Its national pet month and we wanted to highlight something we don’t usually get to talk about: diabetes and your adorable furry animal. A pet issue that no one talks about until their fluffy child is diagnosed. We want to bring light to diabetes in pets because like many things it’s all about knowing how it happens.
In our companions, dogs are more likely to be diagnosed with type 1 diabetes known as insulin deficiency. The body is unable to produce insulin because the pancreas isn’t producing insulin (or producing low quantities). Our bodies and our furry friends’ bodies were designed to turn food into glucose to be used as energy, but insulin is required to transfer glucose from the bloodstream to the cells. Without insulin, unfortunately, glucose can’t get into cells. Type-1 diabetics need insulin injections so their bodies can adequately use glucose.
In dogs, Type-1 diabetes is usually caused by the deterioration of insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. There are also some dog breeds that predisposed to chronic pancreatitis and diabetes. Meanwhile, female dogs are twice as likely to get a diabetic diagnosis than male dogs.
In comparison, cats are more likely to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes known as insulin resistance. The body develops a resistance to insulin when the pancreas can’t produce enough insulin for the body. Type-2 usually develops later in life while no direct causation has been found genetics and environmental factors (unhealthy lifestyles, inactive) seem to be contributing factors.
In cats, type-2 diabetes is usually caused by older age, lack of exercise and obesity.
Symptoms & Treatments
The early onset of diabetes in our favorite feline and canine children is excessive water drinking, urination increase, weight loss even with increased appetite, and cloudy eyes for dogs. If your pet exhibiting any of these symptoms visit your veterinarian.
Insulin treatments can never be given orally and must be provided with shots under the skin. Just like their human counterparts it’s not a one-size-fits-all and requires constant monitoring with your veterinarian who might need to adjust treatment periodically.
Caring for Your Diabetic Pet
When a pet is diagnosed with diabetes it usually requires a lifelong treatment where diets have to be monitored, a fitness routine must be maintained, and for dogs that means daily insulin shots. Every pet is different and what might work for one pet might not work the other. It’s all about monitoring what you’re feeding your pet and making sure their blood sugar stays within normal levels.
If your dog gets diagnosed, make sure their diet is changed to a high fiber diet (usually recommended) and gets daily exercise.
On the other hand if your cat gets diagnosed, make sure to change their diet into a high protein, low carbohydrate more wet food, less dry food diet. As always daily exercise is encouraged, and it can be a challenge with cats; therefore, you should get with your veterinarian to help with the transition.
It’s essential to have a set feeding and insulin injection schedule for your pets and be on the lookout for any signs of low blood sugar. As our pets age, they’re more susceptible to illness. What can we do? We can practice early prevention by making sure our pets are eating a diet that corresponds to their age and breed. As well as having routine yearly check-ups with a close eye on their daily habits.
Our Furry Children
We love our furry children here at Sola and make sure they’re following their eating schedule. One of our cats is notorious for asking for seconds… either way, we hope this national pet month you learn something new. Our furry friends will always have a place in our hearts!