A gray-striped cat with golden eyes lays on a colorful bedspread, looking wary.

All animals are unique in the ways they behave, but there are generally tell-tale signs that something’s amiss. Sure, domestic and wild animals alike may try to hide symptoms of illness or injury, but there’s no mistaking excessive thirst and increased urination in our four-legged friends. With undiagnosed pet diabetes, pets may beg for food and continue to lose weight. Early detection is the key to successful long-term management, and marks the beginning of a chapter in the lives of both pets and their owners.

Risk Factors

Pet diabetes can develop at a higher rate in overweight or obese pets. Higher risk pets may include senior pets, those with Cushing’s disease, hyperthyroidism, or chronic pancreatitis, pets on steroids, and pregnant females. Older female dogs are more likely to be diagnosed than older male dogs; senior male cats are considered higher risk than aging female cats.

That being said, pet diabetes can occur in any pet regardless of age or lifestyle. Genetics may also play a part.

Sooner Equals Better

As with any health condition possibly affecting your pet, the sooner you bring them in for an exam, the better. If you notice that your pet’s eating and drinking habits have changed, they go to the bathroom more frequently, stop grooming, have a dull coat, or are lethargic, please let us know

What is Pet Diabetes?

After eating, food is broken down into glucose, which is absorbed by the intestines and used as energy by the body’s vital organs and cells. The pancreas is responsible for producing and releasing insulin, a hormone that facilitates the connection between the cells and glucose and controls blood sugar levels. 

Pet diabetes occurs when the body cannot use insulin properly or produce enough of the hormone on its own. Glucose remains in the blood instead of being used up as energy. High blood glucose levels can impair the functions of the kidneys, eyes, heart, and nervous system.

Type I and Type II Pet Diabetes

There are two types of pet diabetes. Type 1 occurs when there is inadequate production of insulin. Type 2 is caused by insulin resistance. In this case, the pancreas produces insulin but the body cannot use it the way it’s supposed to, affecting blood sugar levels.

New Normal

Blood and urine tests can confirm diabetes in your pet. Although diabetes is a chronic disease with no cure, pet diabetes can be effectively managed with insulin therapy, glucose monitoring, diet modifications, exercise, and regular veterinary exams.

Over time, pets will begin to normalize their thirst levels, appeties, and activity levels. As your pet stabilizes, you’ll likely notice that they are back to acting like themselves again. Indeed, a diagnosis of pet diabetes doesn’t mean your pet can’t continue to live a happy, fulfilled life.

Moving Forward

Our veterinarians and staff members are dedicated to helping pet owners learn the best ways to provide for their pets at home. We will work closely with you to establish and maintain and management routine so that pet diabetes doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Your pet will also receive a free glucometer, one free bottle of insulin and a bag of food.

As always, please let Advantage Veterinary Center know if you have any questions or concerns.