Diabetes in dogsIn dogs, diabetes is usually incurable, but can be treated well with insulin therapy and proper feeding.
Diabetes mellitus is one of the most common diseases in the world. It affects not only people but also animals. In dogs, diabetes is usually incurable, but can be treated well with insulin therapy and the right food.
What is Diabetes Mellitus?
Diabetes mellitus, or diabetes, is a chronic metabolic disease. It inhibits the production of the hormone insulin in the pancreas, which is responsible for transporting blood glucose into the cells. Insulin is either not produced at all or not produced sufficiently in diabetes. In addition, in some cases, the hormone that is still present in the dog's body is not properly utilized.
If the blood sugar no longer reaches the cells, it is elevated in the blood and organs. This leads to the typical symptoms of diabetes. On health problems. Especially in untreated diabetic dogs, the liver, eyes and immune system can be damaged.
Types of diabetes
Diabetes is divided into three types. Each of these is treatable, but your dog may not be cured completely.
– Type 1 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. As a result, the pancreas produces too little insulin or none at all. – Type 2 diabetes is a rather rare form of diabetes in dogs in which the body's cells do not recognize insulin. Type 2 is diagnosed as insulin resistance. – Type 3 diabetes includes underlying diseases that lead to secondary diabetes. This means that other types of diabetes develop because of the pre-existing condition. This includes diabetes in heat and pregnancy, but also Cushing's disease and hypothyroidism.
Why do dogs get diabetes?
Why dogs become diabetic is due to a number of reasons. The disease most often affects middle-aged and overweight dogs. Wrong food and little exercise in everyday life leads to diabetes. The disease can also be caused by an autoimmune or infectious disease. Some dogs have a genetic predisposition. Suffer from diabetes for this reason. These include: Beagle, Dachshund, Miniature Schnauzer, Miniature Pinscher, Golden Retriever and Labrador Retriever, and West Highland Terrier. But this does not mean that only these breeds are affected by the disease. With our hereditary disease gene test for dogs you can determine the risk of diabetes in your dog.
How to detect diabetes in dogs?
When a dog has diabetes, it will show different symptoms. Dogs drink and urinate unusually much when they are diabetic. In addition, ravenous appetite, dull coat and weight loss are among the signs. Dogs suffering from diabetes also suffer more often from bladder infections.
If the dog has been sick for a long time without you knowing it, it can lead to a diabetic emergency with loss of appetite and vomiting. Ketosis is a life-threatening secondary metabolic derailment caused by a constant lack of insulin. It should be classified as an emergency. The chance of recovery is about 50 percent.
Dogs suffering from diabetes can also develop cataracts, whether or not they are on insulin.
If you have noticed the above symptoms in your dog, you should consult your veterinarian as soon as possible (in case of loss of appetite and vomiting, you must act immediately).
Diagnosis: Your dog has diabetes
The vet will do a urine and blood test to check your dog's blood glucose levels and rule out any pre-existing conditions. If the values are very high, your dog will be examined further to determine the origin and type of diabetes.
Treating diabetes: Insulin and dietary changes
If your vet diagnoses diabetes, your dog will be put on a lifetime of treatment. This consists of insulin therapy. A change of food together.
The treatment aims to control the sharp fluctuations in blood sugar as well as avoid them as much as possible in the future. Therefore, in addition to insulin therapy, it is important that you adjust your dog's diet. If he is overweight, your veterinarian will advise you to go on a diet.
Just as with humans, your dog must be regularly injected with insulin under the skin. This therapy will be with him for the rest of his life, and he will have to be injected twice a day.
Diabetic bitches are additionally advised to be spayed, because during heat the fluctuating hormone balance can influence the insulin therapy. In order to determine the optimal dose, control examinations by the veterinarian are extremely important.
What food for diabetes?
Good food for diabetic dogs includes a high-quality protein source that is easy to digest and supports the liver. The dog food should contain only a small amount of easily digestible (complex) carbohydrates.
Complex carbohydrates are digested much slower than simple ones. Their crude fiber content affects digestion. The higher it is, the slower it is digested. This is why the sugar is released more slowly in the gastrointestinal tract. Thus, fluctuations in blood sugar levels are curbed.
Barley and sorghum, for example, are good sources of calories for your dog. Highly fatty dog foods (or treats) should definitely not be eaten by diabetic dogs. These place an additional burden on the liver.
If you are unsure about what to feed your dog, it is best to consult your veterinarian.
If you notice that your dog is very thirsty and urinates, he may have diabetes. But do not worry. If your dog has diabetes, there are effective treatment methods. As long as you pay attention to regular insulin administration and a healthy food intake (and follow all the guidelines of the veterinarian), your dog should be fine for a long time (even with a pinch of luck).