Diabetes In Dogs And Cats

What is diabetes?

  • A condition when the dog’s or cat’s body does not produce enough insulin or the insulin produced isn’t enough to regulate blood sugar levels, which causes the glucose levels to become unregulated and rise above normal.
  • Diabetes is most often seen in adult and senior dogs and cats

terrier-diabetesWhat are the clinical signs of diabetes in dogs and cats?

  • Drinking a lot of water
  • Urinating frequently and in large volumes
  • Having a ravenous appetite
  • Losing weight despite eating a lot

How is diabetes diagnosed?

  • Blood tests that measure glucose levels
  • Urinalysis tests that measure the amount of glucose and/or ketones in the urine

How is diabetes treated?

  • With insulin therapy
  • With a specialized diabetic diet
  • The goal of treatment is to control blood sugar levels, stop clinical signs, stabilize the pet’s weight, and prevent further health problems related to diabetes

What will my veterinarian do to monitor my pet’s glucose levels while on insulin therapy?

  • Dogs: Your veterinarian will do a glucose curve at the hospital to get samples over the course of the day to test your dog’s blood sugar levels.
  • Cats: Cats should be fed and given their insulin in the morning as usual and then a single glucose test is performed at the hospital. Depending on these results, the veterinarian may measure a Fructosamine level to determine your cat’s glucose levels over a two week period of time.
  • Once the ideal amount of insulin is established, your veterinarian may suggest that you learn to monitor your pet’s blood sugar levels at home using a glucometer. This is helpful to because it removes the element of the stress of going to the veterinary hospital, especially for cats. Your pet will be much more comfortable and relaxed in a familiar environment.

How will I know if my pet’s glucose levels are not regulated?

  • Regular glucose and Fructosamine testing is the best way to detect a problem.
  • Warning signs to be aware of include: loss of appetite, behavioral changes, lethargy, sleepiness, vomiting, diarrhea, seizures or tremors. Should you see any of these, contact your veterinarian right away.

What is the prognosis for my pet?

  • Most pets have a good quality of life with treatment
  • Cataract development is very common in dogs with diabetes.
  • However, cataracts can be corrected surgically
  • For dogs, diabetes is usually a life-long condition
  • For cats, 80% of cats go into remission with aggressive therapy immediately following prognosis.

How can I prevent my pet from getting diabetes?

  • Obesity is a risk factor, especially in cats
  • Diabetes is more likely to occur in male cats and female dogs
  • Certain breeds of dogs including Australian terriers, beagles, Samoyeds, keeshonds, miniature schnauzers, Cairn terriers, and miniature poodles have a higher incidence of diabetes than other breeds.