Diabetes in dogs

April 13, 2012

Canine diabetes is a serious illness that can result to blindness. Left untreated, this disease can snuff the life your beloved pet. Incidence of diabetes in dogs is mounting. Unfortunately, not many dog owners are aware of the causes, of the symptoms, much less of the treatments. Canine diabetes, similar to human diabetes, is caused when the endocrine glands malfunction. There are two kinds of diabetes – diabetes insipidus is caused by the lack of vasopressin. This diuretic hormone controls the kidneys’ water resorption. Diabetes mellitus, the more common form of diabetes is caused by the lack of insulin. Diabetes mellitus is divided into two groups. Type 1 is also known as juvenile diabetes as it occurs in younger dogs. Type 11 occurs in senior dogs that have grown dependent on insulin.

Although diabetes can be attributed to other factors this condition is commonly a hereditary disease. Golden Retrievers, Cairns Terriers, Keeshonds, Miniature Pinschers have the genetic tendency to develop diabetes. Female and obese dogs as well as unspayed ones are at higher risks too. Commercial dog food may contain a high concentration of sugar. The food would be more palatable to the dog but large amounts of carbohydrates in the diet would affect the blood sugar level especially if the pet has an inactive lifestyle. Canine diabetes, similar to human diabetes will occur if the pancreas, the insulin producing organ of the body is damaged. Insulin is an essential hormone that is used by the body in the utilization of glucose. Body functions will be disrupted if abnormal level of insulin causes too much glucose in the blood.

Unmanaged high blood sugar level can result to blindness as cataract is one of the complications of diabetes. A diabetic dog can have a healthy normal life if the disease is managed. However, before any treatment can be administered, the dog owner must know the telltale signs. Excessive drinking is one. The dog owner may need to fill the water bowl several times. Increased water intake would make the dog urinate more frequently too. Of course these symptoms can be due to hot weather or to the dog’s strenuous activities. But if these symptoms are accompanied by weakness, lethargy and shaking and if the pet has suddenly developed a sweet breath, it would be best to take the pet to a vet. If treatment is not given, the pet will lose weight due to inappetance. The dog’s resistance to bacterial and fungal infections will be lowered as well.

The pet’s condition can be managed. The goal is to maintain a normal glucose level thus the pet’s diet has to be regulated. Managing the pet’s condition would take some heavy monitoring. There will be no more table scraps for Fido. While some foods would be specifically needed by the dog, other foods would make the dog’s condition worse. What the dog eats and the amount of food ingested would affect the sugar level. The dog may need to have regular insulin injections. Insulin shots can be given by the vet. A lot of owners with diabetic dogs have learned to give the pet insulin injections. Insulin injections will allow diabetic dogs to live normal lives. However, these injections that can extend the life of the pet can also be the cause of the pet’s death if too much insulin is given to the dog. Before insulin can be given the glucose level of the dog must be monitored. Urine strips can be used but blood glucose meters are proven to be more accurate in monitoring blood sugar levels. Careful monitoring can buy the diabetic dog a new lease to a normal life.

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