Diabetes in domestic animals is on the rise, and has been for a number of years now. In part, this has to do with the quality of commercial pet foods. Another culprit is the sharing of misinformation about best feeding practices. Often, diabetes can creep into a pet’s system slowly, much like it does with adults. If your dog or cat leans on the heavier and lazier side, it’s definitely something to keep your eye on. Diabetes in domestic animals is manageable, but it can incur visits to an emergency animal hospital or 24 hour pet hospital. Additionally, the cost of insulin, needles, specialty foods, and more frequent checkups certainly does add up.
If you’re not familiar, the condition known as diabetes has a direct correlation to the amount of glucose sugar in the blood. The pancreas produces the hormone insulin, and diabetes sets in when the body is either not producing enough insulin or is not utilizing the amount being made.
Just as it is in humans, there are two different kinds of diabetes mellitus that develop in our domestic animals.
Generally speaking, cats that are most prone to developing diabetes are between the ages of 8 and 13 and/or have either hyperthyroidism, pancreatitis, are obese and inactive.
Dog breeds more prone to diabetes include (but are not limited to) Labradors, Schnauzers, Poodles, Golden Retrievers and German Shepherds. Diabetes tends to strike when dogs are between the ages of 7 and 9.
If your pet seems unusually listless or extremely lethargic, take them to an emergency animal hospital immediately.
Here’s a list of signs and symptoms to be aware of:
Especially in cats, diabetes is preventable and often somewhat reversible if caught early and significant lifestyle changes are made. Local veterinarians should be able to help you get your pet onto low-carb foods with a daily calorie restriction that will help regulate an animal’s blood-glucose levels; you might want to avoid choosing a low cost vet for this since clinics often don’t have the capacity for blood work. If necessary, search online to find a vet that specializes in handling diabetes. Taking steps now will save you visits to the emergency animal hospital later.