Diabetes is a condition that many of us are familiar with as it is so predominant in Western culture. Some people don’t realize, though, that this disease affects our pets, too. With one in 500 dogs and cats having diabetes, it is a condition that our staff at Surfside Animal Hospital diagnoses frequently. Read on to learn how you can recognize diabetes in dogs and what to do should you suspect it.
The Diabetic Dog
Diabetes is a similar disease, regardless of what species it is diagnosed in.
The cells of the body rely on glucose for energy. Glucose is derived from carbohydrates that are ingested in the diet. Once food is broken down to its component parts (like glucose) during the digestion process, the body relies on the hormone insulin to help it absorb the glucose into the cells.
In some cases, the pancreas does not produce enough insulin to be effective, while in other situations the cells need abnormally high amounts of insulin to absorb glucose. Regardless of which situation has occurred, the result is diabetes.
When glucose cannot be absorbed into the cells, they are left without their primary source of energy. Glucose also remains in the bloodstream, and spills over into the urine as well.
As a result, when diabetes in dogs happens, the symptoms typically include:
- Excessive thirst
- Increased urination
- Ravenous appetite
- Weight loss
- Cataract development
Pets exhibiting these symptoms should be examined as soon as possible. Call us right away if you suspect you might have a diabetic pet as serious consequences can occur if the condition goes untreated.
When Your Pet is Diabetic
While having a pet who has been diagnosed with diabetes can be a bit overwhelming at first, most do quite well with appropriate treatment.
When we suspect a pet may have diabetes, it is important for us to get an accurate diagnosis. Since other diseases may share similar symptoms, diagnostic testing is important to confirm diabetes.
Diabetes in dogs almost always requires daily insulin injections for successful management. While this can be intimidating, nearly all pets and owners are capable of achieving this at home.
Caring for a diabetic pet requires:
- Insulin therapy
- Dietary management
- Weight management where appropriate
- Frequent veterinary visits and blood testing to monitor response to therapy
- Close attention to eating, drinking, urination, and behavior at home
- Staying on top of pet wellness care
Managing diabetes in dogs definitely requires some effort, but it is worth it for a happy pet. Patients with diabetes often live fairly normal lives with proper care.
Recognizing that your pet may have diabetes certainly can help to ensure successful treatment. Don’t hesitate to let us know if you are concerned that your pet may be diabetic. While the diagnosis isn’t one you may want to hear, your pet is depending on you to identify that there is a problem so that we can help.