Cases of diabetes in dogs are on the rise. Today our vets share some of the most common signs of this disease in dogs, and what you should do if your dog is displaying symptoms of diabetes.
What is diabetes in dogs?
There are two main types of diabetes in dogs, neither can be cured however both forms of this chronic illness can be managed effectively.
'Sugar diabetes' or diabetes mellitus is an 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-resistance diabetes which results from the the dog's pancreas producing some insulin, but not utilizing the insulin as it should. This type of diabetes is common in older dogs, obese dogs.
Why has my dog developed diabetes?
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 Cushings disease or autoimmune disorders.
What are the symptoms of diabetes in dogs?
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 is diabetes in dogs treated?
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 the diabetes.