Diabetes in Dogs
There are two types of diabetes in dogs:
Diabetes insipidus, which is sometimes also known as “drinking diabetes”, which can lead to the failure to regulate the body’s water content. This is extremely rare.
Diabetes mellitus, sometimes also known as “sugar diabetes” is more common. It is caused by an insulin deficiency, either because the pancreas fails to produce enough insulin or because the body cannot adequately utilise insulin.
Symptoms of Diabetes in Dogs include;
- Drinking too much
- Urinating more often
- A ravenous appetite
- Rapid or sudden weight loss
Less obvious symptoms of diabetes include;
- Recurrent infections
- Poor coat quality
The above are the four classical signs of diabetes, but there are several other signs and symptoms that may present in more advanced cases:
- Sweet-smelling or fruity breath
- Lethargy or a lack of energy
- Loss of appetite
There are several factors that can contribute to the likelihood of a dog getting diabetes, including:
- Breed. Diabetes can occur in any purebred or mixed-breed dog. However, studies have shown that certain breeds have a higher risk of developing the disease, such as Miniature Poodles, Pugs, Dachshunds, Australian Terriers, Fox Terriers and Beagles.
- Age. Diabetes can occur at any age, but it most commonly occurs in middle-aged and older dogs. It is usually diagnosed in dogs five years of age or older.
- Gender. Unspeyed female dogs are twice as likely to get diabetes as male dogs.
- Weight. Obesity can make cells resistant to insulin, so it’s important to make sure your pet stays at a healthy weight.
- Diet. Feeding your dog a diet high in fat can contribute to pancreatitis and chronic or repeated cases of this condition can severely damage the pancreas and cause diabetes.
There are several factors that may contribute to the development of the disease. These include:
- Autoimmune disease
- Genetic predisposition
- Chronic or repeated pancreatitis
- Steroid medications
- Cushing’s disease
- Abnormal protein deposits in the pancreas
If you suspect that your dog may have diabetes, take him to the vet as soon as possible for a full check-up.
If left untreated, the disease can have a severe impact on your dog’s overall health and cause:
- Cataracts (eventually leading to blindness)
- An enlarged liver
- Urinary tract infections
- Chronic skin conditions
- Kidney failure
It's important to see your Veterinarian at the first indication of a problem—you'll reduce the permanent damage that diabetes can do to the body by diagnosing it as soon as possible.
If you suspect that your dog has diabetes, your vet will ask for details of any symptoms and perform a thorough physical examination. The treatment plan for your dog will vary depending on how severe the symptoms are and whether your dog has any other health issues. However, the main goal of treatment is to keep your pet’s blood sugar level as close to normal as possible. Diabetes treatment in dogs usually requires daily administration of insulin, as well as dietary changes, regular exercise and a stress-free lifestyle.
If you have questions about the signs of diabetes and whether your cat may be affected, please contact us as soon as possible to make an appointment.