Did you know that your dog or cat can develop diabetes? November was Diabetes Awareness Month, and although it’s a little late we thought it fitting to post this blog after all the holiday feasting. We want to do our part to spread awareness about this serious, yet manageable, condition.
Types of Diabetes - Diabetes can be classified as either Type 1 (lack of insulin production) or Type II (impaired insulin production along with an inadequate response to the hormone.) The most common form in dogs is Type 1, insulin-dependent diabetes, which occurs when the pancreas is incapable of producing or secreting adequate levels of insulin. Dogs that have Type I require insulin injections to survive. Type II diabetes can occur in cats and is a lack of normal response to insulin. Sometimes in cats diet can correct Type II diabetes.
Symptoms and Diagnosis – Although only a veterinary professional can diagnose diabetes in your pet, there are some signs and symptoms you can watch for. Excessive thirst, weight loss, change in appetite, vomiting, lethargy, and increased urination can all be indicators. Any of these warrant an appointment with your vet will probably include a thorough examination, urinalysis and blood work
Treatment - Diabetes treatment can vary and will be customized to your pet. Treatment may include medication, diet changes, and insulin injections. In most cases insulin injections are required for life. Close monitoring of blood sugar by your veterinarian is important to maintain proper treatment. Diabetes treatment can be intense but with a regular routine can be done easily.
Prevention – As with most health conditions, proper diet and regular exercise can be effective in helping to prevent onset of diabetes in animals. Many cases of diabetes are a result of obesity. Maintaining appropriate weight can help prevent diabetes. Some pets are genetically prone to diabetes and weight control is very important in managing and preventing diabetes in those pets as well.
Don’t Wait – Diabetes is a serious and chronic condition that should not be left untreated as secondary health problems most likely will arise. If untreated a serious and life-threatening condition called Diabetic Ketoacidosis can occur. Signs of this are severe lethargy, dehydration, unwillingness to eat, and sometimes an odor can be detected on the breath.
Unfortunately, Although there is no cure for diabetes, there are many things that can be done to manage the disease in animals and help your pet lead an active and happy life.
The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA, considered the standard for veterinary excellence) offers these guidelines for Diabetes Management for Dogs and Cats.https://www.aaha.org/professional/resources/diabetes_management.aspx#gsc.tab=0
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