What could be sweeter then a canine with diabetes!

Bill Wilson & Mackie
A day by day report on cataract surgery.
Where is the surgery being performed?
I want to say - for all of you in the Midwest - that the Kansas State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital is worth the trip, worth the expense for your pet. Those people are professionals, and they treat your pet like humans. Mackie was as important to his student, his opth and his surgeon as he is to me. I know the outcome isn't complete yet for Mackie, but that doesn't matter. If you need help for your pet and you're within driving distance of Manhattan, Kansas, make the trip. They will make a remarkable difference in your pet's life.

How much will the surgery cost?
I've been given a range of $1800 to $2200, depending on complications. That includes the initial eval and some of the eye drops.

Monday, July 17, 2006 
Mackie passed his tests - retina and whatnot - with flying colors today and will have bilateral cataract surgery tomorrow morning at 10. Right now, he's pretty annoyed at his dad for all the poking and prodding today, but he was less angry than I anticipated. He's undergoing a physical and some blood work right now.

Jul 17, 2006
More information and a question.

Mackie's cholesterol level came back high, according to his opts - absent a regular fasting.. They called and asked for what for me was a very difficult decision - proceeding with the surgery and risking a lipid infiltration throughout the eye, "unlikely but possible," as they put it, or calling it off and trying to get his cholesterol level down first.

They offered no recommendation, but said they considered the lipid issue somewhat of a longshot, but something I should know. Mackie's regular vet advises to go forward, saying the window to get the cataracts out could close before we address an issue that in all liklihood won't significantly impact the surgery.

Agggghhh.... The decision, unless I see something to change my mind this evening, is to go ahead with the surgery but my confidence level has been compromised.

Pre-op Instructions:
Mackie was on NeoPoly/Dex ointment three times a day once the uveitis was diagnosed and remained on it after we made the decision to go forward with the surgery. We cut back to once a day in preparation for the surgery.

He did not eat prior to surgery Monday and had 4.5 units of insulin before the operation. He ate immediately after he woke up - shifted to Science Diet R-D low fat moist - and has been on his regular 9 units of insulin since.

He did undergo quite a bit of facial shaving prior to the surgery as well.

They want to keep him for two nights in connection with the surgery, so I've told them how negatively he reacts to being away from home. They suggest bringing some of his stuff with him, such as his blanket and his toys, so we'll do that.

Mackie has a crate that he loves, complete with a pillow and a couple of toys, so that shouldn't be a problem. He'll go in there on his own to rest.

Subject: [RB] Mackie Surgery Report 
Date: Tue, 18 Jul 2006 
Well, I am truly blessed.
The surgery went very well - lenses in both eyes - and Mackie is awake, has eaten his new moist low-fat food and is tracking movement - prior to any post-operative inflamation.

There will be bumps in the road, I am certain, but I want all of you to know how much I appreciate your wisdom, your concern and your prayers.

More as the day progresses.

Date: Tue, 18 Jul 2006 
The earliest they will consider releasing him is tomorrow afternoon, and that's fine with me - although I'm chomping at the bit to get him home.

You are quite right. I feel lucky that he could have two lenses, but any improvement whatsoever in those cataracts will be worth it.

Date: Tue, 18 Jul 2006 
Hope I'm not boring everyone, but here's the evening update:

We're right on schedule, and Mackie will get to come home tomorrow afternoon.
I'm pretty excited about that.

He tested out as "extremely visual" early this afternoon after surgery and before the inflammation set in. Right now, he's in a little discomfort and is squinting some like the sun is in his eyes.

But other than that, there's nothing concerning his doctors and he's scheduled for release tomorrow. We're going to be so happy to see him.

Subject: [RB] Mackie Morning Update 
Date: Wed, 19 Jul 2006 
Mackie continues to do very well, although his right eye is responding faster to the anti-inflamatory meds than his left.

According to his doctor, the inflamation is down significantly in his right eye, so much so that they can see back to his pupils - not so much in the left eye, where the iris has constricted some and fluids are a little bit more cloudy. They consider the progress of the right eye better than normal; the left eye issues are expected.

If that persists through mid-day, I've given my OK for them to keep him until Thursday and continue treating that intensively. Crap - but it only makes sense to let him stay with these wonderful doctors as long as they think he needs to. Other than that, his BGs are remaining surprisingly low at this point, he's eating and he seems happy to them.

