In recent years there has been an uptick in cases of diabetes in dogs. Today our Doraville vets share some of the common causes and symptoms of diabetes in dogs and how it can be managed.
Diabetes in Dogs
While diabetes in dogs cannot be cured, there are two main types of diabetes and both are able to be managed.
'Sugar diabetes' or diabetes mellitus is insulin-deficiency diabetes which occurs when your dog's body isn’t producing enough insulin. This type of diabetes is most commonly diagnosed in dogs.
Insulin-resistance diabetes results from the dog's pancreas producing some insulin, but not utilizing the insulin as it should. This is the type of diabetes that is most likely to be seen in older dogs or dogs with health conditions.
What are the causes of diabetes in dogs?
While the main cause behind the development of diabetes in dogs is unclear, the dogs most at risk of developing diabetes include unspayed females, overweight dogs, animals being treated for other conditions with steroid medications, and those diagnosed with Cushing's disease or autoimmune disorders.
What symptoms of diabetes might my dog develop?
If your dog is displaying any of the following symptoms, make an appointment to see your vet as soon as possible. It is crucial that your dog receives diagnosis quickly in order to have the est chance at having this condition managed successfully.
The early signs of diabetes in dogs include:
- Frequent urination (polyuria)
- Drinking more water than usual
- Excessive appetite (polyphagia)
- Unexplained weight loss
If the disease is allowed to progress then your dog may experience these more severe symptoms.
- Visual impairment/blindness
- Lack of energy
- Joint stiffness/weakness
- Dull coat
How can diabetes in dogs be treated or managed?
Following a thorough examination and testing, if your dog is diagnosed with diabetes your vet will offer an ongoing treatment plan in order to help manage the condition and keep your dog healthy.
Ongoing treatment for diabetes in dogs typically involves:
- Daily insulin shots
- Regular daily exercise to help avoid spikes or sudden drops in glucose levels
- A special, vet recommended diet
- Close monitoring of your dog for changes in symptoms and overall health
- Regular veterinary examinations
If your dog's diabetes is left untreated it can lead to serious and life-threatening side effects such as blindness, enlarged liver, urinary tract infections, seizures, ketoacidosis and kidney failure.
One of the best ways to monitor your dog's health is through regular wellness checks at your vet's office. Having your dog examined once or twice a year can help your vet to monitor your dog's overall health and spot the earliest signs of diabetes.