Diabetes in dogs is becoming more common. Today, our Knightdale veterinarians discuss some of the most common signs of diabetes in dogs, as well as what you should do if your dog exhibits diabetes symptoms.
What is diabetes in dogs?
There are two main types of diabetes in dogs, neither can be cured however both forms of this chronic illness can be managed effectively.
'Sugar diabetes' or diabetes mellitus is insulin-deficiency diabetes which occurs when your dog's body isn’t producing enough insulin. This is the most common form of diabetes in dogs.
Insulin-resistance diabetes is caused by the dog's pancreas producing some insulin but not utilizing it properly. Diabetes of this type is common in older and obese dogs.
Why has my dog developed diabetes?
The causes of diabetes in dogs are unknown; however, unspayed females, overweight dogs, animals being treated for other conditions with steroid medications, and those diagnosed with Cushing's disease or autoimmune disorders are the dogs most at risk of developing diabetes.
What are the symptoms of diabetes in dogs?
If your dog is displaying any of the following symptoms, make an appointment to see your vet as soon as possible. Early diagnosis is the key to successfully managing diabetes in dogs.
The early signs of diabetes in dogs include:
- Frequent urination (polyuria)
- Drinking more water than usual
- Excessive appetite (polyphagia)
- Unexplained weight loss
Once the disease is more advanced symptoms may become more severe and include:
- Visual impairment/blindness
- Lack of energy
- Joint stiffness/weakness
- Dull coat
How is diabetes in dogs treated?
If your dog is diagnosed with diabetes after a thorough examination and testing, your veterinarian will prescribe medications and ongoing treatments to help you manage your dog's condition.
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.
Regular wellness checks at your veterinarian's office are one of the best ways to monitor your dog's health. Having your dog examined once or twice a year can assist your veterinarian in monitoring your dog's overall health and detecting early signs of diabetes.