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Vet Sarah explains pet diabetes.
November 21, 2023
To help raise awareness of diabetes in dogs and cats, our Veterinary Surgeon Sarah Aldridge wants to educate pet owners on the condition. In the paragraphs below, Vet Sarah will cover: the condition itself, how Daventry Vets will diagnose and treat the condition and how your pet’s care would need to be altered if they receive a diabetes diagnosis.
If you are concerned your own pet may have some symptoms of diabetes, then do not hesitate to contact Daventry Vets’ reception team on 01327 877767 or you can book online.
Like humans cats and dogs can become diabetic. This happens when they produce little or no insulin. Insulin is made in an organ called the pancreas. It allows the body’s cells to uptake sugar from the blood to use as fuel.
Diabetes in dogs is like Type 1 diabetes in humans. Some of the breeds most commonly affected are West Highland White Terriers, Beagles, Bichon Frise, Labradors, Dachshund, Samoyed and crossbreeds. The age of onset is usually middle age. Intact female dogs are twice as likely to get diabetes as spayed ones and often develop it around a season.
Diabetes in cats is more like type 2 diabetes and overweight cats are certainly more at risk. It generally occurs later in life but sometimes occurs in younger cats.
Symptoms of diabetes in your pet
Sarah wants owners to be aware that early detection of diabetes is key in providing your pet with the medical treatment they need to manage the condition. The following symptoms are all indicators that your pet may be suffering from diabetes:
- Increased thirst.
- Increased urination:
- Weight loss despite a good appetite
- Deteriorating body condition
- Altered appetite. This can be increased during the earlier stages as glucose ( blood sugar) cannot be used by the body’s cells for fuel. If left untreated then appetite can be decreased as using fat and protein stores for energy can make your pet feel unwell.
- Reduced energy.
Diagnosis & treatments available for pet diabetes
The first step to diagnosing diabetes in your pet is test a urine sample. We can provide a suitable collection device and sample pot. If glucose is present in their urine blood tests will need to be taken to confirm the diagnosis.
Following the tests, your vet will then create a management plan, involving insulin injections to be given at home, controlled exercise, and a controlled feeding schedule. We recommend Intact female dogs are spayed otherwise hormonal changes can make treatment extremely difficult.
Help your pet live with diabetes
Diabetes is a lifelong condition in dogs. Cats can occasionally go into remission, but for most it is lifelong.
Your pet’s nutrition plays a big part in helping them to cope with diabetes. Our vets at Daventry Vets will always recommend a type and brand of food that will work best for your individual pet. However, if your pet is a fussy eater then make sure you chat to Sarah or any of our vets before moving them onto a different kind of food. Looking for foods that slowly release sugars and removing all treats from their diet will help to keep their blood-glucose levels consistent.
Regular exercise is essential when it comes to managing diabetic pets. It helps to prevent weight gain and also helps your pet’s glucose regulation. Our vets will recommend an exercise regime to follow daily to help keep them healthy.
Monitoring blood-glucose levels
Sarah explains that if your pet is diagnosed with diabetes, our vets will train you on how to monitor your pet’s blood-glucose levels at home. We ask you to do this periodically to monitor treatment. The vet can advise you if any dose changes are needed.
Routines are key!
Sarah wants owners to understand that if your dog receives a diabetic diagnosis, then routine is key to keeping them as healthy as possible. Your feeding and walking schedule will need to happen at certain times of the day, as well as monitoring them and insulin injections.
We hope our advice will help owners with undiagnosed diabetic pets to receive the diagnosis and treatment they need. Remember, early intervention is key in your pet living a happy and comfortable life. Contact us on 01327 877767 or use our online booking system to book a diabetes check for your pet at Daventry Vets.