Diabetes in Dogs

When we think of the disease diabetes, we tend to associate it with humans. Diabetes, however, is a chronic disease that can affect dogs and cats, as well as other animals. In dogs, the disease cannot usually be cured. However, with proper management, some cats can go into remission.

Diabetes mellitus (sweet), is the most common diabetic condition that our veterinarians see in dogs. This metabolic disease affects the glucose-insulin connection. When a dog eats his food, the digestive system helps breaks down the meal into numerous components, one of these being glucose (a simple sugar, used for energy). When glucose is extracted from the digested food, it is then carried into the dog’s cells by insulin (a pancreatic hormone). When a dog’s body is compromised with this disease, his metabolic system cannot produce insulin or have it function to its normal capacity, consequently causing his blood sugar level to increase.

There are two types of diabetes that are found in dogs that are responsible for this glucose-insulin inhibition. One being insulin-deficiency (the most common type of diabetes), this is where the dog’s body does not produce enough insulin. If your dog is suffering from this form of diabetes it means that the pancreas is either damaged or not functioning adequately. Management of this disease usually requires twice-daily injections as a way to help replace the missing amount of insulin that a healthy dog’s body would normally produce.

Insulin-resistance is the second form of diabetes found in dogs. During this condition, the pancreas is producing a small amount of insulin, but the dog’s metabolic system is not effectively using the insulin, as it should be.

Symptoms of diabetes:

There are early warning signs of this disease that your dog may exhibit if he is suffering from this chronic condition:
-Excessive thirst/ increase in water consumption
-Frequent urination
-Weight loss
-Increase in appetite

In more advanced stages of this disease, signs, and symptoms can become more obvious such as:
-Lethargy
-Loss of appetite
-Behavioral change
-Vomiting

If these symptoms are left unchecked and undiagnosed more life-threatening conditions can take place. Long-term effects of diabetes include:
-Enlarged liver
-Seizures
-Kidney failure
-Ketoacidosis

Diagnosis
Bringing in your furry friend to one of our experienced Veterinarians can be your best option in properly diagnosing your dog. Simple tests will be conducted including blood and urine tests that will indicate if there is an excessive amount of glucose in your dog’s body. The blood tests can also help determine if high liver enzymes, as well as electrolyte imbalances, are present.

Early detection and management of diabetes are crucial to helping to maintain the health of your pet. Annual Wellness Examinations will help determine if your pet is more likely to be diabetic, or you can schedule a sick appointment if clinical signs are noted at home. In addition to a getting the correct diagnosis, our team of veterinarians and veterinary nurses will help provide all the information you need to have the best chance of getting your pet’s diabetes well controlled, so that they can remain a loving part of your family for many years to come.