Diabetes in Dogs – Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Do you want to learn more about your diabetic dog? Do you have questions about the most appropriate blood glucose monitoring system for your diabetic dog?

There is no permanent cure for diabetes, but with the right medical attention and proper home care, one can continue living a decent quality of life. Diabetes is becoming more common in dogs among other living species. Diabetes occurs as a result of insufficient production of the insulin hormone.

With the initial phase, diabetic dogs might show signs like excessively drinking water, urinating a lot and having a sudden increase in appetite. Diabetes mellitus is one of the commonly found hormonal diseases in dogs and it develops when the pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin hormones. A dog’s body cells need glucose or sugar to produce the energy needed for bodily functions and the insulin hormone produced by the pancreas allows glucose to reach the cells by circulating in the bloodstream. This is why diabetes impairs a dog’s ability to properly digest food that then results in a high blood sugar level called hyperglycemia.

Diabetes is a very sensitive condition and when timely treatment is not provided, it increases your dog’s vulnerability to other infections, such as bladder, kidney and skin infections. In many cases, the fat accumulates inside a diabetic dog’s liver that may result in an enlarged liver.

However, in case no timely and proper treatment is given, a diabetic dog may also develop neurological issues such as visible signs of abnormal gait. A diabetic dog may even develop diabetic ketoacidosis, the accumulation of acids, ketones, and by-products of the fat metabolism in the blood. As a diabetic dog doesn’t have enough sugar for energy, their body turns to fat instead as the source of energy, which may cause ketone buildup. In addition, ketoacidosis in a diabetic dog can be fatal and he will need proper medical help immediately.

Continue reading this blog and learn more about diabetes in dogs including its causes, symptoms, treatment options and blood glucose monitoring system for the dogs.

Causes of diabetes in dogs

There are a number of factors that can be the cause of diabetes in dogs:

  1. Obesity can increase the chances of developing diabetes in dogs, just like with humans.
  2. Genetic predisposition can also affect the likelihood of a dog developing diabetes. Some particular dog breeds have a higher tendency of developing diabetes than others.
  3. Usage of certain drugs may disturb the functions of insulin leading to diabetes, especially with long-term use of the drug. Some example of these drugs include glucocorticoids and hormones give for heat control.
  4. Certain viral infections, Cushing’s diseases, and pancreatic inflammation may become a cause for diabetes in dogs.

Symptoms of diabetes in dogsDogs Diabetes

It is best to diagnose diabetes as early in the development as possible. Some of the early signs of diabetes that may help you in diagnosis are drinking excessive water, urinating more often than usual, weight loss and sudden increase or decrease in appetite.

However, some of the other signs of diabetes that may be seen during relatively advanced stages include vomiting, dehydration, losing appetite, weakness, lethargy, and coma.

Treatment of diabetes in dogs

Even though diabetes is incurable, with an effective treatment program, insulin therapy, dietary schedule, and fitness regimen, you can continue living a more or less normal life.

Insulin therapy

Diabetes dogs insulin needs vary based on the degree of their pancreatic failure. For effective identification of a dog’s insulin needs, your veterinarian would take a small blood sample every 1 to 2 hours, for 12 to 24 hours and measure the sugar level. Then he or she would analyze the findings. This method is called an insulin-glucose-responsive curve.

Following this, there will be one week of trial for the insulin treatment. You would be asked to bring your dog back to the clinic for a series of tests. At this point, the veterinarian would monitor the results of the first insulin type and dose, and get a new insulin-glucose-response curve. According to these findings, the veterinarian would make adjustments to the dosage and type of the insulin injections.

Usually, the younger dogs need insulin injections more frequently, often twice daily and some breeds of large dogs may only need one injection daily. However, oral hypoglycemic agents might not be effective for a majority of diabetic dogs because of its poor absorption.

Home care

Home caring is a big part of the treatment program for your diabetic dog. Your diabetic dog needs a high fiber diet with high complex carbohydrate concentrations. This will help your dog with food absorption, minimize chances of hyperglycemia and reduce after-meal blood glucose fluctuations.

Furthermore, other than the dietary control, you need to follow a tight fitness schedule for your diabetic dog, at home. To avoid any further complications, you need to make sure your dog falls into the bracket of a healthy weight. A proper meal planning and fitness regimen will help you do that.