Diabetes Mellitus Pet
Diabetes is a lifelong condition that impairs the body’s ability to use the energy found in food. This energy, in the form of a special sugar called glucose, is normally derived from the sugars and carbohydrates you eat. But the body needs insulin, a hormone made by the pancreas, to make use of this sugar. As with people, diabetic pets have a deficiency of insulin that prevents them from using the energy in the foods they eat! Some people call insulin the gatekeeper of the cell, as without insulin, the cell cannot get the sugar or glucose from the blood into the cell to use the glucose for energy.
If your dog or cat is unable to produce enough insulin, the glucose they produce builds up in their blood. This accumulation can damage the tiny blood vessels in the kidneys, heart, eyes, or nervous system. Left untreated, it will eventually cause heart disease, kidney disease, cataracts, blindness, and eventually, death.
Symptoms of diabetes:
-Increased thirst and urination (polyuria, polydipsia)
-Accidental or intentional urination in the home
-Increased appetite (polyphagia)
-Unintentional weight loss
Risk factors for diabetes:
– Older, neutered, male cats
– Older, intact, female dogs
– Genetics, weight, and diet may also play a major role
– Burmese cats, but all breeds can be affected
– Diabetes occurs in Poodles, German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, Miniature Schnauzers, and Keeshonds with higher frequency, but all breeds can be affected
– Did you know that an overweight cat is 6 times as likely to become diabetic?!
Diagnosis: Your veterinarian will ask questions about your pet’s history, perform a thorough physical exam, and run diagnostic tests to determine what is happening with your pet. Diagnosis is usually made based on laboratory findings, including high glucose levels in the blood and urine.
Treatment: Diabetes management consists of a specialized diet and daily insulin injections. It may also include oral medications/food to help reduce blood sugar levels. Unfortunately, treatment options are limited to the types of insulin currently available for people, dog and cat specific insulin is not yet a therapeutic reality. Some insulins are better for cats than others. If your pet is diagnosed with diabetes, your veterinarian can help you to create the best treatment plan for their individual situation.