Diabetes in dogs: causes, symptoms and cureDiabetes in dogs? Unfortunately yes. Because even the beloved four-legged friend is not immune to this disease. By the way: the term "diabetes mellitus" comes from the Latin. Translated, it means "sweet flow". This name has its origin in the time when diseases were diagnosed on the basis of urine.
Dogs can also suffer from diabetes / Photo: pixabay.com
Diabetes in dogs
Diabetes is a metabolic disease. The dog lacks the hormone insulin, which lowers blood sugar levels. Diabetes usually appears only at an advanced age of the dog. But even young dogs can occasionally be affected. Male dogs are less likely to develop diabetes mellitus than female dogs.
The hormone insulin, which regulates the blood sugar level, is produced in the pancreas. It helps to transport glucose from food into the cells. If no or too little insulin is produced, the glucose does not enter the cells but remains in the blood. The blood sugar level rises. The dog shows the typical diabetes symptoms.
– Diabetes mellitus type 1 – Diabetes mellitus type 2
type 1 diabetes: Some dog breeds have a genetic predisposition to diabetes. US statistics indicate that especially small breeds of dogs tend to diabetes. For example Bichon frise, Fox Terrier, Pug and also Miniature Poodle. A disorder of the immune system or the hormone balance can also lead to this type of diabetes. Wrong nutrition and overweight additionally promote diabetes mellitus type 1.
Type 2 diabetes: This form of diabetes occurs relatively rarely in dogs. In most cases, insulin resistance of the cells is the cause of the disease.
Symptoms of diabetes in dogs
The symptoms of diabetes in dogs are varied. They range from severe thirst to poor wound healing. The disease is not always easy to recognize.
– increased thirst – increased hunger – increased urination – dull coat – weight loss – debilitation – worsened wound healing
If the first signs of diabetes are not recognized and the disease is left untreated, the blood sugar level will continue to rise. The possible consequences are also far-reaching, from a short sugar shock to a coma.
– sugar shock – vomiting – dehydration – unconsciousness – coma
Undetected and untreated diabetes is life threatening for the dog. It is therefore important to consult the veterinarian even if the symptoms are mild. Especially if you notice irregularities or changed behavior in your dog. Even if several of the above symptoms apply, the visit to the vet is advised.
For each symptom mentioned, there are certainly countless other explanations that could serve as causative factors. For example, if the dog has eaten (unnoticed) something salty? A strong thirst and subsequently increased urge to urinate are the logical consequence of this. Other diseases or causes are also possible for weight loss. However, if you have even the slightest suspicion that your dog may have diabetes or any other disease, please contact your veterinarian's office. It is better to visit the vet once too often than once too little.
Determination of diabetes in the dog by the veterinarian
The diagnosis of diabetes is made by examining the urine and blood of the dog. This is usually also possible during the vet's normal consultation hours.
The urine test
The sugar content in the urine is determined by means of test strips. At the same time the urine is examined for ketone bodies. These are signs of massive metabolic problems. The weight of the urine is also checked. If diabetes is present, the urine is heavier due to the contained glucose.
Since some kidney diseases can also lead to sugar in the urine, a further urine test is also carried out in some cases. This is used to determine the ratio of urine, protein and creatinine.
An examination at the vet is inevitable / © Syda_Productions – depositphotos.com
The blood test
Here, the fasting glucose value in the blood is determined. This means that the dog must be sober when the blood sample is taken. So he must not have eaten yet. In addition to the fasting glucose value, the fructosamine value, the long-term glucose value, is also measured. This is necessary because the excitement at the vet can temporarily increase the sugar level.
The long-term glucose value is measured by the OGT, the oral glucose tolerance test. In this case, the dog is first given a sugar solution. After a certain period of time the blood glucose values are determined again. If there is no diabetes, the value will have normalized after about 2 hours.
The veterinarian also examines the dog's blood for other risk factors that could be associated with diabetes. These include enzymes from pancreas. Liver as well as the cholesterol level.
Is insulin therapy absolutely necessary?
Unfortunately, a therapy of the diabetes by tablets is not possible with dogs. Treatment with insulin injections is usually required. In addition to this, a diet, specifically aimed at diabetes, is required. But there are good special foods for this.
