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Posts Tagged ‘cataracts’

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.

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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

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This post originally appeared on October 10, 2012.

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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

Read Full Post »

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.] 

The 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 the veterinarian can determine whether visual impairment is the result of cataracts, corneal damage, sclerosis (a cloudy appearance, but without vision loss), or another cause.

Is surgery an option? It can be. We are fortunate to have a group of 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, 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? 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.

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

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