Most people have heard of diabetes and understand what the disease entails. However, many do not realize diabetes may affect our furry friends. Unfortunately, unmanaged diabetes may lead to severe canine health problems, loss of limbs, and even death. Before rushing to the animal hospital in fear of dog diabetes, you need to know a few things about the disease.
What Causes Dog Diabetes?
Diabetes occurs when cells stop responding to insulin or an inadequate amount of insulin is available in the body, explains the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. After eating, a dog’s body releases insulin into the bloodstream, which enables glucose to enter individual cells. Ultimately, too little insulin results in not enough glucose—the energy for cells—to fuel cellular metabolism. When this occurs, the blood sugar level rises, which may begin to cause some of tragic illnesses mentioned-above. It’s important to remember there are two types of diabetes.
- Type I – This form of diabetes involves a lack of insulin production in the pancreas.
- Type II – This form of diabetes occurs when cells stop responding and when insulin production is reduced.
In dogs, Type I is the most common form of diabetes. In cats, Type I is typically found.
The exact cause of diabetes is dogs remains unknown; however, unhealthy weight, diet, and sedentary lifestyle tend to contribute to the onset of the disease. Additionally, some dog breeds may be more susceptible to developing diabetes, such as Australian terriers, schnauzers, keeshonds, poodles, samoyeds, golden retrievers, and dachshunds
Identifying Diabetes in Dogs
The symptoms of diabetes in pets tend to mirror human diabetes symptoms. If you notice any of the following symptoms, schedule an appointment with a veterinarian at your animal hospital:
- Appetite increases and decreases.
- Increased consumption of water.
- Changes in weight.
- Increased urination, otherwise known as polyuria.
- Fatigue and weakness.
- Cataracts, sores, or other skin infections.
- Urinary tract infections.
Treating Dog Diabetes
If your dog has type I diabetes, he will need to take insulin injections every day. You must ensure these injections are given at the same time daily, and the injections need to be given when your dog eats. Speak with your veterinarian about creating a schedule for your dog’s insulin injections and meal times. It’s recommended that you keep a journal of his eating patterns and medication schedules.
When first diagnosed, dog diabetes may have progressed severely, and your pet may require in-patient treatment in an animal hospital. He will be given fluids, his blood sugar will be monitored, and he will receive medication treatment. Furthermore, some dog diabetes may be solely treated through oral medication and a high-fiber diet. However, only your veterinarian can make this determination.
If your dog is overweight, you should begin working on developing an exercise regimen. This will help reduce the impact of diabetes, and it will help control blood sugar levels. Furthermore, do not give your dog treats with high sugars. You will also be performing routine blood sugar checks on your dog. A blood sugar check requires a drop of blood for at-home testing.
If you think your dog may have diabetes, you should contact the University Animal Hospital for a checkup today. By taking action now, you can prevent the worsening of symptoms and other diabetes-related health problems.