So, his dad is a little disappointed. But there's no sense letting impatience harm his recovery.

Discharge Instructions:
NeoPoly/Dex drops, five times a day until first recheck a week from Friday.
Flurbiprofen, three times a day until first recheck.

Oral meds:
25mg of Carprofen twice a day.
125mg of Clavamax twice a day.

Complications to watch for:
Signs of discomfort, such as wimpering, squinting, pawing at his collar. He's done some of those in minor doses - nothing serious. We think that his eyes are responding well to the drops. I don't think they're as red as they were during the uveitis that started us down this road.

Subject: [RB] Mackie's home! 
Date: Wed, 19 Jul 2006 
Hi, everybody.

This is Mackie writing from my dad's lap.

My doctors decided that my eyes had cleared up enough for me to come home today, which is pretty cool. I got pretty excited about my family coming to get me, and I got even more excited to see my yard. Those stupid doctors and my dad don't want me to get excited, though. I wanted to stand on the porch and bark at the cars going down the street, but dad dragged me back in the house. It's 110 here today.

But this stupid plastic thing around my neck really slows me down. Have you ever tried to smell a place to potty with a big plastic thing around your neck that catches every time?

I can see a little bit - enough to see my dad pouring out some water for me - but it isn't perfect. The drops burn and I still squint a little bit. I kinda like to close my eyes a little more right now than I do keep them open. (Note from Dad: They tell me this is normal. Is this consistent with the rest of your experiences?)

But it's good to be home. Thanks to all of you for your prayers. Keep them coming.

Your pal,

Date: Wed, 19 Jul 2006 
Hey Mackie,
 This is your buddy Hoss writing, been keeping my paws crossed for ya! You take it easy, listen to your Dad and I'll take care of all the barking at cars and chasing squirrels for you right now.  I bet that collar is a pain in the .... butt!  I hope you get to lose it soon.  Enjoy your time getting spoiled and pampered, you deserve it!     --Hoss and Popeye

Thanks, Hoss.

Right now, I'm getting ready for bed, messing with my dad by moving a lot quicker around the house than he's used to - and by closing my eyes when he tries to give me my drops. Heh. He's such a worrywart. He's already called the hospital once.

I can't talk him into another ride in the car, so I guess I'll call it a night. Thanks for writing. I'll be in touch.


Date: Wed, 19 Jul 2006 
And before I forget, the little devil made me cry tonight.

I was getting ready for bed, and I pulled my sock off. The next thing I knew, he had dashed over, grabbed it and had it in his mouth, growling. It's a standard little game we played before his sight began to fade.

I had to bribe it back with a couple of frozen green beans - as he sat there chewing, watching me put it back on my foot.

An expensive moment, but worth every penny.

Date: Thu, 20 Jul 2006 
How utterly heartwarming. I look for him to just get through healing with flying colors. I don't know how you'll fare but I think Mackie will be fine....:)

That's pretty perceptive, Margo. Dad kinda laid there in bed last night listening.

Mackie's left eye looks pretty good this morning - just a little pink. The right is a little redder, but interestingly both look better than they did in the early stages of the uveitis.

Had a pretty good night. He was kinda hot when we went to bed, so I gave him a little more water than usual which required a mid-night trip outside. He dashes around the house, which scares me a little bit, and dashes outside. His doc says the quickness of his movement is a sign that he sees his environment.

Date: Thu, 20 Jul 2006 
Still have one fairly red eye - the left one - and one that's doing better. He's doing a little pawing at the E-collar and we're going to have to watch that. Mackie's eyes are wide open today minus much of the squinting we saw yesterday.

One of our friends came over to help Mom with the drops today while I was at work, and we lost a little ground to excitement there. Mackie loves visitors.

We can now see the pupils in both eyes, which his opt says is a significant development.

He's getting impatient with all the resting we're asking of him. He wanted to take his nightly ride in the car, but it's 110 here today and he loves to stick his face in the air conditioner. Neither would be good for his eyes, so he's a little miffed at Dad tonight.

He's eating well, and he's getting better at avoiding the obstacles that catch his E-collar. He's been pawing occasionally at the collar - I don't know if his eyes get a little uncomfortable or if it's the collar. That seems to really bug him.

He wants to go to the fence and sit there when he goes outside, looking for something to bark at. Keeping him perfectly quiet is impossible, because he's a schnauzer. We're trying to limit those moments.

