Diabetes in Dogs and Pets– Recognize the Symptoms and Plan Treatment

Diabetes in dogs can be a serious and even life-threatening condition. If recognized early however, the condition can be controlled and your treasured pet can go on to lead a healthy and long life. Learn the warning signs of diabetes in dogs so you can catch this disease early and start treatment.

Causes of diabetes in dogs

Diabetes in animals acts very much like the diabetes that presents in humans. " Diabetes mellitus is a disease in which the beta cells of the endocrine pancreas either stop producing insulin or can no longer produce it in enough quantity for the body's needs" (1). This condition can occur in humans as well as dogs.

When insulin is ineffective, sugar can no longer move out of the blood and into body cells where it was once used for energy.

There are two main forms of diabetes in dogs, canine diabetes mellitus and canine diabetes insipidus. The symptoms are similar for both forms of diabetes.

Recognize the symptoms

Symptoms of diabetes can be subtle and may go unnoticed in your pet so it is important to note any of the following changes:

  • An increase in thirst or water consumption
  • More frequent urination or the unexplained occurrence of wetting accidents in the house
  • An increase in appetite without weight gain or with weight loss
  • Extreme or unusual lethargy
  • A clouding of the eyes may be seen in some pets

The only definitive way to detect diabetes in dogs is to have your vet perform a blood test. The purpose of this test is to detect excess levels of sugar in your pet’s blood.

If you notice any of the mentioned canine diabetes symptoms, then you will want to schedule an appointment and discuss your concerns with your veterinarian.

Treatment of Diabetes in Dogs

With early diagnosis and proper treatment, diabetes is treatable and a diabetic dog can go on and live as long and as well as a non-diabetic dog.

If symptoms are not recognized and the disease is allowed to progress, it can lead to eye problems such as cataracts, weakness in the legs, dehydration and premature death.

Treatment will begin as soon as diabetes is diagnosed. There are a number of things you can do to lessen the severity of your dog’s condition and the top of the list is placing your dog on a specially designed diabetes dog diet.

Typical dietary changes include lowering the amount of sugar and fat in your dog’s meals and increasing the amount of fiber and complex carbohydrates.

For milder cases of diabetes these changes in diet may be enough, but in more severe cases your dog may need to take medications or receive regular insulin injections.

As with humans, the goal of treatment is to manage blood sugar levels. This will take some trial and error as pet and owner get used to the new diet and medication combination, yet once treatment is regulated your pet should return to health.

Diabetes in dogs and other pets can often be controlled without shortening your pet’s life span or interfering with your dog’s quality of life.

(1) Wikipedia (2010). Diabetes in dogs. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diabetes_in_dogs

 

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