Diabetes in Dogs – Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment
Diabetes in dogs is a disease caused by a dog´s inability to produce the hormone insulin or an inadequate response to it. Diabetes is a chronic disease that can also affect cats and other animals such as horses, pigs, and apes. It cannot be cured but it can be successfully treated.
What causes diabetes in dogs?
The most common form of diabetes in dogs is diabetes mellitus or sugar diabetes. To understand what causes diabetes, we must distinguish between glucose and insulin. Glucose is an essential carbohydrate needed to fuel the cells. Insulin is a hormone that basically breaks down glucose into molecules that will be used by the body as energy. When these two are kept in balance it is all good. But when the dog´s body does not produce insulin or cannot process glucose properly, he will then have excess glucose that goes into the bloodstream.
So diabetes occurs in two forms: insulin-deficiency (when no insulin is produced) and insulin-resistance (insulin is not processing glucose properly).
What are the symptoms of diabetes in dogs?
Let´s split this into two stages of diabetes. On the early stage, the symptoms of diabetes in dogs are:
- Increases urination
- Excess thirst
- Weight loss
- More appetite
When diabetes is more advanced, the symptoms are more pronounced and may include:
If diabetes is not controlled, it can have devastating effects on a dog’s body. Some of the complications that can arise are:
What is the treatment for diabetes?
Diabetes cannot be cured. However, with the proper therapy and treatment, a diabetic dog can lead a normal happy life. The purpose of a diabetes treatment is to keep glucose levels in check. This is done through a special diet that tries to reduce the glucose levels.
Your veterinarian will decide which is the best way to go depending on how advanced your dog´s diabetes is. Usually, your dog will need one or two insulin shots to survive. This combined with the proper diet and constant blood glucose check will prevent complications from arising.