What is Diabetes?
Diabetes occurs when there is a lack of insulin in your pet’s body. How did my pet get Diabetes?
Diabetes acts the same in pets as it does in humans.Just like humans, genetics plays a role in why we get certain diseases like Diabetes. Another factor that may play a role is your pet’s weight, as obese pets are more likely to develop Diabetes than pets at an ideal weight.
Your pet’s pancreas is ultimately responsible for your pet’s natural production of insulin. Other conditions that impact their pancreas can contribute to a condition of Diabetes. Insulin resistance and secondary diabetes can be linked in pets, particularly dogs that exhibit hyperadrenocorticism (Cushing’s Disease) or are treated chronically with glucocorticoids or progestins. What is happening to my pet?
Each time your pet eats their food it begins to break down. One of the components of the food that is broken down is glucose (sugar) that is then carried to their cells by insulin. If your pet cannot produce enough insulin or if the insulin that they do produce doesn’t work properly it can’t carry the glucose to the cells. This means that there is a build-up of glucose (sugar) causing blood sugar levels to rise. Too much sugar in your pet’s bloodstream will cause adverse side effects. What are the symptoms?
How does my veterinarian diagnose Diabetes?
- Increased/excessive water consumption (polydipsia)
- Increased/excessive urination (polyuria)
- Weight loss, even if their appetite has increased
- Vision issues (bilateral cataracts occur mostly in dogs)
- Chronic or recurring infections (especially skin infections)
Your pet’s outward appearance and behavior will indicate to the veterinarian that there is a need for further diagnostics to determine if your pet has Diabetes. Further diagnostic tests can include: Bloodwork which will determine if there is an elevation in blood sugar (glucose) in your pet’s bloodstream.
- Urinalysis, to determine if your pet has glucose to spill into the urine.
- Cat’s are unique in that they can cause themselves to become transiently diabetic due to stress levels. Your veterinarian will want to check a fructosamine to properly diagnose your cat as truly diabetic.
- Since diabetes can be a result of other issues in your pet, your veterinarian may want to perform additional tests to determine your pet’s overall health.
Your pet’s prognosis is good once they are properly regulated and continue with consistent medication and diet. Your pet can go on to live a normal life without developing many other symptoms. Treatment Expectations
Weight loss, diet and insulin are all standards in treating diabetes. Pets and their owners should work alongside their veterinarians in properly and safely achieving weight loss goals for the pets. Cats are usually prescribed high protein low fiber diets, whereas dogs are typically prescribed high fiber complex carbohydrate diets. Hills Science Diet W/D is one commonly used diet in dogs with diabetes due to its high fiber content. It is important that your pet’s treatment becomes part of your daily routine. Insulin injections are a very integral part of treatment and once the pet owner and veterinarian decide on which insulin is best to treat the pet, successful management is literally in the hands of the pet owner. Your veterinarian will want to see your pet for regular checkups every 6 - 12 months depending on your pet’s age and response to treatment. If you notice sudden changes in your pet’s behavior it is important that you contact your veterinarian as soon as possible to help you regulate your pet’s treatment. Read More