Diabetes in Dogs... Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Roberto Manzotti

If you believe that dogs cannot get the same sicknesses and infections as humans, then you are wrong because your dog can get any disease that you can. One such illness is diabetes; this sickness in dogs is not different from that in humans because your pooch can still suffer. Diabetes can be a fatal disease in dogs, and if you don’t battle the symptoms immediately, your dog may be at risk. The frightening part of it is that according to statistics, one out of every five hundred dogs is diabetic.

Diabetes in dogs is not a life-threatening disease if detected early and treated accordingly. Otherwise, it can lead to kidney and liver complications that can cause your dog death. Diabetes is characterized by a lack of insulin production, which leads to a raise in blood glucose levels. Insulin should be given to diabetic dogs to help reduce high glucose levels. For dogs, insulin specifically made for them can help your dog live a happy and normal life.

There are two types of diabetes: diabetes insipidus, a deficiency of anti-diuretic hormone known as vasopressin. This controls how your dog kidneys absorb water. And second is diabetes Mellitus, this is insulin deficiency, the most dangerous and the most common with dogs. It consists of two types: Type I – this diabetes depends on insulin. The dog pancreas does not produce insulin at all. This happens mainly in young dogs. And type 2 – is non-insulin-dependent diabetes. The dog pancreas is producing insulin but the body resists it. This type mostly happens in adult dogs. Larger dogs have a higher risk of diabetes than small dogs. And this is also an autoimmune illness that dogs can get from their parents.

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Causes of Diabetes in dogs

As in humans, it is not certain why some dogs develop diabetes. Some pooches may be naturally prone to develop this disease more than others. However, it is known that weight gain can increase the risk of diabetes in your dog. This is because obesity makes their cells more resistant to insulin. If your Retriever has diabetes, it is likely to happen when he reaches his older years. Female dogs and neutered dogs may be at higher risk. Other causes of diabetes in dogs may include:

  • Genetics - congenital factors / breed
  • Pancreatic infections i.e. pancreatitis
  • Tumors
  • Trauma
  • Medications
  • Age
  • Estrogen interference

diabetes in dogs

Symptoms of Diabetes in Dogs

Dog diabetes is also known as diabetes mellitus is a disorder where the pancreas produces a small amount of insulin or produces no insulin at all. Without insulin, the dog's body will not be able to utilize the carbohydrates it gets from food because its body cannot convert these carbohydrates into energy. As a result, the sugar remains in the blood, makes the blood sugar level exceed what is considered as a normal level.

Almost all dog breeds are prone to diabetes, including the Golden Retriever. If you think that your dog's bloodline is related to diabetes, it is most likely that your dog will also develop diabetes years to come. However, not all dogs will get diabetes, especially if their diet is well managed by their owners. The usual clinical signs that you will see in a diabetic dog are:

  • Excessive thirst and hunger - High sugar levels lead to extreme thirst and lack of good digestion leads to excessive hunger.
     
  • Constant urination - excess sugar increases the amount and rate of urination.
     
  • Dull coat
     
  • Vomiting
     
  • Lethargy
     
  • Seizures

 

Diabetes Diagnosis

Once you see your dog showing signs of diabetes, you should take him to a vet immediately. Your veterinarian will perform a blood test to determine your dog's blood sugar level. If it is higher than normal, your veterinarian may need another blood sugar test for three consecutive days before finally confirm diabetes.

How to prevent your dog from developing diabetes

It is difficult to prevent your dog from developing diabetes. Though, making sure your dog has a healthy lifestyle can reduce the risk. Healthy lifestyle tips include the following:

  • Give them a complete and balanced diet
     
  •  Help them maintain a perfect body condition that is, not gaining excess weight
     
  • Giving them enough exercise according to their age and food intake

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Treatment of diabetes in dogs

Unfortunately, diabetes in dogs has no cure. However, it is a disease that can usually be managed by the owner. With good management, your furry pal can always enjoy a happy life. To manage diabetes in your dog, you must aim to keep his blood sugar level normal. Your veterinarian can help you do this and will prescribe a treatment plan for your dog. Usually, the treatment plan will involve the following.

  • Diet: Your vet will recommend the best kind of diet for your dog. This usually includes high-quality protein, as well as complex carbohydrates and fiber that will help slow the absorption of glucose. Your veterinarian may also recommend a diet with relatively low-fat content.
     
  • Exercise: To help prevent sudden spikes or a decrease in glucose levels, it is very important that diabetic pooches maintain a moderate but steady exercise routine.
     
  • Injection: Most diabetic dogs will need daily injections of insulin, which the owner will have to learn to do. While it's understandable to be concerned about doing this, it's not as difficult as it sounds. This can become a quick and easy daily routine that does not cause any trauma for the dog or its owner.
     
  • Sterilizing your dog: If it is a female dog, your vet may recommend that you have your dog spayed as part of the treatment. This is due to female sex hormones, progesterone, which can interfere with the normal activity of insulin. In order to eliminate the source of progesterone, sterilization of your female diabetic dog is important.
     
  • Your vet will work with you to decide on the best management plan for your dog. At the beginning of treatment, this may include frequent visits to the clinic for tests and medication adjustments, but we hope that the right combination of medications, diet, dosage, and home monitoring will be achieved, which will allow you keep your dog blood sugar levels constantly regulated and help your furry pal live a happy life.

In conclusion, remember dog diabetes should not be a death keels to your dog. When recognized in time, diagnosed and treated, the quality of your dog life should not change dramatically. It may mean more commitment for you, but a look on your furry companion eyes will make it well worthwhile.

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