It is not uncommon for the veterinarian to already have the right special food on hand or to be able to recommend one to you. Please pay attention to a healthy list of ingredients. Many veterinary practices cooperate with certain manufacturers. Distribute therefore only some brands.
In very mild cases of diabetes, a strict diet with special diabetic food may be sufficient therapy. However, monitoring by the veterinarian is recommended in this case. Many dogs do not lose much quality of life anyway when suffering from the disease. It is only necessary to recognize these early and to take steps in time.
Pure joy of life is also possible with a diabetes disease / Photo: Ksuksann – depositphotos.com
People suffering from diabetes must pay attention to the so-called bread units as part of their diet. In dogs, this is not necessary, provided that the dog receives high-quality diet food.
The adjustment of the blood sugar level
In order to be able to treat the dog suffering from diabetes properly, it is important to adjust the animal's blood sugar level correctly. In some cases, an inpatient stay at the veterinarian or animal hospital may be necessary. The diabetes diet will be started, monitored and the amount of insulin needed for the dog will be determined.
After the end of the inpatient stay, the dog owner must continue insulin administration at home. This includes regular blood glucose monitoring as well as daily insulin administration. The important thing here is strict adherence to the treatment plan.
If the dog's blood sugar level is well adjusted, not only the values will improve. Also the typical diabetes symptoms disappear.
Inject insulin, but when?
The treatment plan prepared by the veterinarian contains the amount as well as the frequency of insulin administration. It is often recommended to administer the insulin before the meal. But this can lead to hypoglycemia. And this can endanger the life of the beloved quadruped.
It is better to give the insulin after feeding the dog. This is how hypoglycemia can be avoided. It is important to answer the following points.
– If the dog has eaten? – Has the entire portion been eaten?
Only if the answers to both questions are yes, the amount of insulin given in the treatment plan is correct. If only one of the two answers is no, the amount of insulin to be administered changes.
If there is any uncertainty about the correct insulin dose, the veterinarian should be consulted. Here applies: rather too often the veterinary surgeon asked, than too rarely.
Beware of hypoglycemia
There are several causes for hypoglycemia, just as for other diseases. For example:
– Insulin overdose – insulin administration before feeding followed by too little food intake – increased exertion
– very quiet behavior – unsteady, unsteady gait – unconsciousness
First aid for hypoglycemia
Without treatment of diabetes, the dog may die from the consequences. So it is all the more important to provide first aid. This is done by feeding through sugar. Suitable for it:
After the first aid measure the dog must immediately to the veterinary surgeon! This will take further steps. Provide you with a treatment plan.
Is diabetes in dogs curable?
Whether the sugar disease is curable depends on the cause of the disease. If the diabetes is influenced by sex hormones, the dog may be cured by castration. The same applies to other hormonal causes. If these are treated, diabetes can also disappear.
Diabetes in dogs is positively influenced by exercise, a healthy diet and, as a result, a normal weight. As a healthy diet we recommend to find a high quality wet food – without additives.
Especially in the case of illness of importance: a healthy dog food / Photo: Chalabala – depositphotos.com
Feeding guide for a healthy diet
We have been advocating healthy dog nutrition for several years now. So it was only a matter of time before we had to write down all our knowledge. A few months later, our book Das 1×1 der artgerechten Hundeernahrung (The 1×1 of species-appropriate dog nutrition) was published. Here on 1a-dog food.de you can order our nourishing councellor as printed book, eBook and audio book.
The book is generally about a healthy dog nutrition. Different topics are treated. Among other things, a chapter on feeding-related diseases has been created, in which we also discuss obesity and diabetes.
Conclusion to diabetes with dogs
Diabetes is especially a common disease in dogs at an older age. Bitches are affected more often than males. A cure for diabetes is only possible in the rarest of cases. Nevertheless, the dog can usually live well with diabetes. Regular insulin administration and adherence to a special diet are important for this.
Owners of a dog with diabetes should always carry something sweet with them so that they can provide immediate first aid in the event that the dog suffers from hypoglycemia. In this case, a piece of glucose, a small portion of honey or some sugar water is recommended.
As a certified nutritionist for dogs, the species-appropriate nutrition of our four-legged friends is particularly close to my heart. Together with my four-legged testing staff I will also help you to find the right dog food for your four-legged friend. Learn more about us.