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Diabetes falls under one of two categories. Type 1 occurs when there is a lack of insulin production in the body. Type II happens because of impaired insulin production combined with an inadequate response to the insulin hormone. Diabetes is common in both dogs and cats. Dogs are most likely to be diagnosed with Type 1 while cats are most likely to be diagnosed with Type II. We’ll talk about diabetes in dogs first, and then we’ll move on to cats.
When your dog eats, his body, just like yours or mine, breaks down his food into several components. One of these components is glucose which is then carried into his cells by insulin. Insulin is the hormone secreted by the pancreas. When your dogs’ body does not produce insulin or cannot use it in a productive manner, his blood sugar will rise. When hyperglycemia occurs and it isn’t treated, it could cause health issues for your dog. Diabetes is manageable however and with proper treatment your dog can a live a full, happy, and healthy life.
If you notice the following symptoms in your dog, it could be an indication that your dog has developed diabetes:
Change in appetite
Excessive thirst/water consumption
Sweet Smelling or fruity breath
Urinary Tract Infections
It’s unclear why dogs develop diabetes but there are factors that put your dog at risk. If your dog already has an autoimmune disease, his chances are greater that he will develop diabetes. Genetics is another factor, along with obesity.
Dogs that are obese run a greater risk of developing diabetes. Carrying extra weight hinders the ability of the pancreas to properly create, or use insulin. Female dogs are also more likely to develop diabetes than male dogs because of hormone levels. Having your dog spayed will reduce her risk of being diagnosed with diabetes because it reduces the amount of hormones within her body.
If you believe your dog might have diabetes, consult your veterinarian. He or she will perform a physical on your dog, checking both blood work and urine.
How your dog is treated for diabetes is based on the results of his blood work and how severe his symptoms might be. The treatment plan for your dog will be designed around his life, as each dog is treated in a different manner.
For the majority of dogs, insulin injections are necessary in order to regulate blood glucose. When your veterinarian is able to determine a treatment plan for your dog, you’ll be shown how to administer insulin at home.
If insulin is not necessary then your veterinarian may place your dog on an oral medication, or a high fiber diet which will help to stabilize glucose levels in your dogs’ bloodstream.
The dogs that have the highest level of glucose in their bloodstream might need to be hospitalized in order to have their glucose levels stabilized. These are the dogs that are most ill when they are first diagnosed.
Your veterinarian will develop a treatment plan and give you instructions on how to take care of your dog at home. It’s important to remember that your dog will need his insulin injections at the same time every day, along with his regular meal schedule. When this occurs, it allows for nutrition and medication to work as a team in order to keep your dogs’ glucose level steady. Your dog can still have treats, but they need to part of his treatment plan. Your veterinarian will also help set up a schedule for checking your dogs’ blood sugar level.
Diet and exercise may prevent your dog from developing diabetes as he grows older but in the case of heredity, diabetes might not be preventable. It’s best to keep your dog at a proper weight but if you do suspect diabetes, don’t hesitate to contact your veterinarian.
Cats are developing Type 1 Diabetes at an all-time high rate. It’s suspected that 2% of the cat population has diabetes thought that number might be underestimated. Type 1 occurs when a cats’ body is unable to produce insulin in order to balance blood sugar/glucose levels. When left untreated, cats’ are also susceptible to the long term effects of hyperglycemia. Symptoms of diabetes in cats are similar to symptoms displayed in dogs:
Loss of Appetite
While diabetes is common in cats of all shapes and sizes, a cat that is obese is more likely to develop diabetes then a cat of a smaller size. Cats with diabetes also have larger appetites because their bodies are not able to use food properly as fuel.
If you suspect your cat has diabetes your veterinarian will check both blood and urine samples. He will also perform a physical examination on your cat to help determine a treatment plan.
Treating Cats with Diabetes
If your cat is diagnosed with diabetes your veterinarian will suggest a change in dietary habits. Your cat will most likely be placed on a low-carbohydrate cat food and prescribed insulin therapy to help regulate his blood sugar. Oral medications might be prescribed but they often have side effects. Your veterinarian will check your cats’ blood sugar every three to four months but you will be required to give your cat his daily insulin injections.
Diabetes in cats is not curable but with proper treatment of diet and medication, you should be able to get your cats’ glucose levels under control. Once those numbers are under control, it’s important to maintain those numbers in order to keep your cat healthy for the rest of his life.
Thank you to https://pets.webmd.com for help with this post. See their website for more tips on keeping your pet happy and healthy.
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