November is Pet Diabetes Awareness Month! Do you know about diabetes in dogs? Just like humans, dogs can get diabetes, which can be very serious if left untreated.
What is diabetes in dogs?
Diabetes in dogs happens when canines are unable to process insulin or have a lack of insulin in their bodies. A dog’s blood sugar will elevate if he’s unable to produce insulin or regulate it. Insulin, a hormone produced in the pancreas, helps process glucose and turn it into energy for the body. It is important to understand, however, that diabetes is considered a manageable disorder – and many diabetic dogs can lead happy, healthy lives with treatment and care! Trust me, one of my close puppy pals has diabetes, and you’d never know it. He even wins races with me at the dog park sometimes!
What are the symptoms of diabetes in dogs?
- Change in appetite
- Increase in water consumption
- Weight loss
- Excessive urination
- Change in breath smell
- Tires easily
- Urinary tract infections
What dogs are at risk for diabetes?
Female dogs are more likely to get diagnosed with diabetes than male dogs. The average age of onset of diagnoses for all dogs is between 6-9 years old. Though juvenile diabetes can be diagnosed, and is more common in Golden Retrievers and Keeshonden.
There are some breeds that are more susceptible to the condition than others. Those include: Beagles, Samoyed, Miniature Schnauzers, Poodles, Dachshunds, and Keeshonden have the highest risk for diabetes in dogs, though any dog can develop the condition. If you dog has any of the symptoms mentioned above, we recommend visiting your veterinarian for a consultation.
Does your veterinarian suspect your dog may have diabetes?
If your veterinarian is concerned that your dog may be suffering from diabetes, he will collect blood and urine for tests, as well as completing an examination. During this office visit, he will ask you for a full report of your dogs activities and exact symptoms you may have noticed. These tests should provide enough information for your veterinarian to make a diagnosis.
Usually, there will be a significant concentration of glucose in the urine and blood of a diabetic dog. Also, the blood tests may indicate electrolyte imbalances and an increase of liver enzymes. Some other abnormalities may be noticed by your pet’s vet which will help him diagnose your dog with diabetes.
What classification of diabetes can dogs get?
If your dog gets diagnosed with diabetes, be sure to find out what type she has. The veterinarian will classify your dog as a Type I meaning she doesn’t produce enough insulin, or Type II, which means the insulin production is impaired and/or she may not have an inadequate response to the hormone. The most common classification of diabetes in dogs is Type I: insulin-dependent diabetes. This will mean your dog will begin to need insulin therapy to manage her illness.
How is diabetes in dogs treated?
Treatment for diabetes depends on the dog! Treatment will be determined by the lab results, severity of the symptoms, and on any other medical conditions that may come into play.
- If your dog is relatively stable when you bring him to the veterinarian’s office, may respond well to medication and will be allowed to be discharged.
- If your dog is severely ill when brought to the veterinarian’s office, they may need to keep him overnight or even transport them to an animal hospital for a few days to regulate your dogs blood sugar.
- Depending on the severity level, your dog will either be put on an insulin treatment plan or your doctor will suggest a complete change in diet and increased exercise. If your dog is prescribed insulin, you’ll be administering daily shots of insulin in your home at a precise time daily.
If you’re concerned about your dog’s health, we always recommend bringing them to the veterinarian to get looked at. It’s important to always know your dog’s baseline health, behavior, and feeding schedule so that you can report any changes immediately to your doctor.
Does your dog have diabetes? Tell us how you manage her care in the comments!
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