Date: Fri, 21 Jul 2006 
Mackie had a good evening. We're trying to keep him as quiet as possible, which is a chore with a schnauzer. He's been a lot more affectionate than usual - he's generally pretty independent - so he enjoys standing around getting his chin and tummy scratched.

He slept from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. - about a half-hour short of his normal routine - and when he woke up, his eyes were wide open and they look pretty good. The pinkness is confined largely to the suture area, with the other whites brightening up. Even around the sutures, his eyes aren't as red as they were when the uveitis set in.

He's still making an occasional paw at his E-collar, especially right after eye drops. One of them, I think, burns a little bit. He doesn't like it, and tries to hide his face against the collar when they come.

We had an issue with him pitching a little fit Thursday when I left for work, so my Mom brought him out this morning to say goodbye, another daily routine of his. He walked up to the fence - on his leash - and stuck his snout through the chain link for the first time since he lost his sight. The old routine was a chin scratch and a goodbye before I left.

Then, I climbed in the truck and backed out of the garage. He tracked the vehicle out of the garage - about 25 yards - and walked down the fence with me as I drove down the street. Pretty cool to see him seeing distances that well.

Mackie's Friday 
Date: Fri, 21 Jul 2006 
Things continue to go well for Mackie. Some pinkness still around the suture areas and in the deep corner of his eyes, but it doesn't qualify for alarm. His doctors say watch for "brick redness" near the sutures and in the whites of his eyes.

Plus, there's a continued upturn in his mood. He greeted me when I walked in the door tonight with his "Woo, woo" standard greeting. He is eating briskly. Tonight, he asked for his supper - by walking to his dish and standing there. His water intake is suprisingly low, so we've been giving him ice cubes to lick. He loves that.

I'm also noticing a lot of eye activity - wide open, shifting them across the room, trying to peer around the corner of his E-collar, things like that.

The eyes appear to be clearing of fluid, with his pupils easy to see.

And, I spent about 10 minutes on the phone this afternoon with his doctor - who called to check on how Mackie's doing. She had several questions, but agreed that things continue to sound good.

Date: Sat, 22 Jul 2006 
Can you tell I"m running late? Had to run to the vet's to get a case of canned R-D. I think he'd leave home if we went back to the dry W-D. 

He had a fine night. He wanted out at 4 a.m. to potty and poop, which is fine. We thought his eyes had reddened up a bit late last night, but we had a couple of  unexpected guests that got Mackie all excited which wasn't good, and then he began barking for a ride in the car. His docs say it's better to take him for a short one then to let him bark a bunch, so we did a short ride. He was fairly tired at bedtime, so I suspect the evening was too busy for him. This morning, however, they were better. They're still pink near the suture area and in the corners - more so than I'd like - but patience isn't one of my strong suits.

I believe they're starting to itch a little - he's been swatting occasionally  at the collar with his hind leg. My Mom, who had cataract surgery in March, says that's the biggest discomfort she had.

 The major issues before us right now are water and keeping him quiet. He's always, since puppyhood, had a strong thirst. But now, he barely wants water at all and what    water we get down him is either in the form of ice cubes - which he thinks are fun - or   ice cubes in his water. And getting him to drink out of a dish now requires an ice cube.

His new canned R-D lists water as the number one ingredient, and his appetite is, if anything, more active than it was before the surgery.

Today, I ran him outside when my Mom got back from the store for a little vision test.  He immediately fixated on where she'd emerge from the garage, then when she stepped out, he threw his head back and said hello. Good news there.

Mackie continues to avoid any major issues with his cataract surgery.

Saturday afternoon, July 22, 2006
Mackie's eyes look much less red this afternoon - he's been more quiet today than yesterday. So, I'm inferring that keeping him quiet is even more important than I've thought.

I like his new vet, but I had no idea he closed at 11 on Saturdays. Sigh. I'm learning a lot of stuff these days.

Here's a note on the surgery cost so far - we're at $1750, and I don't think we've paid for all his drops yet.

Subject: Mackie Saturday night 
Date: Sat, 22 Jul 2006 
Mackie has had a good day, with his eyes improving in their pinkness.

I've learned something today about the significance of keeping a cataract surgery patient quiet. There's been improvement today by either getting Mackie to lay down with me on the floor, or by encouraging him to rest in his crate.

Now, none of that should suggest that he's terribly happy with the situation. He'd love to run and play, but we can't let him do that obviously. He wanted his nightly ride in the car tonight - walking directly to the gate and standing there expectantly when we went outside to potty.

