Diabetes is becoming more common not only in humans, but our animal companions are also getting sick with diabetes more and more often. Read below to learn what canine diabetes is and how to recognize the signs and symptoms of diabetes in dogs so you can quickly seek help and advice from your veterinarian.
What is diabetes in dogs?
Diabetes in dogs is an incurable disease that occurs when a dog's pancreas decreases or stops producing insulin. Canine diabetes is one of the most common hormonal (endocrine) disorders in dogs. Diabetes can occur in young dogs as young as 18 months, but most dogs are between seven and ten years old when diagnosed. About 70 percent of dogs with diabetes mellitus are female. Canine diabetes affects all breeds of dogs, but is most commonly diagnosed in poodles, dachshunds, springer spaniels, miniature schnauzers and cairn terriers.
Background on canine diabetes
A healthy dog's pancreas produces insulin, which the body uses to keep glucose (sugar) levels in the blood from getting too high. Insulin is what makes the cells in the body absorb sugar to provide them with the energy they need. Without the ability to control blood sugar levels, diabetic dogs suffer from hyperglycemia (high blood sugar), which can cause increased thirst (polydipsia), increased hunger (polyphagia) and frequent urination (polyuria).
Signs and symptoms of diabetes in dogs
– Increased thirst – Increased urination – Increased hunger – Weight loss
If left untreated, diabetes mellitus can cause a number of health problems in dogs. Similar to humans, dogs with diabetes are susceptible to other diseases such as cataracts and urinary tract infections. Canine diabetes is a common and usually easily treatable condition – many dogs with the condition lead active, happy lives.
Monitor diabetes in dogs
A dog with diabetes can produce little to no insulin, making it dependent on insulin treatments for life. As with humans with type 1 diabetes, this means daily injections. Although the thought of giving the dog an injection worries many owners, there's no need to worry – your vet will show you how best to do it. A dog with diabetes mellitus needs regular checkups with a veterinarian to monitor its health status. In addition, you should always notify your veterinarian immediately if you notice any changes in your dog's appetite or thirst, or if he seems dizzy or weak.
"A dog with diabetes mellitus needs regular checkups with a veterinarian to monitor its health status."
Can a healthy diet help my dog with diabetes?
Proper nutrition can greatly improve the stability of your dog's sugar levels. There are special gentle diets, your veterinarian will advise you on what food and how much of it to give your dog and will determine the best time of day for meals and injections.
Since diabetes can be very serious, it should be diagnosed and treated as early as possible. Therefore, always contact your veterinarian if you notice any of the signs and symptoms listed above.
Need advice on diabetes in dogs?
For more detailed advice on diabetes in dogs, please contact your local veterinarian. To find the nearest recommended veterinary practice or veterinary clinic, simply enter your zip code in the box at the top right.