Diabetes is a common condition in both dogs and cats. It tends to affect middle aged to older animals with a slightly increased incidence in female dogs and male cats.
Being overweight can predispose your pet to getting this condition, so keeping your pet slim is one thing you can do to help prevent your pet developing diabetes.
Diabetes is a medical condition involving a lack of insulin, which is the hormone required to control the body’s sugar levels. When animals eat, sugar gets absorbed through the gut and passes into the blood stream. The blood then acts as a transport system to deliver sugar to all the cells and tissues in the body that require it, where it is then used as an energy source.
For the sugar to move from the blood to the areas needed the hormone insulin is required. In diabetic pets there may be plenty of sugar in the blood but without insulin it can’t pass into the cells, and thus the body fails to function properly.
The classic clinical signs to look out for are excessive thirst, urination and increased appetite along with weight loss.
If left untreated diabetes can progress and become a life- threatening condition which can eventually lead to a coma.
Diagnosis & Treatment Of Diabetes In Pets
Diabetes is very simple to diagnose with urine and blood tests. In general diabetes is managed by replacing the lack of insulin in the body by an injection or medication. Generally insulin is required twice daily. This is a non-painful injection that most pets do not even notice as it is a very small dose given via a very small needle. The other long-term management include a regular diet and exercise, weight management and neutering female dogs.
Diabetes in general is a lifelong condition that will need continuous treatment. Some cats can suffer from a form of diabetes that is transient and sometimes can be weaned off insulin, but this is not the case with dogs. Blood and urine tests are required periodically to monitor the stability of the disease during the entire lifetime of the pet.
Obesity is a known predisposing factor for diabetes thus weight management is crucial in reducing the incidence of this disease.
Learning that your pet is diabetic can be a shock for most owners. Diabetes can be managed very effectively with a combination of diet and insulin therapy, however success depends very much on your commitment to your pet’s health.
If you suspect that your pet may be showing these symptoms, call the practice and book an appointment.