Bottom line: He feels better than we can let him act out, lest his eyes suffer the consequences. I hope that need lessens with time, and we're told that it will.

But other than that, we've had a pretty good day.

Date: Sat, 22 Jul 2006 

Mackie appears to have gotten a hair on the surface of his right eye. We called in to K-State and they said he'd blink it out, but if we were worried about it to use artificial tears. We tried the latter, and it's still visible, but instead of straight it seems curled now.

It's not bothering him, and hasn't had a worsening effect on the pinkness of his eyes.

Subject: Mackie Sunday morning 
Date: Sun, 23 Jul 2006
Margo's right again - the hair is out. We're not sure if it was a hair or a little bit of matter from the bombardment of drops, but whatever it is, it's gone.

Score one for Mackie against his worrywart Dad.

Beyond that, his eyes are whiter this morning than they have been through the process. Right now, he's laying beside me on the floor growling at some noise that he hears outside.

He's showing a LOT more interest in just going outside and roaming around on his leash, looking for something to bark at. Can't have that, but we're taking some walks around the yard.

So, everything looks good this morning and Dad rests a little easier.

Subject: from Mackie 
Date: Sun, 23 Jul 2006 
Hi, guys. Mackie here checking in. My dad says it's time for me to talk a little bit about this cataract stuff.

Seeing where I'm going is pretty cool, I have to tell you. Case in point: My dad has introduced me in this hot weather to the pleasures of ice cubes. He wants me to lick them, but they make his hand numb so I take them away from him. They're fun. I can suck on them, then drop them and watch them slide across the kitchen floor to chase. Kinda like the ball playing dad and I used to do. I sure hope we can play ball again soon.

Dad got a little wigged out last night about some gunk on my eye, but I took care of that one overnight while he slept. He worries way too much about me.

My eyes feel pretty good and I'm seeing stuff "real good," according to Dad, too good I guess for my own good. We were outside tonight on a fact-finding mission when he suddenly scooped me up and carried me in the house. He thought I would bark at the guy walking down the street. I don't know what would give him that idea.


Now, if I could get him to get this stupid plastic thing off my neck. And take me for a ride in the car. And play chase in the front yard. He says there's plenty of time for that later, and I should be patient. Imagine that guy telling old Mackie to be patient.

What I do know is how much I appreciate all your thoughts and prayers. All of us furry fellers have been dealt a rough hand, but we're pretty lucky to have people like you who love us in there for the long haul with us.

Thanks for caring.

Your pal,
Mackie Doodle.

Subject: active Mackie 
Date: Mon, 24 Jul 2006 
Lord, we are having a struggle tonight keeping Mackie from running - leashed - jumping and barking. He clearly feels very good tonight.

He's still eating like a horse, and his water consumption is getting better. He got pretty animated when our neighbor came today to help Mom with the eye drops.

But ... the eyes continue to look just slightly pink and he continues to see well, we think. It was hilarious tonight to watch him fence with his ice cube on the kitchen floor, trying frantically to pick it up and then scooting after it as it slid away.

Subject: active Mackie chapter 2 
Date: Tue, 25 Jul 2006 
Lord, the struggle to keep this dog quiet continues.

He wants to shake himself now. How do you stop him from doing that?  I don't know how you do, except by crating him. It doesn't seem to be bothering his eyes much - nothing going on there except the healing marks around the sutures.

The poor little guy wants to run and jump and all the stuff he shouldn't be doing. I'm probably overreacting to the shaking a bit - it's what a schnauzer does every time he gets up, anyway, and the collar's bugging him.

But no one's ever said I'm careless with the dog.

On another note, we've got a meeting this weekend with the K-State development folks for a testimonial for the vet hospital. I wrote a letter to the editor of the Manhattan paper praising their care for Mackie.

So, if I need prayers, it's for a calm dog. Hahahaha. Fat chance.

Subject: Mackie mid-week update 
Date: Wed, 26 Jul 2006 
Just a few process thoughts as we pass the one-week mark with Mackie's surgery.

We were told going in to watch for ulceration, changes in eye color, cloudiness of the eyes, repeated pawing and signs of discomfort. None have been apparent. His eyes have been quite clear throughout the process. There are times when the reflection of light in them freaks me out a little bit, but that's about it.

