. In 2011, diabetes dropped to number six on the list, but still represented a large number of claims.
*Important: if your pet is diagnosed with diabetes before you sign up for pet insurance, it is considered a pre-existing condition and may not be covered. Pet health insurance is best started when your pet is young and healthy.

Note: The information above is a partial explanation of diabetes, its symptoms, and treatment. There are other types of diabetes that are not mentioned here.
This article is not a substitute for medical care. It is not meant to diagnose or treat any condition. If you believe your pet has an illness, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian today.

*******************************************************************
Resources:
Hill’s Pet Nutrition publication
Instructions for Veterinary Clients
Saunders Comprehensive Veterinary Dictionary
Saunders Manual of Small Animal Practice
The 5 Minute Veterinary Consult

********************************************************************
This post originally appeared on October 10, 2012.

Read Full Post »

The answer is – YES. Dogs and cats can develop diabetes. Luckily, treatment is available.

What is diabetes?

Diabetes mellitus is a condition in which the body either does not produce enough insulin (Type I) or is unable to effectively use the insulin it does produce (Type II). In either case, serious health disturbances result.

Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas, necessary for processing blood sugar (glucose). Without insulin, blood sugar passes into the urine, rather than being used by body tissues.

When body tissues are starved for sugar, they begin to break down and no longer function normally, resulting in:

  • cataracts
  • skin sores and infections
  • urinary and respiratory infections
  • pancreatitis
  • neuropathy
  • vomiting and dehydration
  • coma and death

The kidneys, liver, heart, and nervous system can also suffer as a result of diabetes.

Type I diabetes is also known as insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM) and is often seen in older, overweight female dogs and in cats.

Type II diabetes, also known as non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) is often seen in cats, but is rare in dogs.

What signs should I look for in my pet?

  • excessive thirst and urination
  • weight loss
  • poor appetite
  • weakness, inactivity
  • vomiting
  • dandruff and unkempt appearance (scruffy coat)
  • muscle wasting
  • plantigrade stance in cats (see photo)

    Click to enlarge. Photo by Jennifer Miele.

What causes diabetes?

  • genetic predisposition
  • viral infection
  • pancreatitis and other diseases
  • hormone-type drugs
  • obesity

Is there a cure?
No, diabetes is not curable, but it can be controlled.

What kind of treatment is available?
Insulin injections and a specialized diet are indicated for Type I diabetes. You will learn how to give your pet its insulin injections at home. You may also need to monitor its blood sugar and urine sugar levels.

Type II diabetic patients may require a specialized diet and feeding schedule, along with blood sugar monitoring.

Nearly all diabetic patients require some amount of exercise, and female patients should be spayed to prevent hormone fluctuations from disturbing blood sugar levels.

As for diet, low carbohydrate, low fat, high fiber, high protein diets work best. Your pet’s veterinarian or vet specialist will recommend a suitable diet to manage glucose levels and weight. Hill’s Pet Nutrition has formulated m/d, r/d, and w/d to address various issues concerning diabetic dogs and cats.

Will pet insurance help me manage the cost of treatment?
Yes.*  In fact Veterinary Pet Insurance reported in 2010 that its fifth most common health claim for cats was diabetes. In 2011, diabetes dropped to number six on the list, but still represented a large number of claims.
*Important: if your pet is diagnosed with diabetes before you sign up for pet insurance, it is considered a pre-existing condition and may not be covered. Pet health insurance is best started when your pet is young and healthy.

Note: The information above is a partial explanation of diabetes, its symptoms, and treatment. There are other types of diabetes that are not mentioned here.
This article is not a substitute for medical care. It is not meant to diagnose or treat any condition. If you believe your pet has an illness, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian today.

*******************************************************************
Resources:
Hill’s Pet Nutrition publication
Instructions for Veterinary Clients
Saunders Comprehensive Veterinary Dictionary
Saunders Manual of Small Animal Practice
The 5 Minute Veterinary Consult

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