Knowing About Diabetes in Pets
Diabetes is a relatively common medical condition in both dogs and cats. It occurs when the body cannot properly regulate blood sugar (glucose) levels due to a lack of insulin or an inability to effectively use insulin.
Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that helps regulate glucose metabolism. Diabetes can have profound health implications if not properly managed, so it’s essential to know whether your pet is diabetic as soon as possible.
This article details:
- The types of diabetes your pet may get
- The symptoms of diabetes
- Ways your Alpharetta veterinarian can treat diabetes in your pet
- How to help prevent your pet from getting diabetes
- And more
The Two Types of Diabetes Your Pet May Get
Just like with humans, there is more than one kind of diabetes your pet may get. The good news is that when caught early, the right treatment can play a vital role.
Type 1 Diabetes
Also known as insulin-dependent diabetes, this occurs when the pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin. Dogs are more likely to develop type 1 diabetes.
Type 2 Diabetes
This is characterized by insulin resistance, where the body’s cells don’t respond appropriately to insulin. Cats are more prone to type 2 diabetes.
Each type of diabetes provides several symptoms that may cause your pet discomfort.
Symptoms of a diabetic pet include:
- Increased thirst (polydipsia)
- Frequent urination (polyuria)
- Increased appetite while losing weight (polyphagia)
- Lethargy or weakness
- Cloudy eyes (due to cataract formation)
- Unkempt appearance due to decreased grooming (especially in cats)
- Vomiting (more common in cats)
- Sweet-smelling breath (due to the body breaking down fats for energy)
Determining Whether Your Pet Has Diabetes & Diabetes Treatment
Your Fulton County veterinarian will conduct a thorough physical examination and may perform blood tests to diagnose diabetes. Blood tests will measure glucose levels and may also evaluate other parameters related to kidney function, liver function, and overall health.
Diabetes management typically involves a combination of dietary changes, insulin therapy (for type 1 diabetes), weight management, and regular monitoring. Treatment goals include maintaining stable blood sugar levels, preventing complications, and improving the pet’s quality of life.
Diabetes treatments from your vet include:
- Insulin therapy: For pets with type 1 diabetes, insulin injections are often necessary. Your veterinarian will determine the type and dosage of insulin based on the pet’s needs.
- Diet: Feeding a consistent, balanced diet with the appropriate level of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats is crucial in managing blood sugar levels. High-fiber diets can be helpful in some cases.
- Weight management: Maintaining a healthy weight is important, as obesity can worsen insulin resistance. Your veterinarian can provide guidance on weight management strategies.
- Monitoring: Regular monitoring of blood glucose levels is essential. This can be done at home using a glucometer with guidance from your veterinarian.
- Regular vet visits: Regular veterinary check-ups are crucial to assessing your pet’s response to treatment, adjusting insulin dosages if needed, and catching any potential complications early.
If your pet’s diabetes is not well-managed, it can lead to complications such as ketoacidosis, cataracts, urinary tract infections, and nerve damage. It’s always best to seek treatment at the first signs of discomfort or actions that are out of your pet’s usual character.
Can I Prevent My Pet from Getting Diabetes?
While genetic predisposition may exist, maintaining a healthy weight and lifestyle for your pets can help reduce the risk of developing diabetes.
If you suspect your pet has diabetes or is showing symptoms, it’s crucial to consult a veterinarian. Early diagnosis and proper management can significantly improve your pet’s quality of life and overall health.
Visit Our Fulton County Animal Hospital for Your Pet’s Health
You don’t want your pet living through uncomfortable symptoms that keep them from living their best life. Let us help. Learn whether your pet has diabetes and get the optimal treatment plan based on their needs.
Remember to always pay attention to your pet’s conduct, and if you’re unsure about anything or notice uncharacteristic behavior, feel free to contact our Alpharetta animal hospital today.