A Canine with Diabetes Mellitus
What Could Be Sweeter Than a Diabetic Pet?
Blind Dog Tips
From Annie:
Here are Val's tips, Val wrote this to someone with a female dog and I know she doesn't mind sharing.  Please excuse the gender.   I'm adding a few of my own tips to the end:
There are a few things you can do to help her out with her adjustment to her loss of sight.
1) Make sure she does things on her own, don't do it for her. If need be, talk her thru it then praise her when she accomplishes what she is trying to do. But do not pick her up and take her where she needs to go.
2) Talk to her - a lot. I talk to Barney all the time. I let him know when I'm leaving the room. (If I don't he will bark until I let him know where I am.) I also use key words when I leave. If I'm going to the store, I tell him I will be 'right' back; if I'm going to work, I tell him I'm going to 'work'. With the emphasis on 'right' and 'work' he knows how long I will be gone and seems to do well while I'm gone. If he is getting ready to bump into something (this is less frequently than in the early stages), I tell him 'watch' or 'careful'. With those words he knows to slow down.
3) I also placed runners in his 'trickier' areas to navigate. I have one spot between my kitchen and dining/family room that he would bump all the time. I put a runner there, so he now knows when he is on that runner, he is in a 'safe zone'. It has been a hindrance to me on occasions because he is so comfortable and feels so safe there, he will lay on the runner. There have been a few times that he almost got stepped on because that is the only path from the kitchen to the dining/family room and rest of the house!
4) I have a runner on the back patio (the outdoor type) that leads him to the area of the yard that doesn't have roses. He also has discovered a place between 2 roses that is wide enough for him to get thru and he has started going thru that way as well. Speaking of the roses, I put the little wire fence by the roses so if he does get off track in the yard, he will bump that and not a thorny bush. Much safer on the eye.
5) Put bells or extra tags on any other animals in the house so she can hear where they are. Same for you and any other members of your family. Wear flip flops or walk so she can hear you. It helps them keep track of where people are.
6) Initially, I kept the TV on in the dining/family room to help him with his bearings when I wasn't around to help him out. If you have a radio or TV that you use all the time, keep that on and she will know where the sound is coming from and know where she is in relation to it.
7) Do not move her food and water bowl. If you see she is disoriented, go to her water dish and tap on it while you call her name. This will help her figure out where she is. She may have to go to her water bowl then start over, but that's ok. She will catch on.
8) Do not move the furniture in the house. The have the house 'mapped' out in their mind so if you move furniture, she will get confused unless you take her in the room and 'show' her where everything is.
9) If you have a pool, make sure you have a fence and keep the gate closed.
10) If you have a dishwasher, make sure you know where she is at all times when the door is down. Especially if she is a relatively small dog. My dishwasher door is right at eye level with Barney and he once ran into it when he came in from outside. This was only a few days after he had his right eye removed. I could tell by the way he acted that it hurt like hell, so I now tell him 'door down' when I have it open and keep a vigilant watch on where he is when it's open. I have a doggie door that was installed before he lost his sight and he never skipped a beat going thru it after he lost his vision. He even went thru it with his hoop within 10 seconds of having it on for the first time!
11) Some people say to mark places with scents (like citrus, vanilla etc). I didn't use these. Everything has a scent of its own and since his nose is more sensitive than mine, he can smell the natural scents of things. When he is in the yard, he relies heavily on his sense of smell to get around. I have noticed that he goes in the same areas all the time and is smelling the entire time. Even when he comes in, he is smelling his 'path' and comes right to the doggie door with no troubles at all.
12) I also have a hoop from a man on the blind dog page, http://www.pepedog.com/ and when company comes over, I put that on him. It serves 2 purposes 
1) he loses his bearings and has a tendency to bump into things when he gets excited 
2) it helps people to remember that he is blind. He gets around so well, that people that aren't used to him forget that he is blind and he gets stepped on because they are expecting him to move when he isn't aware they are there.

But most of all, talk and praise. It will help her tremendously.

Hopefully, this will help, and if you need anything else, please don't
hesitate to email me privately. It will be ok, she will adjust and so will
you. Just take a deep breath and take it one day at a time.

