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Dog diagnosed with diabetes

Updated on December 8, 2008

More and more dogs are diagnosed every day


When diabetes strikes man's best friend it often leaves its owners and others in shock. Many people are unaware that pets can get diabetes just as in humans. When a pet is diagnosed with diabetes the owners perceives this almost as a death sentence. They imagine premature death or years of suffering to come.

But it does not have to be this way. Veterinary care advancements have permitted this disease to become manageable just as in humans. Dogs with diabetes are often granted good quality of life and many happy years to come.

A good outcome is most likely if you are an observant owner and know what KEY symptoms may suggest the beginning of diabetes.

It appears that diabetes mostly occurs in middle-aged/senior dogs. The average age in which the disease strikes is about 8 years or up. Females appear to be the most affected.

Younger dogs are not excluded since forms of juvenile diabetes may affect dogs under 1 year old. Obese dogs with a low exercise program seem to be more susceptible.

Diagnostically,the first thing to keep in mind is that the first signs of diabetes may be pretty subtle. Do not hesitate to take your dog to the vet if he/she is just not acting right.

Increased thirst, medically known as polydypsia, is a common sign. This symptom often is underestimated since many owners blame it to hot weather, dry winter air, or increased activity.

What goes in generally comes out, thus increased urination (medically known as polydypsia) will consequently develop. Your dog may ask out more frequently and may even have accidents in the house.

The dog will mantain a good appetite but if the owner keeps good track of weight records he/she will notice that despite good food intake there is weight loss.

A poor coat is a visible sign of diabetes. Fur will have lost its healthy glow and appear dull.

Lethargy is the symptom that alerts the owner the most and brings to a scheduled vet visit. The dog will not be its active self, may lay around more often and appear to have lost interest in its surroundings.

Sudden blindness may occur at later stages. The owner will notice that the dog suddenly starts bumping into furniture or walls. Earlier, the dog may have developed cataracts, a loss of transparency with the appearance of crushed ice particles in the eye.

Cataracts may develop in one or both eyes. This occurs because of excess sugars accumulating in the lens of the eye. The only way to get rid of cataracts is cataract surgery. This could end up being pretty expensive.

Diabetic neuropathology may appear as well in advanced stages, the owner may notice that the dog develops unexplained weakness in the rear legs. Some people may beleieve this is part of normal aging.

Generalized malaise is common, as the dog becomes more prone to infections.

Ketoacidosis is a diabetic complication indicating sugar levels have skyrocketed. This condition requires immediate hospitalization. The dog will exhibit sudden lethargy, reluctance to eat and drink, and in some cases vomit.

The normal blood glucose level in dogs is between 80 and 120. All it takes to diagnose diabetes is a simple blood test and urinalysis.

Please do not hesitate to have your dog seen by a vet if it develops any unexplained symptoms. In some cases, if caught early enough, weight loss along with a good exercise program and diet may suffice. In other cases, careful glucose monitoring requiring several days at the hospital are necessary along with insulin injections.

Dog diabetes can be pretty manageable to treat nowadays, there are accurate diagnostic tests and treatments that grant good quality of life, however, it appears that the attentive, loving, informed and caring owner is the one that plays the key role in preventing the disease from progressing and keeping it to its manageable levels.


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