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Diabetes in Dogs

Diabetes in dogs is a serious condition.

Diabetes mellitus is a common illness in dogs. It's important to be aware of its causes and signs if you are a dog owner.

What Is Canine Diabetes and What Are Its Causes?

Diabetes mellitus is the condition in which there is not enough of the hormone insulin in a dog's body to properly break down blood sugar from the diet for use by the cells as energy.

Because the body is not able to use glucose from the diet properly, it thinks it's starving and begins to act accordingly, breaking down fat and protein to use instead.

Diabetes in dogs may be caused or exacerbated by:

  • Obesity. Being overweight and not getting enough exercise are predisposing factors for canine diabetes.
  • Genetics. Some dogs are more prone to developing diabetes than others, usually with obesity as a trigger. These breeds include Schnauzers, poodles, and dachshunds.
  • Age and sex. Older female dogs get diabetes more often than younger dogs or males.

Signs of Diabetes in Dogs

Signs of diabetes mellitus in dogs include the following:

  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Excessive thirst
  • Excessive urination
  • Increased hunger
  • Rapid formation of cataracts

Diagnosis of Canine Diabetes

Diagnosis of diabetes in dogs requires testing a blood glucose level and running a urinalysis. If blood glucose is high and there is sugar in the urine, along with corresponding physical signs, diabetes can usually be diagnosed.

If there is any ambiguity in the results of the initial testing, a fructosamine test might be sent to the lab. This result gives the veterinarian an idea of the dog's glucose level average over a period of time rather than just a one-time snapshot.

Treatment of Diabetes in Dogs

Dogs with diabetes must almost always be treated with insulin injections. The type and frequency of these injections will need to be determined by your veterinarian, who will also teach you how to give the shots at home.

Your dog's doctor may also recommend a special diet for your dog, to help keep blood sugar levels more stable.

Your dog will probably need several follow-ups when insulin is first begun, to check progress and make dose adjustments. Several hours in the hospital might be required to perform a glucose curve. This is an evaluation of your dog's blood glucose levels throughout the day, and it helps evaluate response to insulin.

Your veterinarian may also ask you to check ketone and/or glucose levels in your dog's urine at intervals as a way of monitoring insulin response.

Prognosis for Canine Diabetes

The prognosis for a dog with diabetes varies depending on concurrent medical conditions as well as how hard or easily they are to regulate on insulin. Most diabetic dogs will develop cataracts that result in blindness.

Many dogs do well for years on insulin treatment, but it does require monitoring, maintenance, and fairly frequent veterinary visits.

You May Also Like These Articles:

Causes of Frequent Urination and Urinary Accidents in Dogs

Caring For Your Senior Dog

Dog Weight Loss: Tips For Helping Your Dog Lose Weight

Obesity in Dogs: Overview of Causes and Dangers

Pancreatitis in Dogs

Giving Your Dog Clean and Fresh Water

Healthy Treats for Dogs

The Benefits of Walking Your Dog

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