Diabetes is a major epidemic in humans, but it also affects our pets. Usually, cats or dogs that are older or overweight need to be assessed for diabetes, because it can cause the same health issues in animals than it does in people. These include reduced quality of life, stroke, heart failure, and death if left untreated. Many pets that are overweight, on corticosteroids, have other conditions like kidney disease, pancreatitis, or UTI’s are at high risk of having diabetes as a comorbidity.
Insulin resistance is the fundamental issue with diabetes. Insulin is a hormone that helps move sugar into the blood for energy. When a pet has insulin resistance, they have too much sugar in their bloodstream, and their system cannot adequately utilize insulin. For your pet, this leads to weight gain, obesity, and a more sedentary lifestyle. Hormonal imbalance takes place with diabetes and can cause extreme hunger and thirst.
Symptoms of Diabetes in Pets
• Excessive water drinking
• Increased urination
• Weight loss, even though there may be an increased appetite
• Decreased appetite (in some cases)
• Cloudy eyes (especially in dogs)
• Tired/Loss of interest
• Tremors or seizures
• Stiffness or weakness
• Dull looking fur
• Chronic or recurring infections (including skin infections and urinary infections)
How is Diabetes Treated?
Once the diagnosis is confirmed, your veterinarian will prescribe an initial dose and type of insulin for your pet. Insulin cannot be given orally – it must be given by injection under the skin. Your veterinarian or veterinary technician will teach you how to give the insulin injections, which involve a very small needle and are generally very well tolerated by the pet. It is not a one-size-fits-all treatment, your veterinarian may periodically need to adjust your pet’s treatment regimen based on the results of monitoring. Dietary recommendations are an important part of treatment. Successful treatment of diabetes requires regular examinations, blood and urine tests, and monitoring your pet’s weight, appetite, drinking and urination.1
Caring for Diabetic Pets
Dogs and cats with diabetes usually require lifelong treatment with special diets, a good fitness regimen and, particularly in dogs, daily insulin injections. The key to managing diabetic pets is to keep your pet’s blood sugar near normal levels and avoid too-high or too-low levels that can be life-threatening. A treatment that works for one pet might not work as well for another pet. Patience is important as you and your pet adjust to the new diet and medications. Diabetic dogs and cats can live long and healthy lives with proper management and veterinary care. If you notice any changes in your pet’s behavior or weight, consult your veterinarian.1
The Best Friends Animal Hospital Difference
Best Friends Animal Hospital believes in providing quality health care for your pet in a warm and welcoming environment. Their doctors routinely attend educational seminars to stay abreast of the latest medical treatments and technologies. Their hospital also prides itself on having state-of-the-art equipment including a digital dental X-ray machine. The dental digital X-ray machine allows them to take high-quality dental radiographs in seconds. These images are vital in the completion of the comprehensive oral exam preformed on each patient while they are under anesthesia for their dental cleaning procedure. The veterinarians use the x-rays to check for any disease or abnormalities that could be hidden below the gum line.
Best Friends Animal Hospital offers free 24-hour access to your pet’s medical record through a pet portal, as well as home delivery of your pet’s prescriptions through an online store. Their online Pharmacy carries prescription medications, heartworm, flea and tick preventative, pet food, treats, and toys.
The doctors and staff are devoted to helping your pets’ live longer, healthier, and happier lives because they understand that your pet is a valuable member of your family. Their knowledgeable staff is available to answer any questions you may have, and they look forward to seeing you and your pet(s) soon. Please visit their website to find out more, or call them to book your appointment.
Best Friends Animal Hospital
12220 Towne Lake Dr., Suite 50
Fort Myers, FL 33913
Reference: 1. AVMA American Veterinary Medical Association, Diabetes in pets, 2019, Schaumburg, IL