Diabetes in Dogs

When we think of the disease diabetes, we most commonly associate it with humans. Diabetes, however, is a chronic disease which can affect dogs and cats, as well as other animals. In dogs, the disease typically cannot be cured, only managed. 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, with 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 or her metabolic system cannot produce insulin or have it function to its normal capacity, which increases his or her blood sugar level.

Two types of diabetes are found in dogs, which can be 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 make up for 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 produces a small amount of insulin, but the dog’s metabolic system is not effectively using the insulin.

Symptoms of diabetes:

There are early warning signs of this disease that your dog may exhibit if they are 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, including such indicators as:
-Loss of appetite
-Behavioral change

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

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, indicating an excessive amount of glucose in your dog’s body. The blood tests can also help determine if high liver enzymes and electrolyte imbalances are present.

Dog Diabetes Veterinarian

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