We humans are constantly being reminded about our health and all the things that threaten it, as well as what we can do to protect ourselves and how to treat illness and injury if they occur. But we often forget that our pets are at risk from many of the same diseases that we are, including diabetes.
Although it’s already fairly common in dogs and cats, recent studies have indicated that pet diabetes is on the rise in the U.S. It’s important that you know the basic facts about this potentially debilitating and deadly disease and how to spot the symptoms of it in your pet. Pet diabetes can be effectively managed, but early diagnosis and treatment are essential.
What Is Pet Diabetes?
Diabetes occurs in humans, dogs, and cats when an organ called the pancreas doesn’t produce enough of a substance called insulin. Insulin is used by the body to efficiently process sugars, fats, and proteins from food and turn them into energy. Low insulin levels cause sugar to accumulate in the blood and fat to build up in the liver, leading to serious side effects including increased infections of the skin and internal organs, cataracts, nutritional disorders, muscle dysfunction, and more. Pet diabetes usually develops in older animals but can sometimes occur in younger cats and dogs. Although there are no specific known causes of diabetes, it has been shown that obesity is a major factor, as well as pancreatic disorders and genetic predisposition. Diabetes in dogs is rarely curable, but cats can sometimes regain the ability to produce insulin after long-term treatment.
Symptoms Of Pet Diabetes
Although some of the symptoms of diabetes are animal-specific, the most common signs are shared by both dogs and cats. These symptoms include:
- Excessive thirst and urination
- Sudden changes in appetite (increase or decrease)
- Sudden weight loss
- Loss of energy and increased tiredness
- Cloudy eyes (especially in dogs)
- Urinary tract infections
If you notice these symptoms in your pet, it’s important to take them to your vet for pet diabetes screening as soon as possible. Save our handy infographic below to help remember the signs of diabetes in pets!
Treatment Of Pet Diabetes
Diabetes can be effectively managed in pets with a regimen of daily home insulin injections, a special diabetic diet, and regular exercise. Your pet should also be evaluated by your vet every 2 to 4 months to ensure blood sugar levels are stable.
If you suspect your dog or cat might have pet diabetes or any other illness, schedule a screening with us right away!