We have all heard of diabetes. Perhaps you even know some people or have friends who are diabetic.
What is diabetes? Diabetes is a condition where not enough insulin is being produced by the pancreas or the body is not able to use the insulin correctly.
Can pets be diabetic?
Yes! Diabetes mellitus is being seen more and more in dogs and cats. There are two types of this disease that can affect pets:
Little to no insulin is being produced. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas to help regulate blood sugar (glucose). Glucose comes from diet. Cells in the body need glucose from the bloodstream and insulin is what helps cells to absorb the needed sugar. If insulin is not being produced, cells feel starved and cause the body to produce more and more sugar resulting in too much glucose in the body. Type I is most common to dogs and requires insulin injections. When dogs become diabetic they are diabetic for life.
Not enough insulin is being produced. This type of diabetes is the most common for cats. Cats have the potential to correct diabetes if improvement is made in the ability to produce insulin. This does not mean that diabetic cats can go without insulin injections. It means that they may not have to use injections for life. In a mild situation, cats may be able to use oral medication. A proper and balanced diet along with good control of glucose can help. Weight reduction can help as well.
Symptom of Diabetes:
Increased/excessive thirst Weight loss
Increased/excessive urination Cataracts/Blindness
Increased hunger Weakness
Inappropriate urination/urinary tract infection
Regulating blood sugar levels is vital. This is done through testing. Testing includes:
blood tests to check blood glucose levels
blood tests to monitor organs for the effects caused by the disease
urinalysis to monitor the output of glucose in the urine
Frequent testing is required to monitor glucose levels and make adjustments to insulin dosages until the condition is regulated. It may be necessary to change types of insulin to aid in this process. Diet changes may be required.
As with any disease – early detection is crucial. Untreated diabetes mellitus can be fatal. Contact our office today if your pet is exhibiting any symptoms of diabetes.