If your pet has been diagnosed with diabetes, you’re not alone. Pet diabetes is one of the most common pet health conditions today, with 1 in 300 dogs and 1 in 231 cats being affected. And although older pets are more commonly affected, diabetes can also occur in younger pets and pregnant pets.
As with all health conditions, early detection and appropriate ongoing management are key to better outcomes for your pet. Although pet diabetes can seem overwhelming, with careful monitoring, daily treatment, proper nutrition, and regular exercise, diabetic pets can still lead long, healthy, and happy lives.
About Pet Diabetes
When pets eat, food is broken down into glucose and absorbed by the small intestine. At the same time, the pancreas releases insulin, which turns to glucose to enter the body’s cells to be used as energy. Insulin also regulates blood sugar levels.
Pet diabetes occurs when either the body does not produce insulin, or it can’t properly utilize the insulin that is produced. Hyperglycemia results when glucose remains in the blood stream instead of entering the cells of the body. This can lead to many secondary health concerns including heart and kidney problems, cataracts, and nervous system disease.
Risk Factors For Pet Diabetes
Any pet, regardless of age, breed and lifestyle, can be affected by pet diabetes. However there are some known risk factors.
- Obese or overweight pets
- Senior pets
- Cushing’s disease
- Chronic pancreatitis
- Taking steroid medications
Early Detection of Pet Diabetes
If you notice your pet exhibiting any of the following signs, please bring them in to see us as soon as possible.
- Excessive thirst
- Excessive urination
- Weight loss, even with an increased appetite
- Change in grooming habits (especially with cats)
- Cloudy eyes
Pet diabetes can be detected with simple blood and urine tests. Once the initial diagnosis is confirmed, your veterinarian will prescribe a dose of insulin and teach you how to administer insulin injections at home. Daily insulin injections involve tiny needles and are generally well tolerated by pets.
The Long Game
The key to managing pet diabetes is to keep your pet’s blood sugar levels stable. We will want to avoid very high or low levels that can be life threatening.
Since each individual pet needs insulin at different doses, we will need to monitor your pet’s blood glucose regularly until we find the perfect insulin and dose for her. A diabetes specific diet, regular exercise, and regular veterinary monitoring are also keys to successful management and long term health.
Our veterinarians and staff are committed to helping pet owners manage pet diabetes, and are always available to help answer your questions and concerns. With a team approach, pet diabetes doesn’t have to be overwhelming.
Please contact the team at BEEVET Animal Hospital with any questions or concerns.