Does Your Dog Have Diabetes?
Like their human companions, dogs can develop Type I or II diabetes, a metabolic condition in which insulin is not available to remove glucose normally from the body. The damage caused by too much glucose can lead to many serious medical conditions, including cardiovascular problems, kidney impairment and problems with vision. Dogs with diabetes are also at higher risk for Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs).
Treatments are available to allow your dog to live a normal life even if he or she has this serious medical condition like diabetes. Cranimals also offers home test kits
so that you can screen your pet at home in under 2 minutes for dog diabetes.
Signs of Diabetes in Dogs
If you notice your dog exhibiting the following symptoms, you should make an appointment with your veterinarian to have testing done to determine if diabetes is the cause:
- Increased water consumption -- a noticeable increase in thirst and the amount of water needed.
- An increase in urination -- whether in the number of times the animal needs to go out or in having "accidents" in the house.
- Constant hunger -- if the animal seems hungry all the time and needs to eat frequently.
- Weight loss in spite of increased appetite -- diabetes can cause a change in metabolism that causes the animal to lose weight despite eating well.
- Weakness, fatigue -- the dog may sleep more, may seem lethargic or may be less active than normal.
- Thinning hair or dull coat -- diabetes can have this effect on the animal's coat, but it can also be caused by other illnesses.
- Cloudiness in the eyes, cataracts -- diabetes can cause changes in the eyes and in vision.
- Frequent vomiting -- advanced diabetes can lead to ketoacidosis as the liver begins to break down proteins and fats, which can cause vomiting.
- Depression -- depression can result from the metabolic changes of diabetes, leaving your dog listless and uninterested in normal activities.
How Diabetes in Dogs Is Diagnosed
Your veterinarian will diagnose diabetes based on reported behaviors, physical examination and lab tests. Diabetes is more common in older dogs (> 8 years age), in dogs that are obese and inactive, in female animals and in certain breeds, such as Australian terriers, Keeshond's, poodles, Samoyeds, schnauzers, pugs, fox terriers and a few others as well those that have previously had hyperadrenocorticism or suffer from Cushing's disease. The incidence of diabetes in dogs has been rising since 1970, with ~0.64% of dogs affected. Dogs at lower risk for diabetes appear to be golden retrievers, boxers, American pit bull terriers and german shepherds.
Treatment for Canine or dog Diabetes
Fortunately, good treatment for canine diabetes is available. If the animal is very ill when first diagnosed, it may need hospitalization and care to stabilize blood sugar and determine the right treatment protocol. If the dog is not seriously ill, oral medications and a high-fibre diet can help to restore normal blood glucose levels. Many dogs require regular insulin injections, which owners can be taught to administer for their pets at home. Your vet will recommend a feeding schedule that will help to regulate blood sugar levels. Pet owners are also taught to administer regular testing that can be done at home to monitor glucose levels.
Natural supplements formulated with cranberry and spirulina can support your diabetic dog or cat to decrease the risk for UTIs and support kidney and liver health. Spirulina has been shown to have a beneficial effect of in controlling blood glucose levels and a properly formulated cranberry supplement can effectively prevent UTIs. Although a diagnosis of diabetes is alarming, most pets can continue to live happy and active lives for many years with proper care.