November is National Diabetes Month. Diabetes is a condition that can affect our pets, and ourselves too. When left untreated, diabetes can have some serious effects on your pet’s body, so active prevention and watching for early signs of diabetes are key. Here’s what you need to know!
What is Diabetes?
The cells in your pet’s body (and yours too) use the compound glucose for energy. Insulin is made by the pancreas and is the hormone that controls glucose levels in the bloodstream. Insulin directs your cells to uptake more glucose from the bloodstream when necessary. This occurs particularly after digestion when food has been broken down into small components and there is lots of glucose in the blood. Diabetes is a condition where the connection between insulin and glucose is not working as it should. Whether your pet is not producing enough insulin or is resistant to insulin, the main effect is that not enough glucose is transported into your pet’s cells, and so their cells cannot acquire enough energy. In response to this state, your pet’s body begins to break down essential compounds like fats and proteins to use for energy instead. Abnormal blood glucose levels can lead to damage of other organs over time.
Who’s at Risk?
- older pets are more likely to have diabetes, however, it can occur at any age
- certain dog breeds might be predisposed to diabetes like samoyeds, pugs, and miniature schnauzers
- female dogs are more likely to develop diabetes than male dogs
- obesity is a major factor contributing to cat and dog insulin resistance
- other health conditions can lead to diabetes in older pets, like pancreatitis or kidney disease
What are the Signs?
The earlier the diagnosis of diabetes, the better. You should take your pet to the vet if they start showing any of these early signs:
- excessive thirst and urination
- sudden weight loss
- reduced appetite
- cloudy eyes in dogs
Diabetes can pose a serious threat to your pet’s health. Some possible effects include:
- kidney failure
When caught early diabetes can be easily treated and controlled. The condition is also highly preventable. The best way to prevent diabetes is by ensuring your pet is on a healthy diet and getting plenty of exercise. Regular vet visits can increase the chances of diabetes being caught early.
Treatment for diabetes in pets often includes insulin injections, checking your pet’s blood or urine glucose levels, a specific diet, a feeding schedule, and a fitness regime given by your vet. Treatment is specific to each pet and their age, general health, and weight are usually taken into account.
Watching for early signs and keeping your dog healthy and active is the best way to prevent diabetes. If your pet does get diagnosed there is no need to panic. With proper management and help from your vet, your pet will still have a long and happy life.
At Dog Jogs we are committed to maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle for your pets, and we can also provide insulin injections during our visits. Read more about our story here and check out the other services we offer!