Diabetes in Your Pet

Diabetes is a common disease in both people and pets. Diabetes is caused by a deficiency of insulin, a hormone excreted by the pancreas that regulates sugar absorption and utilization. If there is a deficiency of insulin relative to the amount of glucose (sugar), it accumulates abnormally and diabetes occurs.

The increased levels of unused glucose are excreted in the urine, causing more frequent urination and thereby increased consumption of water by your pet. Thus, the main signs are excessive thirst and urination. Other signs include weight loss, reduced appetite, and eye cataracts.

If you notice your pet drinking and urinating more, or feeling unwell, diabetes may be the cause. A veterinarian should examine your pet as soon as possible. A full physical exam will be initiated; blood and urine samples will be taken. If glucose builds to dangerous levels, the resulting alterations in metabolism can result in a life threatening state, with weakness, nausea and possible coma. This warrants immediate attention.

Treatment consists of twice-daily insulin injections which your pet will tolerate readily. A special diet will also be prescribed. Follow up appointments for blood glucose checks are needed while your veterinarian regulates how much insulin is required. It is important to follow the diet, exercise and treatment protocol prescribed by your veterinarian in order to increase your pet’s chances of success. Many pets can live an active, quality life with diabetes.

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