Diabetic autonomic neuropathy is a debilitating, poorly studied complication of diabetes. Our previous studies of non-obese diabetic (NOD) and related mouse models identified rapidly developing, dramatic pathology in prevertebral sympathetic ganglia; however, once diabetic, the mice did not survive for extended periods needed to examine the ability of therapeutic agents to correct established neuropathy. In the current manuscript we show that the Akita (Ins2(Akita)) mouse is a robust model of diabetic sympathetic autonomic neuropathy with unambiguous, spontaneous, rapidly-developing neuropathology which corresponds closely to the characteristic pathology of other rodent models and man. Akita mice diabetic for 2, 4 or 8 months of diabetes progressively developed markedly swollen axons and dendrites (“neuritic dystrophy”) in the prevertebral superior mesenteric (SMG) and celiac ganglia (CG). Comparable changes failed to develop in the superior cervical ganglia (SCG) of the Akita mouse or in any ganglia of non-diabetic mice. Morphometric studies demonstrate an overall increase in presynaptic axon terminal cross sectional area, including those without any ultrastructural features of dystrophy. Neurons in Akita mouse prevertebral sympathetic ganglia show an unusual perikaryal alteration characterized by the accumulation of membranous aggregates and minute mitochondria and loss of rough endoplasmic reticulum. These changes result in the loss of a third of neurons in the CG over the course of 8 months of diabetes. The extended survival of diabetic mice and robust pathologic findings provide a clinically relevant paradigm that will facilitate the analysis of novel therapeutic agents on the reversal of autonomic neuropathy.