Recognizing Diabetes in your Pet

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November is Pet Diabetes Awareness month. Wait-what? Pets can get diabetes?  Diabetes can occur in both dogs and cats, older, younger and pregnant pets. The disease is more manageable if it is detected early and managed with the help of your veterinarian. The good news is that with proper monitoring, treatment, diet and exercise, diabetic pets can lead long and happy lives!

 

Signs to keep an eye on:

Increased thirst

Increased urination

Increased hunger

Sudden weight loss

Obesity

Fatigue

Thinning/dull coat

Vomiting

 

If your pet is showing any of the previous symptoms, take him or her to your veterinarian immediately for a physical exam and blood work.  Once the diagnosis is confirmed, your veterinarian will prescribe an initial dose and type of insulin for your pet. Insulin cannot be given orally – it must be given by injection under the skin. Your veterinarian or veterinary technician will teach you how to give the insulin injections, which involve a very small needle and are generally very well tolerated by the pet. Successful treatment of diabetes requires regular examinations, blood and urine tests, and monitoring your pet’s weight, appetite, drinking and urination.

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Diabetes is a condition that occurs when the body cannot use glucose (a type of sugar) normally.  Glucose is the main source of energy for the body’s cells. The levels of glucose in the blood are primarily controlled by a hormone called insulin, which is made by the pancreas.  Dogs and cats with diabetes usually require lifelong treatment with special diets, a good fitness regimen and, particularly in dogs, daily insulin injections.  The key to managing diabetic pets is to keep your pet’s blood sugar near normal levels and avoid too-high or too-low levels that can be life-threatening.  Patience and communication with your vet is important as you and your pet adjust to the new diet and medications.  

 

While there is no cure for pet diabetes, there are ways to successfully manage the disease.  Diabetic dogs and cats can live long and healthy lives with proper management and veterinary care. If you have any questions on diabetes, please don’t hesitate to call us! 

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