Pet Diabetes: Is Your Pet At Risk?

Millions of people around the world are living with, or know someone living with diabetes. Yet, in spite of how pervasive this disease has become in our society, many pet owners are surprised to learn that their four-legged friends are also susceptible to the disease. Moreover, just like its human counterpart, diagnosis of pet diabetes is also experiencing a steady rise.

While the rise of pet diabetes is indeed an alarming fact, the overall prognosis for those diagnosed with the disease is looking better than ever, thanks in part to an increased understanding of the disease as it pertains to pets and in the treatment options available to veterinarians and owners, alike. Your team at Berkeley Veterinary Center is not only committed to raising awareness of the risk of pet diabetes, but also providing diabetic pets with the best possible treatment for the disease.

A Primer on Pet Diabetes

At its core, pet diabetes is much the same as the human disease.

Diabetes is a disease of the pancreas, the organ responsible for producing adequate levels of the hormone known as insulin. In a healthy body, insulin pushes glucose (sugar) into the body’s cells through the bloodstream. When insulin levels are impaired or non-existent, the cells basically starve and glucose builds up in the bloodstream. If left untreated, this will cause the body to start breaking down fat to feed the cells, leading to life-threatening complications.

In human patients, diabetes is classified as Type I or Type II. Type I occurs when the pancreas does not make enough insulin to sustain the body. Conversely, Type II diabetes occurs when the body cannot respond normally to the insulin made by the pancreas (insulin resistance), and the eventual inability to make enough insulin to keep the blood glucose at normal levels. Although diabetes in pets is sometimes classified as Type I or II, the difference between the types is less clear in pets than it is in humans.

Cats and Dogs?

Both cats and dogs are at risk for pet diabetes. While senior pets of both species are at high-risk of developing the disease, pets of any age are susceptible to becoming diabetic. Consider these interesting facts about pet diabetes in cats and dogs:

  • Pet diabetes is more likely to be found in overweight cats and dogs and among those that eat primarily high-carbohydrate diets
  • An overweight cat is four-times more at risk of developing diabetes than a cat of normal weight
  • Most diabetic cats are older than 6 years of age
  • Male cats are twice as likely than female cats to develop diabetes
  • Female dogs have a higher risk than male dogs
  • Among canine species, Miniature Poodles, Dachshunds, Terriers, Cocker Spaniels, Doberman Pinschers, Labrador and Golden Retrievers, and German Shepherds have an above-average rate of developing diabetes.
  • Diabetic dogs are usually 4-14 years of age, and most are diagnosed at roughly 7-10 years of age

Symptoms of Diabetes in Pets

Keeping up with your pet’s regular wellness exams and lab work will help detect early warning signs of diabetes. However, symptoms may develop between appointments, particularly in obese and senior pets. Be mindful of the following symptoms of pet diabetes:

  • Increased appetite paired with apparent weight loss
  • Increased thirst along with increase need to urinate
  • Whiteness of the lens of the eye
  • Weakness
  • Lethargy
  • Oily skin, dandruff, or other poor condition of the skin
  • Vomiting and dehydration

Looking Ahead

If your pet is diagnosed with diabetes, don’t feel too overwhelmed; helping pets live with diabetes doesn’t have to be complicated. Certain diagnostics, such as urinalysis and blood tests, will help us create a treatment plan for your pet’s unique situation. We offer internal medicine for diabetic stabilization and work closely with owners on monitoring pet glucose levels. Given just beneath the skin, insulin injections cause minimal pain and can be done swiftly.

You’ll also need to remember that…

  • Managing your pet’s weight is critical toward the treatment of pet diabetes.
  • Keeping their diet consistent helps regulate blood sugar.
  • Consistent exercise for diabetic pets is an important daily activity for their health.

Early detection and treatment is paramount to the successful treatment of any disease. If you have questions or concerns regarding pet diabetes, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Our team is at your service.

Tags: , ,