Did you know that dogs and cats can be affected by diabetes too? There are thought to be up to a million undiagnosed diabetic people in the UK. Imagine howmany undiagnosed diabetic pets there could be...
Diabetes in dogs and cats is both common and under- diagnosed. Pets that are over 6 years old, or overweight, are at the greatest risk. Certain breeds are also more likely to develop the condition. But any cat or dog can become diabetic, so it’s important that you know enough about the condition to be aware if symptoms start to appear.
What is diabetes?
Just as in humans, diabetes occurs when an animal cannot produce enough insulin to meet its bodily needs, or is no longer responding to insulin properly. Insulin is the hormone that helps convert sugar in the blood stream into useable energy. If a pet produces insufficient insulin, blood sugar levels can become dangerously high, producing all the symptoms mentioned above. Untreated, it can be life-threatening.
Could your pet be diabetic?
Signs to look out for include: ● Drinking too much water ● Excessive urination ● Weight loss despite constant hunger ● Lethargy and depression If you cat or dog displays any of these symptoms then he or she could be suffering from diabetes. Fortunately a simple test can soon put your mind at rest; and even if your pet does have diabetes, provided they receive the appropriate treatment, they can still lead a long and active life.
How can it be treated?
Fortunately, once diagnosed, diabetes in pets can be treated very successfully. Generally though, it cannot be cured. Treatment consists of an appropriate diet, regular exercise and routine insulin injections. The injections are carried out at home by you, the pet owner. This may sound complicated or frightening, but it’s really not. Your vet or nurse will provide full training and your pet will hardly feel the injections. Soon, injections will become as commonplace and as easy as feeding your pet.
What do you do if you think your pet might be diabetic?
A simple urine and/or blood test can often immediately determine whether or not your pet is diabetic. Ask your vet for further details.