A blind dog sees his family again, and the video of the formerly blind dog’s reunion with the family after his eye surgery is touching the hearts of many. Diabetes in dogs is a merciless disease because unlike for people, it is much harder for an animal to understand what and why something is happening. As reported by KVKI on June 23, Duffy is a 10-year-old Irish Terrier who developed diabetes and went blind.
According to a local CBS report from West Chester in Pennsylvania, Malcom and Peggy May rescued and adopted Duffy nine years ago when he was less than one year old. Duffy was born healthy but was losing his eyesight due to diabetes. In January, the May family was told that if they were to do anything about their dog’s eyesight, it was now or never.
The development of diabetes in dogs around the age of six to nine years is not uncommon. While diabetes mellitus, or also called sugar diabetes, is often seen in Golden Retrievers, German Shepherd Dogs, Miniature Schnauzers, Keeshonden, and Poodles, the disease can be found in all breeds. According to Pets WebMd, female dogs that have diabetes usually outnumber males by three to one.
The early symptoms of diabetes in dogs often include an increase in appetite, having to pee frequently, drinking lots of water, but still showing an unexplained weight loss. The more advanced symptoms of diabetes in dogs include lethargy, loss of appetite, vomiting, dehydration, weakness, and – in extreme cases – coma.
While the onset of diabetes in dogs is usually at the age of six to nine years, juvenile diabetes in dogs can happen at any age. The early signs like changes in appetite and energy are often missed by the owners because no one suspects it. Diabetes is a disease that begins with the body’s inability to produce adequate insulin by the islet cells in the pancreas. Veterinarians can diagnose the disease by examining glucose levels in a dog’s blood or urine. If the disease remains undetected, it will eventually affect all organs including enlarged livers, compromised kidneys, infections, and neurological problems.
Rescue dogs like Duffy often do not come with a canine family history, and owners of rescue dogs might benefit knowing about the signs of diabetes since there might be a genetic predisposition for the disease. After having lost a precious two-year-old Lhasa-Apso mix canine soul mate to juvenile diabetes, it is also worth sharing information about diabetic ketoacidosis.
Pay attention to your dog’s breath. A dog’s breath can tell owners that a rescue dog is dealing with a potentially deadly disease if it smells unusual like nail polish remover or acid. Symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis can include weakness, vomiting, and rapid breathing because the dog is experiencing severe hyperglycemia in which ketones (acids) build up in the blood. Diabetic ketoacidosis warrants an emergency visit to the veterinarian.
Luckily for 10-year-old Duffy, his owners were aware of his diabetes. However, last January the May family was told by the Veterinary Referral Center in Malvern that Duffy was running out of time in regard to his eyesight.
“We had to pull the trigger, it was one of those decisions where it was is it going to work or not, it was a narrow window with dogs get full blown diabetes and with Dr. Beale and Dr. Kumrow were right there onboard with us,” said Malcom May.
For the May family, giving blind dog Duffy a chance to see the family again was the right decision. As for Duffy, he apparently wasn’t disturbed by the high-pitched excited voices. He just wagged his tail. The above video was shot right after Duffy’s eye surgery. Malcom and Peggy took it to share their experience with their son Benjamin who is teaching English abroad. After Ben posted the video on YouTube last Saturday, it has received almost four million views.
In the video’s description, Ben writes the following:
“This is my Irish Terrier Duffy. He's a rescue dog and he's had a lot of struggles with his health. He developed diabetes and lost his eyesight. With medication we got his diabetes stable and he qualified for eye surgery to give him back his sight. Here he is seeing my parents for the first time in months."