Diabetes in dogsIn humans, diabetes has long been considered a widespread disease. But about one percent of all dogs are also affected by the chronic metabolic disease. The diagnosis usually allows a dog to continue to live well for many years – however, sick animals need the intensive support of their master or mistress. On causes, symptoms and forms of treatment.
Diabetes mellitus in dogs is usually the type 1 variant of the disease. This means that the production of insulin in the animal's body is disturbed. Causes can be, for example, genetic predispositions, disorders of the immune system and hormonal disorders, but also overweight or other nutritional deficiencies. Diabetes mellitus can also occur secondarily, for example as a consequence of other diseases.
Insulin normally causes the body to absorb sugar (glucose or. glucose), which is obtained from food, is absorbed into the cells. Energy can be gained from it, which the body uses for activities. If the insulin is missing due to the disease, the sugar cannot be absorbed into the cells – it remains in the blood. Above a certain concentration it is excreted in the urine.Due to the lack of energy caused in this way, the body tries to gain energy through other mechanisms. The metabolism threatens to derail. If left untreated, this condition quickly becomes life-threatening.
In most cases, the owners of affected dogs first notice that their animal drinks large quantities and urinates conspicuously much. Also regular ravenous hunger is noticeable.It often seems particularly strange that the animals lose weight despite a good food intake and sometimes make a downright weak impression or become tired quickly.By the way, dogs between the ages of seven and nine are particularly often affected. Bitches get diabetes more often than males.Diagnostics
If the veterinarian is presented with symptoms that raise a suspicion of diabetes, the animal's urine and blood are usually examined. Good indications of the disease can already be found here. Since the symptoms could also be caused by other diseases and because the animals are often already somewhat older, further examinations can be useful to clarify additional medical problems. Type 1 diabetes is generally not considered to be causally curable. Can be treated at present only by means of the regular injection of insulin under the skin. It is not possible to administer insulin via the food, as it would be digested and could not develop its effect in the body. Medication in tablet form works through other mechanisms that are only effective in type 2 diabetes, which is caused by other factors.The good news: insulin syringes are very small and fine and are well tolerated by the animals, so that most owners can supply their animals very quickly without problems. Insulin usually has to be administered twice a day, usually directly after meals, which are also given twice.
First of all, a good attitude of the affected animal is important. The insulin dosage must be found out individually for each animal and accompanied by the veterinary surgeon.Blood glucose measurements are carried out at regular intervals and corresponding daily profiles are created. The dosage of insulin is adjusted to the course of the blood glucose curves. This can take several weeks, during which time the dog has to visit the vet again and again.Over time, the important blood glucose measurements can also be performed at home, independently by the owner. These measurements are often more accurate, as the animals are not stressed by transport to the vet. Stress often causes a change in blood glucose levels – making it all the more difficult to adjust the correct insulin dose.
The diabetic disease of a dog initially means a relatively large care effort. This quickly becomes part of the daily routine. In return, the owners have the certainty that they can give their animal a few more fun-loving years in this way.But there are also complications that cannot be prevented. Unfortunately, many dogs lose their eyesight despite successful insulin control due to sugar-induced clouding of the crystalline lens.
There is no hundred percent prevention against diabetes, because the factors that can lead to diabetes are very diverse. Possibly have but overweight. Lack of exercise an influence on the probability of the disease. In this respect, as for many other areas, if you feed your dog well and keep him generally fit, you are already doing him some good. The administration of medication. Feeding to a diabetic dog must be done very regularly. An adapted feeding with a special diet food is often useful. Which food with which characteristics should be given, the veterinarian recommends in dependence on the condition of the animal. First and foremost, it is important that the dog actually eats the food. Under no circumstances should the administration of insulin lead to periods of hunger.Unhealthy treats between meals should be a thing of the past. They quickly upset the sensitive balance in the organism achieved by the therapy. When planning the activity level, it must be taken into account that the dosage of insulin must be different on a very active day than on a very "lazy" day Day. Therefore, the activity level of the animals should ideally be kept the same.Veterinarians also recommend a daily blood glucose profile once a month as treatment progresses. This means that every two hours during the course of the day, the values are measured, checked, written down and, if necessary, submitted to the veterinarian. Well-adjusted dogs should visit the veterinarian for follow-up examinations about every three months.
With the kind support of veterinarian Dr. Regine Rottmayer.