Since November is National Pet Diabetes Month, we're sharing some information about pet diabetes so that pet owners can know what to look for. First, it's important to know the basics of diabetes in pets. Specifically, Diabetes Mellitus Types I and II.
Type I Diabetes Mellitus commonly affects dogs and occurs when your pet's pancreas does not make enough insulin. When this happens, insulin injections must be given daily. Insulin is a hormone that is produced in the pancreas that regulates the amount of glucose in the bloodstream.
Type II Diabetes Mellitus occurs when the pancreas produces some insulin, but it's not enough or the body can't use it properly. Cats are often affected by Type II Diabetes Mellitus. Insulin injections are also the treatment of choice for this type of diabetes. The good news is that Type II diabetes can go into a remission of sorts and not require treatment for the entirety of the pet's life.
Knowing the signs and symptoms of diabetes can help pet owners catch this illness early on.
- Increased thirst and urination. (Known as polydipsia and polyuria.)
- Increased urination can mean more accidents inside the house.
- Increased appetite - your pet may always act like they are starving.
- Obese pets are prone to getting diabetes.
- Weight loss.
- Lethargy, which means overall weakness or inactivity.
- Strange gait in cats. Some cats will walk flat on the hocks of their back feet.
- Poor fur quality or hair loss.
- Diabetes can cause cataracts in dogs, which can ultimately lead to blindness.
As listed above, obese pets are prone to diabetes. That's why it's important to monitor their weight, diet, and exercise. By allowing your pet to live a healthy lifestyle early on, you are helping prevent disease later on in their life.
Diabetes is not a death sentence for your pet and is highly manageable. After being diagnosed, a veterinarian will prescribe a dose of daily insulin injections for your dog or cat. Often, insulin injections are given twice a day. While this might seem scary to someone who's never done it before, it's really easy. Insulin syringes are very tiny and the injection takes only seconds.
|Photo via Sarah|
Your dog or cat will need to have glucose curve tests performed on a regular basis by the veterinarian to make sure they are receiving the proper amounts of insulin. Your pet's dose of insulin may change over time, so that's why it's important to follow your vet's instructions with blood glucose tests. Pet owners can even test their pet's blood glucose levels at home too.
Remember that with proper care and management, a diabetic pet can live a long and happy life. Diabetes is not the end! As always, if you suspect your pet has diabetes you should take them to see the veterinarian.