Diabetes mellitus is a common endocrine disorder in dogs, touching almost a third of the general canine population. It is seen at increased frequency in breeds such as the miniature Poodle, Bichon Frise, Pug, Dachshund, miniature Schnauzer, Puli, Samoyed, Keeshound, Australian Terrier, Fox Terrier, Cairn Terrier and Beagle. The disorder is also more common in older, overweight dogs.
Diabetes affects dogs and cats in much the same way it affects people. The condition occurs when the pancreas is either not producing enough insulin (Type I Diabetes); or the pancreas is still producing some insulin, but the body is not utilizing it properly (Type II Diabetes). As a result, excessive glucose (hyperglycemia) builds up in the bloodstream, causing damage to many organs in the body including the blood vessels, kidneys, heart, nerves and eyes.
Most people are aware of the changes diabetes causes to blood sugar regulation. However, many are unaware of the numerous ocular changes that can develop secondary to diabetes.