Knowledge A – Z
Diabetes mellitus – "sugar disease"
What is diabetes mellitus?
Diabetes mellitus is a disease in which there is a chronic excess of sugar in the blood, hyperglycemia. At the same time, there is a poorer utilization of the sugar (glucose) by the cells. Glucose levels in the blood are controlled by the hormone insulin, which is produced in the pancreas.
How to recognize diabetes?
There are different forms, therefore the symptoms can be different. Frequently:
– Increased thirst and greater urine output – Frequent greater hunger, but in severe cases completely absent! – Emaciation, but also obesity ("obesity")
If the glucose level is very high, a life-threatening crisis can occur, which can only be averted by very intensive treatment.
Signs of this crisis (diabetic ketoacidosis):
– Lack of water and food intake, dehydration – Depression, coma – Slowed breathing – Vomiting
– Lens opacity, cataract, blindness – Bacterial infections, cystitis – Liver enlargement, liver failure – Increased blood lipids – Limb patency, plantigrady – Chronic kidney failure
What are the causes? What favors the development?
Depending on the type of diabetes, there are different causes. The following list will give you an orientation:
How is the treatment carried out?
Various measures must be taken in this case:
Feeding adaptation: a special diet helps to reduce the fluctuations in blood sugar after feeding. In overweight animals slow weight reduction. Special food, which is developed on the respective diabetes form, is available for it.
Blood glucose-lowering medication in tablet form: This treatment plays only a minor role
Insulin therapy: This form is practically the only effective therapy
What is the veterinary monitoring?
– Fructosamine level: The fructosamine level in the blood gives information about the fluctuations of the blood sugar during the last 10-14 days. In our clinic, this value can be measured within 15 minutes. – Blood gases, blood pH: required in shock. We can perform this analysis within a few minutes. – Records: Appetite, amount of insulin, feeding times, water consumption, weight – Blood glucose curve: checking blood glucose, especially in dogs, can often be done by the pet owner using modern equipment. – Blood control of other organs, e.g. Kidney
What complications can occur with insulin therapy?
If the insulin dose is too high or if there is no food intake, a life-threatening hypoglycemia can occur. Signs include cramps, fatigue, coma, paralysis, weakness.
As an emergency measure, immediately instill glucose (dextrose, alternatively maple syrup). If your animal does not recover within a few minutes, further treatment must take place in the veterinary clinic.