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Pets With Diabetes

Updated on August 28, 2012

Pets and Diabetes

As an animal owner there are many potential health issues that you may worry about. Often these concerns will focus around your pet being injured in an accident or sustaining damage due to some other external influence rather than developing a disease. Today we are going to inform you about diabetes and what it can mean for you and your pet should they develop it.

Insulin is a hormone that needs to be present in order for glucose in the blood to enter the cells of the body giving them energy. Diabetes is when a pet cannot produce insulin or the body does not allow them to use insulin properly. There are two types of this disease and they are known as type 1 and type 2.

Type 1

This is occurs when the pancreas does not produce any insulin. The lack of insulin means that the cells cannot absorb any glucose which in turn means there is a high amount of glucose in the blood.

Type 2

This surfaces when the insulin that is produced by the pancreas is less efficient at moving glucose out of the blood and into the cells. Some of the glucose is absorbed, just not as effectively as a pet with normal insulin efficiency; again, causing a high level of glucose to remain in the blood.

There are a number of signs that can indicate your pet may have diabetes. Urinating and drinking much more frequently are both key symptoms. The kidney has a ‘glucose threshold’ which means that when there is too much glucose present in the blood it exceeds this threshold and is excreted through urine. This increase in urination leads to extra bodily fluids being lost and so causes your pet to drink more. Another sign is if your pet’s appetite increases dramatically but he or she is noticeably losing weight. This happens due to the loss of glucose, which is an important source of energy for your animal’s body. Lethargy can also be a signifier of the onset of diabetes as can a poor condition of coat (more specifically with cats).

The treatment for this disease (both types) usually comes in the form of insulin injections. Once your pet has been diagnosed; your vet will give you help and advice on how to administer the injections and at what frequency and dosage. For the first few treatments you may have to go back to the vet in order for him to check your cat or dog’s blood and urine levels. During these visits you will learn how to obtain the samples and make the readings yourself.

Managing your pet’s diabetes is very important. It is not unusual for his or her insulin requirements to change due to a weight loss or gain, change of exercise regime or indeed the presence of another disease. Regularly checking the glucose levels of your pet’s urine and/or blood samples will help the vet to determine if the insulin being dispensed is the right amount.

Nutrition is critical when managing your cat or dog’s diabetes. This is because after a meal is digested glucose is released in to the bloodstream. The type of food that your animal eats will have an adverse effect; a meal full of sugar will cause a sudden increase of glucose in the blood whereas a meal full of high complex carbohydrates (such as fibre) will gradually release the glucose in to the bloodstream over a longer period of time.

Diabetes is a disease that can and usually does last the lifetime of a pet once it has developed. To reduce the risk of not being covered for those years ahead should your pet develop this affliction, it is a good idea to take out a lifetime pet insurance policy.

To see our lifetime policies and more, head to our website For every pet insurance quote we make online we’ll donate 50p to an animal charity with the goal of donating a million pound to animal charities by the end of 2012.

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