Diabetes in Pets: A Sneaky Adversary
Diabetes in pets is one of the most common conditions today, with 1 in 300 dogs and 1 in 231 cats being affected. Although more common in older pets, diabetes can also occur in younger or pregnant pets.
Early detection and proactive management with the help of our veterinarians can make the disease more manageable. The good news is that with proper monitoring, treatment, diet and exercise, diabetic pets can still lead long and healthy lives!
What Is Diabetes in Pets?
After pets eat, food is broken down into glucose. Glucose is then absorbed by the intestine and enters the body’s cells where it is converted into energy. Insulin, which is produced by the pancreas, helps the cells absorb glucose and also controls blood sugar levels.
Diabetes in pets occurs when either the body cannot produce insulin, or cannot use it properly. Instead of entering the cells, glucose remains in the bloodstream. High glucose levels in the blood can cause all manner of problems and impair kidney and heart function, cause cataracts, and impact the nervous system.
Although any pet, regardless of age, breed, or lifestyle can be affected by diabetes, there are some known risk factors.
- Obese or overweight pets
- Senior pets
- Pets with Cushing’s disease
- Pregnant females
- Pets with chronic pancreatitis
- Pets who are taking steroid medication
Catching Diabetes in Pets Early On
As with all health conditions affecting pets, early detection of diabetes in pets makes treatment much easier and more effective. You may know that pets are masters at hiding signs of disease, but luckily there are several behavioral changes associated with diabetes in pets to be aware of. If you notice any of the following signs, please call us to schedule an appointment right away.
- Excessive drinking
- Excessive urination
- Weight loss, even with an increased appetite
- Change in grooming habits (especially a decrease in grooming)
- Cloudy eyes
When Your Pet Has Diabetes
A diagnosis of diabetes in pets can be made with simple blood and urine tests. Once the diagnosis is confirmed, your veterinarian will recommend an initial dose and type of insulin to be given daily. Your veterinarian or veterinary technician will teach you how to administer a daily injection of insulin, which involves very tiny needles and are generally well tolerated by pets.
Successful management of diabetes in pets requires a team approach. We want to want to closely monitor your pet’s weight, appetite, drinking, and urination through regular examinations, blood and urine testing, daily insulin injections, dietary recommendations, and plenty of exercise.
The key to managing a diabetic pet is to keep their blood sugar near normal levels and to avoid very high or low levels that can be life threatening.
With early detection, careful monitoring, and daily management at home, pets can continue to live healthy, happy lives for years to come. Our veterinarians and staff are dedicated to helping pet owners manage diabetes in pets, and are always available to answer any and all questions you may have! By working together, diabetes in pets doesn’t have to be overwhelming.
Please contact our staff at Dickinson Animal Hospital & Pet Wellness Center with any questions or concerns.