Diabetes, also referred to as Diabetes Mellitus (DM), affects a pet’s ability to properly use or produce insulin; their body stops producing insulin altogether or cannot produce the quantity necessary. With diabetes, a pet’s body also inhibits organs and muscles from converting sugars into energy, creating a condition known as hyperglycemia – an excess of glucose in the bloodstream.
Female, obese, and elderly canines run a much higher risk of obtaining diabetes, whereas male felines have twice the risk as female cats. While the cause of each individual pet’s case is difficult to determine, genetics and obesity are believed to be the top two risk factors.
Symptoms that may indicate diabetes:
- Canines occasionally develop cataracts
- Excessive thirst
- Increased urination
- Labored breathing
- Sudden increase in appetite and excessive hunger
- Sweet smelling breath
- Tiredness combined with weakness
- Unexplainable weight loss
Treatment for diabetes
If we suspect that a patient may have diabetes, we usually perform a blood count, chemical profile, and urinalysis as standard tests to diagnose diabetes. Once a positive diagnosis is made, our veterinarian will discuss a custom treatment plan with you. Disease management differs for every pet depending upon their current health status and activity level. Most every pet can benefit from exercise, especially a diabetic animal. Daily exercise lowers insulin demand and is usually included in a treatment plan.
Nutrition is also an important aspect of care. We commonly enforce a strict nutritional diet alongside owner-administered insulin. You will receive proper instruction about correct dosages and timing prior to administering the insulin on your own. Keeping the amount of calories your pet eats consistent is critical, because insulin dosages are calculated upon that determinant. Diabetic pets perform best with regularly scheduled meals, and insulin dosages should be given at the same time every day. Diabetes is incurable, but the sooner a pet is examined and diagnosed, the sooner the disease can be managed; and the better the pet’s outlook is.
Please contact our veterinary office if you suspect that your pet might be suffering from diabetes.