Our Hyde Park Veterinary Clinic vets are seeing increasing numbers of pets with diabetes. While treatments are available for diabetes in pets, there is no cure. Today, we look at some of the most common symptoms of diabetes in pets, and the available treatments.
Types of Diabetes in Pets
As with people, there are two types of diabetes in pets. Neither of these conditions can be cured, however, both forms of this chronic illness can be managed effectively.
This form of diabetes occurs when the pet’s body isn’t producing enough insulin due to a damaged or poorly functioning pancreas. Insulin-deficient diabetes is the most common type of diabetes in pets.
This form of diabetes occurs when the pancreas is producing some insulin, but the pet’s body isn’t utilizing the insulin properly. Insulin-resistant diabetes is common in older, obese pets.
Why Has My Pet Developed Diabetes?
The cause of diabetes in pets is unknown however, several factors increase your pet's risk of developing diabetes. Pets most at risk of developing diabetes include:
- Pets being treated for other conditions with steroid medications
- Pets (dogs) suffering from Cushing's disease or other autoimmune disorders.
- Unspayed females
- Overweight pets
What Are The Symptoms Of Diabetes In Pets?
Make an appointment to see your vet as soon as possible if your pet is displaying any of the following symptoms of diabetes. Early diagnosis is the key to successfully managing this disease in pets. The early signs of diabetes in pets include:
- Frequent urination (polyuria)
- Drinking more water than usual
- Excessive appetite (polyphagia)
- Unexplained weight loss
As the disease becomes more advanced symptoms may become more severe and include:
- Visual impairment/blindness
- Lack of energy
- Joint stiffness/weakness
- Dull coat
How Is Diabetes In Pets Treated?
If your pet is diagnosed with diabetes your vet will prescribe medications and ongoing treatments that will allow you to manage your pet's condition. Ongoing treatment for diabetes in pets 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 pet for changes in symptoms and overall health
- Regular veterinary examinations
Left untreated, diabetes in pets can lead to serious and life-threatening side effects such as blindness, enlarged liver, urinary tract infections, seizures, kidney failure, and ketoacidosis.
Early diagnosis and treatment are important for successful treatment outcomes. Regular wellness checks at your vet's office once or twice a year can help your vet to spot the early signs of diabetes and begin treatment before the condition becomes more severe.