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What is Diabetes in Dogs?

When you eat, your body turns food into sugars, or glucose. At that point, your pancreas is supposed to release insulin and insulin serves as a “key” to open your cells, to allow the glucose to enter — and allow you to use the glucose for energy.  

But with diabetes, this system does not work. 

Diabetes in dogs is a complex disease caused by either a lack of the hormone insulin or an inadequate response to insulin. When a dog does not produce insulin or cannot utilize it normally, his blood sugar levels elevate. The result is hyperglycemia, which, if left untreated, can cause many complicated health problems for a dog.

It is important to understand, however, that diabetes is considered a manageable disorder-and many diabetic dogs can lead happy, healthy lives.

What Type of Diabetes Do Most Dogs Get?

Diabetes can be classified as either Type 1 (lack of insulin production) or Type II (impaired insulin production along with an inadequate response to the hormone.)

The most common form of the disease in dogs is Type 1, insulin-dependent diabetes, which occurs when the pancreas is incapable of producing or secreting adequate levels of insulin. Dogs who have Type I require insulin therapy to survive. Type II diabetes is found in cats and is a lack of normal response to insulin.

REFERENCES

Darryl L. Millis, MS, DVM, DACVS, DACVSMR, CCRP
Professor of Orthopedic Surgery & Director of Surgical Service

Robin Downing, DVM, MS, DAAPM, DACVSMR, CVPP, CCRP
Diplomate of the American Academy of Pain Management, is a a founder and past-president of the International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management.

Janet B. Van Dyke, DVM
Diplomate American College of Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation, CCRT, CEO

Ludovica Dragone, DVM, CCRP
Vice President of VEPRA, Veterinary European of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Association.

Andrea L. Henderson, DVM, CCRT, CCRP
Resident, Canine Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation

Steven M.Fox, MS, DVM, MBA, PhD
President Securos. Inc

 

What causes Diabetes in Dogs and are there certain breeds at risk?

The exact cause of diabetes is unknown. However, autoimmune disease, genetics, obesity, chronic pancreatitis, certain medications and abnormal protein deposits in the pancreas can play a major role in the development of the disease.

It is thought that obese dogs and female dogs may run a greater risk of developing diabetes later in life (6-9 years of age). Some breeds may also run a greater risk, including Australian terriers, standard and miniature schnauzers, dachshunds, poodles, keeshonds and samoyeds. Juvenile diabetes can also be seen and is particularly prevalent in golden retrievers and keeshonds.

Did You Know that commercial dog food and rice can cause Diabetes in Dogs?

Type 1 diabetes, the form of the disease that strikes the young, is actually quite rare in companion animals.

Your cat or dog is much more likely to develop Type II (adult-onset) diabetes around middle age or in his senior years, as a result of a lifestyle that has led to decreased production of insulin or the inability of his body to use it efficiently. Obesity is far and away the biggest reason pets become diabetic. You can help your dog or cat stay trim by feeding him a portion controlled, moisture rich species-appropriate diet consisting primarily of a variety of unadulterated protein sources, healthy fats, veggies and certain fruit in moderation, and specific nutritional supplements as necessary.

Your pet has no biological requirement for grains or most other carbs. Carbs, which can be as much as 80 percent the ingredient content of processed pet food, turn into sugar in your pet’s body. Excess sugar leads to diabetes.

Another lifestyle-related reason pets develop diabetes, one that often goes hand-in-hand with poor nutrition, is lack of physical activity. Your dog or cat needs regular aerobic exertion to help maintain a healthy weight and to keep her muscles in shape. Your pet should be getting 20 to 40 minutes of aerobic type exercise several days a week.

The Vaccination Connection

There is a growing body of research that connects autoimmune disorders to Type II diabetes, especially in dogs. If your pet’s immune system attacks his pancreas, he can develop diabetes.

One of the main ways your pet’s immune system can be over-stimulated is through repetitive yearly vaccinations against diseases he is already protected against. If your pet had his full set of puppy or kitten shots on schedule, there’s a high likelihood his immunity to those diseases will last a lifetime. Each time a fully immunized pet receives a repetitive set of vaccines, it increases the risk of sending his immune system into overdrive.

diabetes in dogs

Signs and Symptoms of Diabetes in Dogs

The following symptoms should be investigated as they could be indicators that your dog has diabetes:

  • Change in appetite
  • Excessive thirst/increase in water consumption
  • Weight loss
  • Increased urination
  • Unusually sweet-smelling or fruity breath
  • Lethargy
  • Dehydration
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Vomiting
  • Cataract formation, blindness
  • Chronic skin infections

Diabetes – The importance of a proper diagnosis process

If you note symptoms of diabetes in your pet, make an appointment with your veterinarian. Be sure to let her know when the symptoms started and any behavioral or physical changes your pet is demonstrating. A physical examination of the abdomen can detect an enlarged liver (often accompanying diabetes).

Laboratory Diagnostics

Blood diagnostics will test for high levels of glucose, indicating diabetes. High liver enzymes and electrolyte abnormalities may also be observed. A urinalysis that shows the simultaneous presence of glucose and ketones in the urine. Bladder or kidney infection often accompanies diabetes.

X-Ray and Ultrasound

Radiographs and ultrasound are good tools for visualizing the presence of kidney stones (seen in diabetic patients), pancreatitis or an enlarged liver and can rule out other causes of diabetes-like symptoms such as tumors or kidney disease.

If you note symptoms of diabetes in your pet, make an appointment with your veterinarian. Be sure to let her know when the symptoms started and any behavioral or physical changes your pet is demonstrating. A physical examination of the abdomen can detect an enlarged liver (often accompanying diabetes). Laboratory Diagnostics Blood diagnostics will test for high levels of glucose, indicating diabetes. High liver enzymes and electrolyte abnormalities may also be observed. A urinalysis that shows the simultaneous presence of glucose and ketones in the urine. Bladder or kidney infection often accompanies diabetes. X-Ray and Ultrasound Radiographs and ultrasound are good tools for visualizing the presence of kidney stones (seen in diabetic patients), pancreatitis or an enlarged liver and can rule out other causes of diabetes-like symptoms such as tumors or kidney disease.

Read more at: https://www.vetary.com/dog/condition/diabetes

If you note symptoms of diabetes in your pet, make an appointment with your veterinarian. Be sure to let her know when the symptoms started and any behavioral or physical changes your pet is demonstrating. A physical examination of the abdomen can detect an enlarged liver (often accompanying diabetes). Laboratory Diagnostics Blood diagnostics will test for high levels of glucose, indicating diabetes. High liver enzymes and electrolyte abnormalities may also be observed. A urinalysis that shows the simultaneous presence of glucose and ketones in the urine. Bladder or kidney infection often accompanies diabetes. X-Ray and Ultrasound Radiographs and ultrasound are good tools for visualizing the presence of kidney stones (seen in diabetic patients), pancreatitis or an enlarged liver and can rule out other causes of diabetes-like symptoms such as tumors or kidney disease.

Read more at: https://www.vetary.com/dog/condition/diabetessdas

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