The pawing has largely stopped, although he does appear to be developing some allergies. As I've said before, the only real issues we've faced are trying to minimize his natural attempts to shake himself, and to discourage him from running, jumping, etc.

Subject: Re: Mackie checkup update 
Date: Sat, 12 Aug 2006 
We had a GREAT checkup today at Manhattan. The corneal edema has abated and
the blood in the left eye has resorbed. We're down to three times a day with the PolyDax drops and we've got a month without a checkup. Cone's now only for use when no one's at home.

Good day for Mackie and his family.

Subject: Mackie update 
Date: Sun, 20 Aug 2006 
Hi, Judy,
Enclosed are a few new photos of my Dad and I, plus a little update.

Mackie checking back in at the end of my first month after cataract surgery.

I've been back to the doctor twice, the last time a little more than a week ago when I got a really good report - my eyes are clearing up and doing well. In about a week, my sutures should be gone.

Much of the pinkness is gone from my eyes, according to my Dad, although he's still fussing over me because my diabetes has gotten goofed up a little bit. He's had to drop a unit and a half off my dose, which probably isn't surprising because my diet's changed. My vet, though, thinks that my pancreas may have started putting out a little insulin again. It happens sometimes to us schnauzers, he says.

I can see real well. I enjoy my rides in the car as much as I ever did, because I can bark at other dogs and cats out playing, kids riding bicycles and people walking down the street. I always loved them because I love being with my family, but it's extra special to be able to see stuff. 

Even stuff like hoppy toads and crickets, neither of which my Dad wants me to see. You can't please that guy. I get to run around quite a bit now without my cone, which is pretty nice.

Dad says the bill for my surgery was better than he expected - about $1750 all told. That doesn't count for his gas taking me for my checkups, but who's counting? I love seeing Dr. Rachel and my student, Megan.

A note about Megan: Did you guys know that she crawled into the cage with me and held me until I woke up from my surgery? Isn't that something? She's moved on from opth to surgery, but she came by to visit me the other day when I was back from my checkup. I won't ever forget her.

Things are going pretty good. I felt pretty rowdy today, which, of course, had Dad pretty worried. We had a good game of catch this afternoon.

One month down, two to go for full recovery. 

Your pal,
Mackie Doodle

I wonder which one of us is happier in this picture?

Date: Fri, 31 Aug 2007 

Bring on the cell phone!

Update! Update! Update!
Date: Mon, 12 Nov 2007 
A note from Mackie 
Hey, guys,

It's been awhile since I've written, but my Dad keeps up with all the messages on the board. He says there's been a lot of sadness among all my friends, because of all the beloved pets who've gone on to the bridge, where my uncle Max is. Dad says the sadness is because of all the love that you two-leggers have for us guys, and I know that's true because I don't know what I'd do without my Dad. Us guys love all of you, too.

I went back up to Kansas State to see Dr. Rachel for what my Dad calls a checkup. Pretty fun. Lots of dogs, cats and two-leggers, and I barked at all of them. It's what us schnauzers do.

Dad says he's pretty happy about the report. I had some stuff called "lipids" begining to form on my corneas back in April, but some icky powder that he puts on my food - ruins the food - took care of it. The lipids are gone, and Dad says that's good. This time, they also took the time to check out the blood vessels in my eyes, and they're all good. I think I see better now than Dad does, since he's taken to wearing these funny things called glasses so he can see the computer and help me write these notes.

I've been doing a lot of traveling with Dad, too, around what he calls the Big 12 for football games - although he won't take me to the games. I have to listen to them on the TV he leaves on at the hotel room. Our team, the Oklahoma Sooners, is doing pretty well.

To all of you guys who've lost your friends: Us guys know how much you love us, and we'll see you down the road. Remember the fun times, and look forward to the ones we'll have ahead.

Your pal,
Mackie Doodle

These emails were posted with Bill Wilson's permission.
Hopefully Mackie's day by day progress will be useful information
to the owners of  future cataract surgery patients!

 Read Mackie's Diabetic Story

  Read More Stories about Other Diabetic Pets

More Cataract Journals

 Rosie's Cataract Surgery
 Surgery performed in Tampa, Florida at a cost of about $2600.00

Read about Beringer's Cataract Surgery
Dr. Lavach (DVD, MS, Diplomate, ACVO) in Reno, Nevada
The estimate was $3,045 - $3,056.

Page added on July 20, 2006

Enter recipient's e-mail: