Diabetes in Pets

The body uses a hormone called insulin, created in the pancreas, in order to turn the molecule glucose into usable energy.

But sometimes, insulin production drops too low, or the body grows resistant to it. In these cases, the glucose cannot be processed, and it begins to build up in the bloodstream. This condition is known as diabetes.

Diabetes is an extremely common disease that affects not only humans, but our furry friends as well. The good news is that treatments are available. Your pet can live a long and healthy life even with a diabetes diagnosis.

Causes of Diabetes in Pets

One of the most common causes of diabetes in pets is obesity. Poor diet and lack of exercise can cause a whole range of health issues for cats and dogs. 

Note that cats who eat only dry food are at a higher risk for obesity and diabetes compared to cats who eat only wet food.

Another risk factor is genetic disposition. Certain dog breeds are more at risk than others, including Miniature Poodles, Miniature Pinschers, Dachshunds, Schnauzers, Fox Terriers, Cairn Terriers, Beagles, Keeshonds, Australian Terriers, and Siberian Huskies. 

Female dogs are also more likely to develop diabetes than their male counterparts. In cats, the opposite is true, and the disease is more prevalent in males.

Finally, diabetes can be caused by old age. Over time, all bodies become less efficient at producing hormones. Medications can help balance this deficiency. 

Symptoms of Diabetes in Pets

Unfortunately, pets cannot simply tell us when they are not feeling well. That’s why it’s so important to know the warning signs to look out for.

Common symptoms of diabetes in pets includes:

  • Excessive drinking
  • Excessive urinating
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss
  • Lethargy and depression
  • Cloudy eyes

Symptoms can also be more severe. If you notice your pet experiencing any of the following symptoms, bring them to an emergency center immediately:

  • Complete lack of appetite
  • Recurrent infections
  • Collapse or seizure

Type 1 Diabetes Vs Type 2 Diabetes

A vet can diagnose your pet with diabetes by measuring the amount of glucose in blood and urine samples. From there, they will determine if it is Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes.

In Type 1 diabetes, the body fails to produce insulin properly. There is no known cure, but it can be treated with insulin shots prescribed by your vet. Note that Type 1 diabetes is more common in dogs than Type 2.

On the other hand, in Type 2 diabetes, there is plenty of insulin being produced. But the body has become resistant to it, most likely due to a high intake of sugars and carbohydrates. Because this type is most often caused by obesity, a change in lifestyle can potentially cure it. 

If the diagnosis is confirmed, other tests will likely be done to determine if the pet has any infections or internal organ damage caused by diabetes.

Learn more about diabetes in pets on our blog.

Animal Hospital in Frederick, MD

If you suspect your pet has diabetes or some other health issue, bring him down to Old Farm Veterinary Hospital. We offer trusted diagnostic testing and affordable treatments, all backed by our friendly and compassionate service. 

When he’s with us, you’ll know your pet is in good hands. Schedule your first appointment today!