Just like many other conditions, the number of dogs that are affected by diabetes is increasing. Today our Suffolk County vets discuss the causes of diabetes in dogs, what symptoms to watch for and what the recommendations for treatment are.
Diabetes in Dogs
When it comes to diabetes in dogs, there are two types that typically affect our canine companions. These two types of diabetes, unfortunately, cannot be cured, but they can however be managed.
Insulin-Deficient Diabetes in Dogs
'Sugar diabetes' or diabetes mellitus is insulin-deficiency diabetes which occurs when your dog's body isn’t producing enough insulin. This is the most common form of diabetes in dogs.
Insulin-Resistant Diabetes in Dogs
Insulin-resistance diabetes results from the dog's pancreas producing some insulin, but not utilizing the insulin as it should. This type of diabetes is common in older and obese dogs.
What are the causes of diabetes in dogs?
The causes of diabetes in dogs is uncertain however, the dogs most at risk of developing diabetes include unspayed females, overweight dogs, animals being treated for other conditions with steroid medications, and those diagnosed with Cushing's disease or autoimmune disorders.
What symptoms of diabetes in dogs are the most common?
If your dog is displaying any of the following symptoms, make an appointment to see your vet as soon as possible. Early diagnosis is the key to successfully managing diabetes in dogs.
The early signs of diabetes in dogs include:
- Frequent urination (polyuria)
- Drinking more water than usual
- Excessive appetite (polyphagia)
- Unexplained weight loss
Once the disease is more advanced symptoms may become more severe and include:
- Visual impairment/blindness
- Lack of energy
- Joint stiffness/weakness
- Dull coat
How can my dog be treated for diabetes?
Following a thorough examination and testing, if your dog is diagnosed with diabetes your vet will prescribe medications and ongoing treatments that will allow you to manage your dog's condition.
Ongoing treatment for diabetes in dogs typically involves:
- Daily insulin shots
- Regular daily exercise to help avoid spikes or sudden drops in glucose levels
- A special, vet-recommended diet
- Close monitoring of your dog for changes in symptoms and overall health
- Regular veterinary examinations
If your dog's diabetes is left untreated it can lead to serious and life-threatening side effects such as blindness, enlarged liver, urinary tract infections, seizures, ketoacidosis and kidney failure.
One of the best ways to monitor your dog's health is through regular wellness checks at your vet's office. Having your dog examined once or twice a year can help your vet to monitor your dog's overall health and spot the earliest signs of diabetes.