Diabetes is no longer just a human disease. The rise in obesity among the nation’s dogs and cats carries with it many of the same consequences as for overweight humans, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, certain cancers, and pet diabetes.
What Is Pet Diabetes?
Diabetes mellitus, the most common form of the condition in pets, is a disease of the pancreas. One of the pancreas’ jobs is to produce insulin, which allows the body to utilize sugar as energy and keep the blood sugar levels regulated.
There are two forms of pet diabetes:
- Type I Diabetes – This occurs when the pancreas is unable to produce insulin to regulate the blood sugar. Regular insulin injections are required.
- Type II Diabetes – This form of diabetes is associated with insulin resistance. The pancreas may still produce some insulin but the body is unable to process it. Oral medication or insulin injections may be necessary.
Symptoms Of Diabetes In Pets
The symptoms of pet diabetes can be subtle, which is why it’s important to be alert to your dog or cat’s health norms and note any changes in behavior. Give us a call right away if your pet exhibits any of the following symptoms:
- Excessive thirst
- Increase appetite (early on in the disease)
- Loss of appetite (as the disease advances)
- More frequent urination
- Weight loss
- Pungent “chemical” or “sweet” smelling breath
- Overall weakness
About 1 in 500 dogs and cats suffer from diabetes mellitus, but certain animals are more susceptible to the disease than others. Senior and female dogs tend to develop diabetes more readily, and certain breeds are more likely to be diagnosed than others, including poodles, samoyeds, miniature schnauzers, and dachshunds. Male and senior cats have a higher risk for developing diabetes than females and younger cats. Among all animals, obesity is a major risk factor in the development of diabetes.
Diagnosis And Treatment
We diagnose diabetes mellitus by evaluating your pet’s symptoms along with performing diagnostic testing. We look for consistently high blood glucose levels, glucose in the urine, and other symptoms of diabetes.
While diabetes can’t be “cured”, the symptoms can be managed and your pet can go on to live a long and healthy life.
Keeping your pet at a healthy weight, providing proper nutrition and encouraging an active lifestyle are key elements in controlling diabetes mellitus. Medications and glucose injections may seem overwhelming at first, but we can help you incorporate these into your daily pet care routine.
How Can I Prevent Diabetes In My Pet?
The cause of diabetes in pets is largely unknown and likely varies widely among individual pets, but we do know that obesity is a major risk factor for the disease. Keep your pets on the right track by adhering to the following:
- Make sure your pet gets plenty of exercise every day
- Provide a high quality, nutritious diet.
- Keep your pet at a healthy weight. Ask us about food and portion recommendations.
Please don’t hesitate to call Carriage Hills Animal Hospital if you have any questions about pet diabetes, or if you are concerned that your pet may be at risk.