Pet Diabetes Month

Diabetes mellitus affects approximately one in 300 adult dogs and one in 230 cats in the United States and is on the increase. Diabetes mellitus is a chronic and potentially debilitating condition in both dogs and cats. The disorder is most prevalent among obese pets over eight years old. In dogs, diabetes is most commonly associated with dogs eating table foods. Given the severity of the condition, it is important to take early measures to prevent or manage the health of your pet.

Typically, diabetes is a disorder that results when the cells develop a resistance to insulin, a hormone that aids the entry of glucose into the cells. This causes a build-up of the glucose levels in the bloodstream. Diabetic animals generally suffer from Type II diabetes, where the body cells can no longer adequately respond to insulin, leading to elevated levels of glucose. A complete diagnosis always requires a visit to the veterinarian, but a closer look at your pet at home can tell you if there’s a problem. If you notice any of these signs your pet should be checked:

EARLY SIGNS OF DIABETES

Excessive Urination & Thirst
Your pets may be suffering from diabetes if they are urinating frequently. The kidneys attempt to remove the excess glucose from the body through urine. The high concentration of glucose pulls excessive amounts of water into the urine. Increased urination can mean high body water losses, possible dehydration, and increased thirst.

Increased Weight Loss & Appetite
When a pet has diabetes, cells can no longer absorb the glucose from the blood appropriately. As a result, starved cells will trigger the breakdown of the fats and proteins available in the body as an alternative source of energy. The pet may lose weight in a failed attempt to fill the void left after burning fats and proteins, and as a result, their appetite increases.

LATER SIGNS OF DIABETES

If a pet displays a combination of the following symptoms, they could be in critical condition and require intensive care. The health of your pet is in jeopardy if you notice these later symptoms of diabetes. Later signs of diabetes include the following:

Inability to Jump & Loss of Interest
While the loss of interest may be a subtle sign, you can tell your pet is sick if you keep proper track of your pet’s activity. If your pet can no longer jump on furniture they used to be able to, they may be sick.

Change in Gait
Diabetes in pets can lead to weakness, which makes them walk flat on the back of the hind legs. Following the elevated blood sugar level, neuropathy affects the nerves in the hind legs, and the condition may result in permanent paralysis if left untreated for long time.

Lack of Appetite, Vomiting, Lethargy
Hyperglycemia, hypoglycemia, and gastroparesis can cause nausea in pets leading to vomiting, lost appetite, and lethargy.

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