(DOGS/PET HEALTH) Has your pup put on a few extra pounds? Notice Fido sleeping more often than usual?
Ciara Black is a Global Animal contributor from the Dog Help Network, a resource for dog health related websites. Read on for Ciara’s tips on how to watch for signs of canine diabetes, and how the disease can be managed. — Global Animal
Dog Help Network, Ciara Black
What is Canine Diabetes?
Canine diabetes usually surfaces between the ages of 7 and 9. About one out of every ten dogs suffers from this disease, with the most common type relating to sugar metabolism, known as diabetes Mellitus.
Diabetes is when the pancreas cannot produce enough natural insulin to prevent glucose levels from rising in your dog’s system. If the levels of glucose get too high, they will leak into the kidneys and cause infections, and eventually lead to other internal problems.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for dog diabetes, but it can be managed well if caught at an early stage. There are a few common symptoms to look for when dealing with dog diabetes.
Symptoms of Canine Diabetes
- Change in weight – Weight fluctuation could be caused by a few different things. If your dog is losing weight, it could be because of lack of energy. However, it is more common for dogs to gain weight during diabetes because they cannot burn sugar as quickly as a normal dog could.
- Excess water consumption – Why is Fido drinking like it’s the last water of earth? Your dog will consume lots of water for a few reasons. The first being because of excess urination. It is a vicious cycle between drinking water and urinating throughout the day. Another reason is of an overproduction of glucose, which cannot be properly metabolized in his system. This will cause you pup to be extra thirsty.
- Frequent Urination – Frequent urination throughout the day may be a sign of diabetes. Increased urination is caused by excess glucose which cannot process normally in the bloodstream, so your dog’s body will try to get rid of it through urination. Frequent urination will also cause extreme thirst.
- Lethargy – While guardians often remark on their pup’s laziness, dogs should not be sleeping all day, everyday. Lethargy is usually a sign that your dog is not well. However, if you notice any other symptoms along with low energy, it could be a sign of canine diabetes.
- Cataract Formation – Cataracts are caused by an increase in glucose concentrations. Cataracts can form very quickly if diabetes is not caught and treated properly. About 75% of dogs will develop cataracts or blindness within a year of being diagnosed with diabetes. Cataracts need to be removed surgically, but fortunately the success rate is very high.
What To Do
Always take your dog to the veterinarian if you suspect he may have diabetes. Diabetes can lead to diabetic ketoacidosis and organ failure if left untreated. Once diabetes has been diagnosed in your dog, it’s time to begin treatment right away. It is important to follow a strict treatment plan to best suit your dog’s case of diabetes.
Some treatments may include:
- Insulin shots – When your dog has diabetes, his natural production of insulin from the pancreas is low. Insulin shots are given and need to be monitored properly to avoid a low blood sugar crisis.
- Change of diet – Diet is extremely important for diabetic dogs. A good diet is beneficial because it decreases your dog’s dependency on insulin, controls sugar and carbohydrate levels, and helps your dog to lose weight.
- Supplements – There are many supplements available to help along with treatment and diet. Some of these supplements include vinegar, vitamin E, cinnamon and Chromium. Always check with your vet before supplying supplements to your pup.
- Exercise – It is important to keep your dog active, especially if he or she is diagnosed with diabetes. This will help maintain a healthy weight and keep the disease under control.
- Spaying females – Female dogs are more susceptible to diabetes than males. Lots of pet guardians choose to spay their dogs to help balance hormone levels.
Treatments are different for each dog. Talk to your veterinarian about the best options and treatments for your dog’s specific case of diabetes.
Learn more about dog diabetes causes, treatment options, natural remedies and proper diet information at www.dogdiabeteshelp.com.