There has been an uptick in the number of cases of diabetes in pets. In today's post, the veterinarians here at Simi Valley discuss some of the most typical indications that a pet may be suffering from this condition, as well as the steps that you should take if you notice that your animal friend is showing signs of diabetes.
What is diabetes in pets?
There are two primary types of diabetes in pets, neither of which can be cured; however, effective management of both of these forms of this chronic illness is possible.
"Sugar diabetes," also known as diabetes mellitus, is a form of insulin-deficiency diabetes that develops in your pet when its body is unable to produce sufficient amounts of the hormone insulin. This type of diabetes affects pets more frequently than any other.
Diabetes mellitus due to insulin resistance is characterized by the pancreas of the animal being able to produce some insulin, but the insulin is not being utilized as effectively as it should be. This form of diabetes is typical in older pets as well as overweight or obese pets.
Why has my pet developed diabetes?
It is not known what causes diabetes in animals; however, there are certain types of pets that are more likely to develop the condition than others. These include female pets that have not been spayed, animals that are overweight, animals that are being treated for other conditions with steroid medications, and animals that have been diagnosed with Cushing's disease or autoimmune disorders.
What are the symptoms of diabetes in pets?
If any of the following symptoms are present in your pet, it is imperative that you schedule an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as humanly possible. Diagnosis at an early stage is essential to the successful management of diabetes in pets.
The following are some of the early warning signs of diabetes in pets:
- Frequent urination (polyuria)
- Drinking more water than usual
- Excessive appetite (polyphagia)
- Unexplained weight loss
Once the disease has progressed to a more advanced stage, certain symptoms may become more severe and include the following:
- Visual impairment/blindness
- Lack of energy
- Joint stiffness/weakness
- Dull coat
How is diabetes in pets treated?
In the event that your pet is found to have diabetes after undergoing extensive testing and examination, your veterinarian will write you a prescription for medications and ongoing treatments that will enable you to manage your pet's condition.
The following are the typical components of ongoing treatment for diabetes in pets:
- 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 pet for changes in symptoms and overall health
- Regular veterinary examinations
If the diabetes in your pet is not treated, it can lead to serious complications that could even be fatal, including blindness, an enlarged liver, urinary tract infections, seizures, ketoacidosis, and kidney failure.
Regular checkups at the animal hospital with your veterinarian are among the most effective methods for keeping an eye on your pet's state of health. If you take your pet to the veterinarian at least once or twice a year, the veterinarian will be able to better monitor your pet's overall health and detect any early signs of diabetes. Sometimes, a vet will recommend that you visit an internal medicine specialist.