Our Rabun County vets are seeing increasing numbers of dogs with diabetes. While treatments are available for diabetes in dogs, there is no cure. Today, we look at some of the most common symptoms of diabetes in dogs, and the available treatments.
Types of Diabetes in Dogs
As with people, there are two types of diabetes in dogs. Neither of these conditions can be cured, however, both forms of this chronic illness can be managed effectively.
This type of diabetes occurs when the dog's body does not produce enough insulin as a result of a damaged or malfunctioning pancreas. The most common type of diabetes in dogs is insulin-deficient diabetes.
This form of diabetes occurs when the pancreas is producing some insulin, but the dog’s body isn’t utilizing the insulin properly. Insulin-resistant diabetes is common in older, obese dogs.
Why has my dog developed diabetes?
The cause of diabetes in dogs is unknown however, several factors increase your dog's risk of developing diabetes. Dogs most at risk of developing diabetes include:
- Dogs being treated for other conditions with steroid medications
- Dogs suffering from Cushing's disease or other autoimmune disorders.
- Unspayed females
- Overweight dogs
What are the symptoms of diabetes in dogs?
If your dog is exhibiting any of the following diabetes symptoms, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as possible. The key to successfully managing this disease in dogs is early detection. Diabetes in dogs manifests itself in the following ways:
- Frequent urination (polyuria)
- Drinking more water than usual
- Excessive appetite (polyphagia)
- Unexplained weight loss
As the disease becomes more advanced symptoms may become more severe and include:
- Visual impairment/blindness
- Lack of energy
- Joint stiffness/weakness
- Dull coat
How is diabetes in dogs treated?
If your dog is diagnosed with diabetes your vet will prescribe medications and ongoing treatments that will allow you to manage your dog's condition. Ongoing treatment for diabetes in dogs typically involves:
- Daily insulin shots
- Regular daily exercise to help avoid spikes or sudden drops in glucose levels
- A special, vet-recommended diet
- Close monitoring of your dog for changes in symptoms and overall health
- Regular veterinary examinations
Left untreated, diabetes in dogs can lead to serious and life-threatening side effects such as blindness, enlarged liver, urinary tract infections, seizures, kidney failure, and ketoacidosis.
Early detection and treatment are critical for successful treatment outcomes. Regular wellness checks at your veterinarian's office once or twice a year can help your veterinarian detect early signs of diabetes and begin treatment before the condition worsens.