ANIMAL HOSPITAL OF HAVASU ~ Dr. Cary Buckman
DIABETES MELLITUS IN DOGS & CATS
Diabetes Mellitus is a condition that usually develops of a lack of insulin or the body inability to respond to insulin. Insulin is a hormone the body needs to help it use blood sugar. A shortage of insulin is usually the result of damage to the pancreas.
A pet with diabetes can show a wide range of signs. The longer the disease is untreated, the more complications result, including cataracts in the eyes. There is no cure, but pets with diabetes can live longer with proper nutrition, exercise and insulin injections.
CAUSES OF DIABETES MELLITUS
Factors that can cause or increase the risk of diabetes include:
- BREED – Some dogs, such as Samoyeds, Miniature Schnauzers, Miniature Poodles and Pugs are predisposed to diabetes. In cats, no breeds are more at risk than others.
- GENDER – In dogs, diabetes is at least twice as common in females. In cats, neutered males are at greater risk.
- BODY CONDITION – Overweight pets have a greater tendency to develop diabetes.
- AGE – Pets can develop diabetes at any age, although the peak onset is around the age of eight.
- HORMONAL CHANGES – Short-term hormonal changes can cause diabetes.
SIGNS OF DIABETES MELLITUS
A cat or dog with diabetes mellitus could exhibit some or all of the following symptoms:
* Weakness * Increased Thirst * Weight Loss
* Increased and frequent urination * Depression *Vomiting
* Change in appetite; initially increases and later declines *Cataracts (in dogs)
If additional signs of illness appear, contact your veterinarian. Feed only the food recommended by your veterinarian. Follow a daily routine, such as regular meal times, set amounts of food and consistent levels of daily exercise. If giving insulin, make sure you set regular times for injections. Provide free access to fresh, clean water. Diabetes requires regular, careful monitoring, so make sure you keep appointments with your veterinarian.
In addition to exercise and, possibly, insulin injections, your veterinarian may recommend a food with moderate to high levels of fiber and a consistent nutrient profile. Consistency is important to help keep your pet’s metabolism stable for better health. The nutritional profile of many commercial foods varies from batch to batch, which can complicate the disease
Providing consistent nutrition is essential in the management of diabetes, which is why Hill’s Prescription Diet products are made to strict nutritional and ingredient profiles. Factors to consider for your pet’s food if they have diabetes are: Moderately high fiber helps minimize blood glucose fluctuation and may decrease insulin dosage. Higher levels of L-carnitine help the body use fat effectively.