Val, Barney, Brie
Barney's Story

From Annie:
I agree with all of Val's tips.  They are very helpful.  Here are a few more of my tips from our experience with Max:
1) I've found that "safe spots", little pillow beds in certain parts of the house help.  Max has one in the bedroom even though he sleeps on the bed at night.  He has one in the living room and one in the office.  He's on his safe pilly at my feet right now!
2) When he first went blind he was terrified of the single step down into the family room.  We have hardwood floors so I put 3M scratchy tape down about 2 inches from the edge and he learned right away to feel for it and knew it was time to jump.  Unfortunately we had to move and now we have 4 steps down into the family room.  He goes up into the kitchen, but he can't learn to go down so he stops at the tape and I pick him up.  There's not much choice here since he decided from the scratchy tape that it was one step and kept diving down all four onto his head.  Talk about your stomach dropping out. Now he just stops and waits to be picked up.  He'll bark if I'm not quick enough.
3) Speaking of moving, sometimes we have no choice.  We set up the furniture as close as we could to the other house.  Mostly living room tables and couches because he jumps up on the couches.  We walk him on a leash outside now.
4) He has an Easy Rider harness for car rides that loops into the safety belt. If one of us has to drive him someplace, we use this.  Otherwise I hold him so he can stick his head out of the window.

I have a video clip I took about 6 months after Max went blind.   Of him jumping straight up in the air while Sal fixed his dinner.  I've sent it to RB friends when they are facing a newly blind dog.  It is a bit dark, but it shows that there is so much future happiness for blind dogs.  When Max went blind overnight exactly 2 months from being dx I cried for a week.  I thought "he'll never play again".  There are some things he can't do now. Jump up and down from the king sized bed, whip around the house super fast, etc.  But he's happy and he DOES play and eat and bark and love.  His being blind has made our bond even stronger.

If anyone wants to see this video, write to me privately at amf5@optonline.net and I'll send it to you.  There's also a blind dog site at www.blinddogs.com that is incredible.

A good friend told me when Max first went blind, "you can't see love, you can only feel it".  It's the truth.

  Read Max's Story - Click Here

 From Roy
These tips are great, here a couple of other things I did with Cookie
1. You  can buy carpet stair treads that have adhesive to attach to the stair. I had 13 stairs for her to navigate and she used these carpet treads to know where to go, she never fell down the stairs after I installed tham
2. I replaced here regular collar with a harness. This gave me greater control if I needed it, especially if when we were crossing streets or met other dogs along the walk, she could not deal with other strange dogs once she went blind.
3. I was careful about having her on the bed or sofa a lot, but if she wanted

  Read Cookie's Story - Click Here

Thanks Roy,
I had hoped you would share because I remember you had carpeted steps and we
Max now barks for up on the bed or down from the bed and for down the steps.
He's very stubborn and he lets us know what he wants.  But with a bigger dog, it would be a problem.  He knows his limitations and lets us know too.
I think Martha's little Maltese Zeke was the same way.
I'm glad you wrote,
Annie & Max & Mitchell

 Cataract Surgery Costs

Can I ask you as a newcomer to all this (my Frankie was diagnosed March 30, 2005)
what this kind of surgery costs? Like maybe a range?
Mary and Frankie

Maryland.. It was about $2,000 for the surgery plus check ups and eyedrops... 
End cost probably... $2500.00
Lynnae Osmulski
Same cost in Seattle as Dawn's.
Jerrie and Jake
Mary, when I had my Katie's eyes done last year, here in Colorado itcost 
$2400 with lens implants. 

On Apr 22, 2005, at 1:21 PM, Lynnae Osmulski wrote:
I just found out my schnauzer has cataracts in both eyes, they would 
like to do surgery right away. Do you recommend getting the lens?
Dr, Hamor recommends them. Margo
I had timmy done with no lens and he sees fine. Sheila  Klein

From Judy
When you are opting for cataract surgery the dog is usually already blind or 99 percent blind and you are also giving him the opportunity that he might be able to see again. Some dogs adjust well to blindness though but others don't.
IMO you have to weigh the odds and do what is best for yourself.
Heck there can be complications with getting your wisdom teeth removed.
Every time you put a pill in your mouth there are warnings. AND the worse thing is if you tell me I could get purple polka dots then I likely will.
You can read about most of these pets on the stories page. Those that are blind and those that have had surgery
Here are some that have had cataract surgery on the list
A few that pop in mind 
Margo's Alex
 Click here to read Alex's Story
Danna's Louie
 Click here to read Louie's Story
Ed's Anna
 Anna's Cataract Surgery Story
Dawn's Espresso
Espressie just had his done a  month ago...
 Read Espresso's Story
Cheyenne has had cataract surgery on one eye with lens implant, successful.
A shot in the other eye for glaucoma.
Christy & Cheyenne
 Read Cheyenne's Story
Dahlia had cataract surgery in both eyes with lens.  Very successful. Jeanne
Louis's Derek

