Diabetes is a pancreatic disorder.
There are two types:
• Type 1 diabetes: the body does not produce enough insulin
• Type 2 diabetes:(more common) the body is unable to use the insulin correctly
Your pet needs insulin in order to absorb glucose and convert it into energy.
Untreated, your pet's health will decline because the glucose cannot get into the cells to give them energy.
Diabetes is common in dogs that have the following combined factors:
• 6 to 9 years in age
Diabetes is common in cats that have the following combined factors:
• 10 yrs. or more
Initial signs include:
• Increased thirst and urination
• Vomiting and dehydration
• Increased appetite with weight loss
• Hind-limb weakness: walking with hocks touching the ground (nervous system damage)
• Difficulty breathing
Advanced signs for untreated diabetes include:
• Enlarged liver
• Susceptibility to infection
• Neurological problems
• Loss of appetite
To diagnose diabetes, we will review history and signs, perform a physical exam, blood and urine tests to check glucose levels and rule out other causes of these symptoms.
Most veterinarians will agree that diabetes is not curable, but can be controlled by:
Change in diet:
• High in protein and low in carbohydrates: controls blood sugar and promotes weight loss in obese dogs. Obese dogs have a hard time processing insulin, making their diabetes more difficult to control
• Spread calorie intake out over a few meals rather than all at once
Insulin is used to keep the blood glucose levels under control. You will be able to learn to give injections, as the insulin needles are tiny. Giving an injection is usually easier than giving a pill.
• The amount and frequency of insulin injections will be determined by your veterinarian but is generally twice daily
• Periodic Follow-up visits are necessary to check the blood glucose level and adjust the dosage
Be aware of behavioral changes that signal:
• Not enough insulin: extra drinking, eating and urination
• Too much insulin: confusion, stumbling and shivering
Pets with diabetes must eat regularly to guard against insulin overdose, but be careful to control the amount of food to prevent obesity.
While there is no way known to prevent type 1 diabetes, proper weight management can reduce the likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes.
The prognosis for a diabetic patient depends on your commitment to treat the disease, good communication between you and your veterinarian, and good control of the blood glucose with appropriate diet and dose of insulin.
With a strict diet, insulin and exercise, your pet can enjoy happy and healthy life, even with diabetes.