As in humans, diabetes mellitus in dogs and cats is a chronic disease that occurs when the levels of glucose in the blood becomes elevated and unregulated due to inadequate insulin production or the body’s inability to use insulin properly. Prolonged high blood glucose levels can eventually lead to impairment of several body organs. These include the kidneys, eyes, heart and nervous system.
Although there are no tests to predict whether your pet will develop diabetes, certain factors, like obesity, are commonly associated with it.
Types of Diabetes
The disease is classified into 2 types. Type 1 diabetes (more common in dogs) is characterized by inadequate insulin production. Type 2 diabetes (more common in cats) is caused by insulin resistance.
Common symptoms include:
- coat deterioration
- excessive thirst
- frequent urination
- increased hunger
- recurring infections
- weight loss.
Some of these signs occur with other diseases as well. This is why it is important that your veterinarian conducts a clinical examination of your pet. Additionally, as animals age, they could be diagnosed with diseases that may increase the pet’s risk of becoming diabetic, including thyroid disease or pancreatitis.
Treatment of Diabetes in Pets
Diabetes type 1 can be treated by a veterinarian with insulin replacement therapy.
Pet food is the main source of glucose for your cat or dog, which is why diet is a vital part of diabetes management. The goal is to feed the right foods that will provide the energy needed without extra carbohydrates that can turn into excess sugar.
Exercise goes hand in hand with proper nutrition. Because diabetes can cause a pet to become lethargic, it’s important to provide motivation to increase activity levels. This is especially significant for pets with an obesity-linked diabetes diagnosis.
Along with diet and exercise, your pet’s management plan may include regular blood sugar tests and regular veterinary check-ups.
Pets with controlled diabetes will likely return to normal levels of thirst, appetite, urination and activity. Their weight will stabilize and they will be less likely to develop related complications or disease. Remember, your veterinarian is your greatest ally in managing your pet’s diabetes successfully!
For more info on diabetes in dogs, please visit the trusted petMD website – https://www.petmd.com/dog/conditions/endocrine/diabetes-dogs
For more info on diabetes in cats, please visit the trusted petMD website – https://www.petmd.com/cat/emergency/common-emergencies/e_ct_diabetes