Diabetes Mellitus in Dogs and Cats – the ins and outs
What is Diabetes Mellitus?
The carbohydrates in your pet’s food are digested into different types of sugars; glucose is then absorbed into the blood and provides energy to the body’s cells. However, glucose can’t enter into cells without insulin, which is a hormone produced in the pancreas. When the pancreas does not produce adequate insulin (either due to genetic factors, other diseases in the body, obesity, infections, or prolonged use of certain drugs like steroids), glucose cannot enter the body’s cells and accumulates in the blood. The result is hyperglycemia which results in developing of diabetes mellitus.
What will you see if your dog or cat has diabetes?
A common sign of an animal having diabetes is an enormous appetite, along with weight loss. This increased hunger feeling is caused because the glucose cannot be absorbed, and as such, the body keeps telling the brain it needs energy. Diabetes mellitus also causes increased drinking and urination. Pets suffering from DM often have chronic infections that do not clear up quickly. Many diabetic dogs develop cataracts (cloudy-looking eyes) within one year, while cats rarely develop cataracts. If your pet is showing any of these signs, please visit our veterinary clinic so that our vets can have a look at your pet and discuss your concerns based on his/her findings on your Pet with you.
Sometimes, when diabetes has not been diagnosed or controlled, the pet can become severely weakened, depressed and dehydrated. These patients are likely experiencing ‘diabetic ketoacidosis’ (DKA). DKA is a life-threatening condition that is a medical emergency. Please be sure to call your vet at Al Barsha Veterinary Clinic in Dubai so that your pet can receive our immediate care.
The most commonly affected dogs are middle-aged, with females being affected twice as often as males. Some small breeds, such as Miniature Poodles, Dachshunds, Schnauzers, Cairn Terriers, and Beagles, seem to develop diabetes more readily, but any breed can be affected. In cats, there is not a particular breed that is more affected by diabetes.
How do we diagnose it?
Your veterinarian can diagnose this condition by finding high levels of sugar in the blood and urine after a period of fasting (not letting your pet eat for some hours). We do these tests at Al Barsha Veterinary Clinic. Very stressed animals can also show elevated levels, it, therefore, might be that we will do multiple tests to ensure the results fit the picture and lead to the correct diagnosis.
How do I treat my pet if it has Diabetes? If the pet suffering from Diabetes Mellitus was not yet sterilised, we would advise to stabilise the Pet, start her on an insulin regime, control the diabetes and spay the Pet. In some cases, the Diabetes will after the spaying disappear. If not treatment involves a combination of weight loss management with a stable feeding routine, a high-quality & high fibre diet, and daily insulin injections. This medication requires a time commitment on your part, to be able to care for your diabetic pet. Our nurses and vets will help you get comfortable with the daily injections needed, as well as advise you concerning the necessary feeding regimes.
Regular re-checking of the blood glucose levels is necessary to ensure that the disease is being controlled, we can do these checks at our clinic in Dubai.
Diabetes can’t be cured in all cases but with some changes in your daily routine your pet can live a normal and healthy life.
During the month of December, our Clinic offers 25% discount on all Diabetes related services and products. Are you aware that we have a boarding facility that accepts diabetic patients to stay? Our staff is properly trained to treat and recognise diabetic related concerns and will offer excellent care while you are away. Please use our FREE nurse consult in December to get more background information on Diabetes in your Pet.