Identifying Diabetes in Your Pet
Similar to humans, dogs and cats can become diabetic with the inability to produce the insulin required to regulate blood sugar, but what are the indicators of diabetes to watch for? Here are some signs and when to contact your veterinarian.
Overweight animals have a greater chance of becoming diabetic. Read our post on ideal body weight to learn how to manage your pet’s weight. For overweight pets, your vet will have tips on how to safely adjust their food intake and increase their exercise for optimum health and to avoid diabetes.
However, older pets also are more susceptible to diabetes, typically emerging in dogs between seven and nine years of age. Related to the above point about their weight, older dogs especially reduce their exercise which can translate to additional pounds, increased glucose levels, and insufficient insulin levels. Some breeds are more prone to this disease, though, in addition to unspayed females.
One of the most common indicators is excessive, constant thirst which makes them urinate more frequently, often in the house or their bed. Take note of how much water they’re drinking, but don’t reduce it as they need that to stay hydrated. Pet owners sometimes expect a urinary tract infection to be the cause of the accidents. Regardless, when owners see changes like this, contact your vet for a checkup.
Is your pet sleeping more than is typical? Lethargy could also be a key indicator – the tiredness is called “diabetes fatigue”.
Has your pet lost weight recently? Dramatic and sudden weight loss could also point to an issue of which your vet should be aware. Since the body can’t access the glucose from food (because it stays in the bloodstream instead of going to cells), your pet will likely show greater hunger than is typical, combined with not gaining weight. Take care of overweight pets who lose weight quickly though, as it might be due to health problems and not simply becoming healthier.
Early detection and intervention are key to keeping your pet healthy and improving the quality of their life – as well as avoiding diabetic problems with eyesight and blindness or other infections.