Care & Wellness
Diabetes in Pets (Good News/Bad News):
The bad news first… the number of dogs and cats diagnosed with diabetes has increased three-fold in the past thirty years.
But the good news is… diabetic dogs and cats, with proper glucose monitoring and treatment have the same expected lifespan as non-diabetic dogs of the same age and gender.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes Mellitus (the most common feline/canine Diabetes) is a disease in which the beta cells of the endocrine pancreas either stop producing insulin or can no longer produce it in enough quantity for the body’s needs. The condition is treatable and need not shorten the animal’s life span or interfere with quality of life but, if left untreated, the condition can lead to cataracts, increasing weakness in the legs (neuropathy), malnutrition, ketoacidosis, dehydration, and even death. Diabetes mainly affects middle-age and older cats and dogs, but there are juvenile cases. The typical canine/feline diabetes patient is middle-age, female, and overweight at diagnosis.
Symptoms of Diabetes in Dogs & Cats:
• excessive water consumption: Polydipsia
• frequent and/or excessive urination: Polyuria
• greater than average appetite: Polyphagia (with weight loss or maintained weight)
• decreased activity, weakness, depression
• change in gait: (walking)
• cloudy eyes: Cataracts (dogs only)
Unfortunately, many of the above-listed symptoms of Diabetes also occur in other diseases and conditions. Because of this, laboratory tests from your veterinarian are necessary to diagnose Diabetes in cats or dogs.
Treating Diabetes in Dogs & Cats:
Treating Diabetes in dogs and cats is basically the same as it is for treating diabetic humans. The goal is to regulate the pet’s blood glucose using insulin and some diet and daily routine changes. The process may take a few weeks or many months to correct. The aim is to keep the blood glucose values within an acceptable range.
Blood glucose testing at home with the Petlet Meter can provide a better picture of how well glucose levels are being managed and help avoid dangerous insulin overdoses. Always consult your veterinarian for their recommendations regarding the frequency of testing for your particular pet but in general, a diabetic pet needs to be checked at least twice a day.