Diabetic cataracts: different incidence between dogs and cats

Schweiz Arch Tierheilkd. 2000 Jun;142(6):349-53.


Diabetes mellitus is one of the most common endocrinopathies in the dog and cat. Diabetic cataract primarily affects the canine species and is rarely observed in the cat. It has been proposed that the incidence of cataracts in diabetic dogs is high because many of these patients have significant hyperglycemia despite insulin therapy. Age, gender, levels of serum glucose (before and during insulin therapy) and cataract formation were evaluated, retrospectively, in 23 dogs and 22 cats with diabetes mellitus. In the canine population, the groups with the highest frequency of presentation were females and sexually intact animals. In contrast, males and neutered animals were the most prevalent groups in the feline diabetic population. Over 80% of diabetic cats and dogs were older than 7 years. Our results confirm the almost total lack of cataracts in diabetic cats, while they were present in more than half of the dogs. A relation between the incidence of cataracts and the correspondent level of hyperglycemia in the canine and feline species could not be established. The estimation of the relative risk for the development of cataracts in diabetic dogs shows that some population groups have a higher probability for suffering from this ocular alteration. A relation between relative risk and the correspondent level of hyperglycemia in the various groups was not found. This fact indicates that other factors are involved in the unequal appearance of diabetic cataracts in dogs and cats.

MeSH terms

  • Age Distribution
  • Animals
  • Cat Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Cat Diseases / etiology
  • Cataract / epidemiology
  • Cataract / etiology
  • Cataract / veterinary*
  • Cats
  • Diabetes Complications
  • Diabetes Mellitus / veterinary*
  • Dog Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Dog Diseases / etiology
  • Dogs
  • Female
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Distribution
  • Switzerland / epidemiology