What is dog diabetes?
There are two main types of diabetes in dogs, although neither form of diabetes can be cured, both can be managed effectively.
Sugar diabetes or diabetes mellitus is an insulin-deficiency diabetes that occurs when your dog’s body isn’t producing enough insulin. This is the most common form of diabetes in dogs.
Insulin-resistance diabetes results from the dog’s pancreas producing some insulin, but not utilizing the insulin as it should. This type of diabetes is common in older dogs, obese dogs.
How serious is diabetes in dogs?
Much like diabetes in people, diabetes in dogs is a life-threatening illness. That said, both forms of diabetes seen in our canine companions can be effectively managed with a little extra effort from pet parents. Dogs that pass away from diabetes typically do so in the first couple of months following diagnosis, before the condition has been regulated. Once the disease is being successfully managed with ongoing treatments your dog could go on to live a long, happy, symptom-free life.
What are the symptoms of dog diabetes?
If your dog is displaying any of the following symptoms, make an appointment to see your vet as soon as possible. Early diagnosis is the key to successfully managing diabetes in dogs.
frequent urination, drinking more water than usual, excessive appetite, sudden unexplained weight loss, vomiting, recurrent infections, poor coat, seizures, weakness/lack of energy.
Once the disease is more advanced symptoms may become more severe and include:
- Cataracts leading to visual impairment/blindness
- Lack of energy
- Joint stiffness/weakness
- Dull coat
If diabetes is not managed effectively, or not treated at all, severe symptoms include:
- Cataracts resulting in blindness
- Urinary tract infections (UTI’s)
- Kidney failure
- Enlarged liver/Liver disease
Hypoglycemia is a life-threatening condition that occurs due to low blood sugar that can be caused by diabetes and results in symptoms such as panting, shaking, vomiting, lethargy, and sweet-smelling breath. Hypoglycemia in dogs is a veterinary emergency. Contact your nearest emergency vet if your dog begins showing symptoms that could be related to hypoglycemia.
How is diabetes in dogs treated?
Following a thorough examination and testing, if your dog is diagnosed with diabetes your vet will prescribe medications and ongoing treatments that will allow you to manage your dog’s condition.
Ongoing treatment for diabetes in dogs typically involves:
Daily insulin shots, regular daily exercise to help avoid spikes or sudden drops in glucose levels, a special, vet-recommended diet, close monitoring of your dog for changes in symptoms and overall health, regular veterinary examinations.
One of the best ways to monitor your dog’s health is through regular wellness checks at your vet’s office. Having your dog examined once or twice a year can help your vet to monitor your dog’s overall health and spot the earliest signs of diabetes.
Can dog diabetes be prevented?
While there are no guarantees, you may be able to help your dog avoid developing diabetes by providing them with a healthy lifestyle. Keep your pup’s weight at a healthy level based on their sex, age and breed, feed your dog a high-quality diet that meets all of their nutritional requirements, and ensure that your four-legged friend gets plenty of exercise every day.
Veterinary Medical and Surgical Group of Orange County