Jeanie's Peter
 Read Peter's Story
Some long ago members
 Cataract Stories on the Website
And there are lots that have not had surgery and their pets have adjusted well!!!!
A few that pop in my mind
Val's Barney
Anne's Max
Elizabeth's Wiggly
Roy's Cookie
Martha's Zeke
Eileen's Kanga
Judy's Ebony
Dear Judy,
Thanks for remembering Max as one of the successful non-surgery candidates. We would have done it, but he had PRA (Progressive Retinal Atrophy) so he was going blind slowly over a year or two before the cataracts made it happen overnight 2 months after he was dx with diabetes.
If I hit the Mega Millions Jackpot (about 200 Million tonight), I will devote my time and all that money to blind dogs.  They have so much love to give.  I've visited the blind dogs website and there are adoptions there. Some dogs (like people) are born blind.  Unlike humans, sight is not a primary sense for dogs.  They adjust so quickly.  They can live such full lives.  Under the right conditions they can run and play and love so strongly that you'd never even realize they are blind.  They are amazing.
Max was much less upset about losing his sight than I was about it.  It's been almost 3 years.  We still have the most lovable dog on the planet.  We wouldn't trade him for anything.
What I advise to anyone with a diabetic dog is a checkup with a real eye vet, even before anything happens ~ regular vets don't know much about eyes. Hopefully there won't be problems, but they can hit hard and fast.  If at all possible, it's the best thing you can do.  Even if you have already decided not to have the cataract removal, it's still important to your dogs overall health.
Take care,
Annie & Max (dd, dx 6/18/02, blind 8/18/02) & Mitchell (ndd)

I just want to add that before I had the eye surgery on my dog she was blind for about 1 year.  As long as I did not move any furniture around in my house she did not even appear to be blind.  She would still go up and down the stairs to the bedroom and out off the deck.  The vet told me knowing she was going blind she prepared.  But, as soon as I forgot something out of place a chair or anything it broke my heart to see her walk right into it.  So be prepared not to rearrange your house or bring her to a new environment.

Marsha's Cody did not do well from cataract surgery
This letter is from Marsha and has been edited which I do not usually do.
Some paragraphs not pertaining to blindness in dogs was deleted along with a paragraph that made it sound like salve was put in his eyes and was not.

As for the cataract surgery...again, my experience. Cody was fine then one day one eye went then a week later the next. My vet at the time was telling me he was regulated, but he was not. I would like to say this about cataract surgery, if I may. It goes for people. A dear friend is an ophthalmologist MD. People and parents of non human children, in most cases, go into cataract surgery thinking it is a breeze. You hear stories about how people post cataract  surgery are doing great. I just read a study and 30%+ have
problems of all types. It is not like going in just for a manicure. Vets, at least in my experience, give you one risk or two.

There are many complications that can and do occur:permanent redness of the eyes (I mean Cody's eyes look as if they are on fire at times - his is not continuous; dry eye, clumped asteroids ( floaters that clump together) and cause vision loss (no cure except draining the vitreous fluid, but that damages the retina); protein fibers (we had those, they can be dissolved over time), debris on lenses, detached retinas, permanent blurry vision (the vet guesses on the lens strength...no science here)...just a few "minor"
ones that impair or cause vision loss. Now Cody is almost blind. The clumped asteroids and the debris are doing it. I have to get laser to help him

My eye vet did not prepare me for all the potential risks. I did research and when I brought it up, he waved his had and said, yes , it could happen, but...

You are wise to do research, but do not let your vet lead you to believe cataract surgery is a breeze. It is serious and the post cataract complications in people and dogs can be permanent and cause blindness. Glaucoma is another potential complication post cataract surgery...
Marsha, Cody (dd), and Kitties 3


 What is Glaucoma?

 What are Cataracts?

 www.peteducation.com Explanation of Cataracts

  Read More Stories about Other Diabetic Pets

Enter recipient's e-mail: