Diabetes is a chronic disease in which the glucose-insulin relationship isn’t working properly. It causes high blood sugar levels in which have negative effects on the dog’s body. Despite this high level of blood glucose, the cells that need the glucose can’t access it.
In other words, these cells are running out of fuel. At the same time the raised blood glucose levels can damage many of the organs in the body. These include kidneys, eyes, heart blood vessels and nerves.
How does diabetes come about
The dog’s digestive system breaks down his food into a number of components which can be used by the body. One of the most important of these is glucose. Glucose is like a fuel which powers the body. It is absorbed through the intestines into the blood which transports it to the cells which need it.
Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas which tells the cells to absorb the glucose. When there is insufficient insulin available the cells become starved of energy.
types of diabetes
There are two types of diabetes which affect dogs. The type that is most common in dogs in where the pancreas is malfunctioning and not producing enough insulin.
The second type of diabetes is where the pancreas is producing insulin, but it is not properly utilised by the dog’s body. This type of diabetes is prevalent in older obese dogs.
symptoms of diabetes
The first sign that your dog has diabetes is likely to be how much he is drinking. Dogs with diabetes are characterized by excess thirst.
Other symptoms include:
Weight loss – your dog may lose weight even though he is eating his normal amount of food.
Increased appetite - Your dog can be continually hungry even though he is being well fed. The nutrition is just not getting to the cells.
Diabetes can have really damaging effects on the body. So, if you notice any of these symptoms and you suspect your dog may have diabetes, take him to the vet immediately. The sooner you start treatment, the better
Treatment and Management of dog diabetes
Your vet will outline a diabetes management plan for your dog.
The treatment options include:
Your dog will need a balanced nutritious diet. The diet should include high quality protein, fiber and complex carbohydrates. The diet may include relatively low amounts of fat.
Your dog should be engaged in a moderate daily exercise plan. This will help even out the blood glucose levels.
It is likely your dog will need daily insulin shots given under the skin. This is fairly easy to do. It will become part of your regular routine causing minimal trauma for you or your dog.
Following the management plan that has been worked out with your vet will mean your dog should be able to lead a fairly normal life free of complications.
It is important that you continue to consult your vet. Continue to monitor your dog's condition and watch out for any changes in his behavior or re-occurrence of symptoms