Diabetes mellitus is caused by a lack of insulin in the affected animal. Insulin helps to move glucose into cells, and if there is no insulin, glucose builds up in the blood and cells do not get the energy they need. Diabetic dogs are all Type 1 diabetics in that they all require insulin for the rest of their lives. Diabetes in cats is increasingly common, as it affects 1 out of every 400 cats.
*Overweight or obese cats are two to four times more likely to develop diabetes than cats with a
healthy body weight.
Diabetes is a progressive disease. In the early stages, your pet may try to compensate for the body’s inability to metabolize glucose by increasing food consumption. Symptoms of early diabetes are frequent urination, increased thirst and appetite, lethargy, and unexplained weight loss. Extreme water consumption, also known as polydipsia, leads to increased urination, and commonly, accidents in the house or outside the litterbox.
Diabetic pets are started on insulin. Your veterinarian will decide what dose should be administered and will show you how to give these injections at home. Don’t worry, the needles are very small and many pets don’t even know they are being given injections! Your pet will need monitoring to determine their response to treatment, which will include continued blood tests. Dietary changes are also essential to help your pet regulate their blood sugar levels.
If you suspect that your pet may be diabetic, contact us at (931) 393-2707 for an appointment. Early diagnosis is essential to managing diabetes. Dietary changes and appropriate treatment can help manage this condition and prevent further health complications.