Diabetes in dogs and catsNot only people get diabetes: dogs and cats also suffer from it. According to the German Federal Association for Animal Health, around 30.000 dogs and 20.000 cats affected. The metabolic disorder can also occur in other pets, but the number of cases there is significantly lower.
Symptoms of diabetes in pets
You don't have to be a specialist to recognize the signs of a metabolic disorder. Attentive pet owners recognize the symptoms already at the feeding bowl. Typical alarm signals: the pets develop great thirst and ravenous appetite. At the same time, they are noticeably losing weight. In addition, their urge to urinate increases. Cause: The increased blood sugar in the urine withdraws water from the body. The animals try to compensate for this loss by drinking. Coat changes, hair loss and cloudy eye lenses can also be consequences of diabetes.
In cats, veterinarian Fabian von Manteuffel also pays attention to their gait. "With diabetes their gait becomes clumsier. Instead of only the toes they put on the whole foot and bend in behind something."
Sick animals must be given special food
If owners observe these symptoms, they should take their animal to the doctor. With a blood and urine test, he reliably determines whether the blood sugar level is actually elevated. If this is the case, must be changed to special diabetic food. As with people with this disease, discipline in eating is also very important for animals: meals only at fixed times and absolutely no treats in between.
Dogs usually have no problem with solid meals. Cats are more likely to have difficulties. They are accustomed to eat throughout the day. This sometimes requires strong nerves on the part of the owners.
Animals also get insulin
After dogs and cats have eaten, they need to be given insulin doses. Owners can usually administer the drug to their animals themselves after a brief introduction. The hormone is injected under the skin, usually on one side of the body. Pets react differently to this new habit. Some animals do not even wake up from it, others do not like it at all. Patience and loving care help with the changeover.
Insulin is in ampoules. These should be stored in the refrigerator and gently rolled back and forth before use. Vigorous shaking is not recommended under any circumstances, as this would cause the insulin molecules to break down and lose their effectiveness. The amount of hormone administration is determined by the veterinarian. It depends on the severity of the case and the size and weight of the animal.
Be prepared for permanent additional costs
Diabetes food is more expensive than ordinary. In addition, there are the costs for the hormone preparation. 10 milliliters of insulin cost about 100 euros. The quadrupeds need two injections daily. In addition, more frequent visits to the doctor must be taken into account in the initial phase. Especially in the beginning, regular medical check-ups are necessary to see how successful the therapy is. Longer trips or excursions should be postponed at this stage.
If the blood glucose level is well adjusted, owners can check the urine for sugar themselves using a test strip. Alternatively, small testing devices for home use can also be used. Similar to humans, a small drop of blood is taken and the blood glucose level is determined.
Immediate help for hypoglycemia
Pets can also suffer from hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia manifests itself in the same way as in humans in weakness, swaying and trembling. It can even lead to unconsciousness. Dextrose helps as an emergency measure. The drop should be placed under the animal's tongue or, if it can no longer swallow, massaged into the gums.
If the insulin injection is forgotten, the owner should contact the veterinarian immediately. The injection can be made up, but the dosage may have to be halved. If the animal vomits after eating, it is best for owners to wait an hour. Then they can offer the animal food again and then inject the insulin. For prevention, veterinarians recommend the following for dogs. Different strategies for cats. In dogs, mainly female animals are affected. Since the sex hormones have a negative influence on insulin, neutering should be considered.
With cats it hits rather the male, overweight specimens. A healthy weight in the animals is the best prophylaxis.
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