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Diabetes in Dogs - Canine Diabetes - Diabetic Dog Help
Diabetes in Dogs
Dogs get their energy by their body breaking down the food that they eat into sugar. The sugar travels through the bloodstream where cells can use the sugar for energy, but if the body does not have proper insulin levels, the cells will have complications when trying to use the sugars from the blood.
The insulin is produced by beta cells in the pancreas; when the sugar levels increase, more insulin is released into the body so that it can attact to the cell surface and allow the sugar to move from the blood to the cells to be converted into energy.
When the pancreas is not producing the proper amounts of insulin, the body cannot use the sugars in the body properly, which in turn causes diabetes, in one form or another, to develop.
Most dogs actually have Type 1 Diabetes, which means that the pancreas is not producing any insulin, which in turn means that the cells cannot use the sugar. In this case, the cells basically starve, while the sugar levels in the blood begin to rise, which causes the brain to tell the dog that he's hungry so that he can eat more in hopes to produce more insulin so that the body can use the sugar for energy, which is what causes increased hunger.
It's really a vicious cycle, and when there is too much sugar in the blood, the dog will begin leak the sugar in his urine, which is why the dog is experiencing increased urination and thirst, as the dog is urinating more making him more thirsty.
All of this aside, you'll find that older dogs and overweight dogs are more prone to developing diabetes. Other factors that can potentially cause canine diabetes can include an infectious virus diseases, immune deficiency, pancreatic infections, steroids and reproductive hormones, and Cushing’s disease.
Signs of Canine Diabetes
The first signs that you may notice is increased hunger, excessive thirst, and excessive urination.
If undiagnosed, your dog will then begin to experience weight loss, as his body is breaking down the fats and proteins in order to produce energy for the body to run properly. The increased hunger will still persist throughout this second stage before diagnosis.
And, if the condition furthers without a diagnosis and course of treatment, your dog will begin to experience lethargy, loss of appetite, depression, and vomiting.
Many dogs with diabetes will have a decreased immune system where the dog is less resistant (IE prone) to bacterial and fungal infections.
Dogs with diabetes can also develop liver and bladder problems, as well as cataracts and associated vision loss. Those that have the cataracts removed have a 75% to 80% chance of regaining sight.
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Canine Diabetes Treatment
Once your vet has diagnosed your dog with diabetes, you will be able to go over the best treatment options for your dog. Typically, the course of treatment is going to be an injection of insulin.
There are different types of insulin that your vet can prescribe, and the type of insulin is determined on what type of diabetes that you dog has and the stage of the diabetes. How many injections of insulin will also vary; some dogs are fine with just one insulin injection, whereas some dogs will require two.
For example, there are short-acting insulin that are effective for 1 to 4 hours; medium-range are effective for about 4 to 24 hours; long-range insulin is effective for about 8 to 28 hours.
For the most part, your vet will probably prescribe the short-range insulin, as they are the most power insulin versions and are great to initially regulating the dog's sugar levels.
Your vet will be able to show you how to inject the insulin into your dog, as this is something that you will need to do. He will also explain proper storage for the insulin.
In addition to the insulin injections, you will also want to be watchful of what your dog eats and the dog's overall lifestyle.
You will want to consult your vet about the best staple diet that you can put your diabetic dog on. Sometimes it's good to switch the dog to a high-fiber, moderate-carbohydrate diet, whereas some dogs need a diet that will reduce the fat intake. You want to control your dog's weight by cutting out table scraps and snacks.
By monitoring your dog's weight, you can help him stay in top shape, which is where regular, daily exercise will also help keep your dog's weight at a healthy level.
You may want to consult with your vet about herbal supplements, as natural ingredients in addition to traditional medicine can potentially benefit your dog's health and reduce the effects of the diabetes.
Remember that early detection can potentially provide your dog with many more years of a quality life. Diabetes is not a death sentence for your dog.
Disclaimer: Please be aware that the advice in this article should in no way replace that of a licensed veterinarian. The methods outlined above may or may not work for your pet. If you have any concerns, you should consult a veterinarian.