Diabetes is a relatively common affliction among dogs. What to do about it and how to recognise Diabetes mellitus in your dog…we will explain!
What is diabetes?
Diabetes is an affliction where not enough insulin is produced and/or the body fails to respond to insulin as effectively as it should. Cells contain less glucose (sugar) as a result which means they lack their primary source of energy, leaving glucose behind in the blood. The liver responds to the insulin deficit by producing lots of glucose which causes the glucose concentration in the blood to spike. This is what we call diabetes.
How do I know if my dog has diabetes?
Symptoms of canine diabetes are the same as in humans and cats: excessive peeing, excessive drinking, weight loss without loss of appetite. The symptoms vary per type, so it is important to make a clear distinction between the various types of diabetes.
Various types of diabetes in dogs
Dogs can develop diabetes type 1, 3 and 4.
Type 1: Insulin-producing cells are damaged as a result of an immune disorder. This type affects more than half of dogs with diabetes. It is very rare among cats. It can be treated, but not cured.
Type 3: This type is caused by medication or another affliction in the body. This diabetes type cannot be cured in dogs, but cats may recover completely.
Type 4: Since the fourth type is called ‘gestational diabetes’ in humans, which doesn’t occur in dogs and cats, this type is called ‘type 4’ in veterinary medicine. It only occurs in dogs and is caused by the hormonal cycle. The only way to cure it is to surgically remove the ovaries.
Preventing diabetes in dogs
Since type 2 (caused by a lack of exercise and obesity) does not affect dogs, canine diabetes is more difficult to prevent. Types 1, 3 and 4 are caused by a physical disorder or affliction which isn’t something you can affect as a pet owner. Type 4 can be prevented by having your dog castrated. The other types cannot be prevented with extra measures. Still, a healthy lifestyle and a healthy, regular diet are recommended, with the addition of special food for dogs with diabetes if necessary.
Consult your vet
Are you seeing a lot of symptoms and worried that your dog may have diabetes? Always consult a vet. They can diagnose the disease, specify the type and prescribe treatment.