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Diabetes in dogs

Updated on February 7, 2013

Diabetes is an affliction of more than 20 million Americans. This serious disease can result to blindness, amputation and even to the death of the affected person. Diabetes is a disease of canines too and owners should be very concerned with the condition of the pet as depending on the care given, the dog can live a normal life or the disease can result to blindness and even to the death of the dog.

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Types of diabetes

There are two types of diabetes. Diabetes mellitus which is the most common is characterized by a deficiency in insulin. This condition arises if the dog’s body is prevented by an illness or by a condition to metabolize sugar. Another type is diabetes insipidus which results from an antidiuretic hormone deficiency.

Symptoms of canine diabetes

Excessive hunger, excessive thirst and excessive urination are the most common symptoms of diabetes. Dogs are voracious eaters. These animals have the propensity to drink water when the weather is hot or after a strenuous activity. But a diabetic dog would require the owner to fill the water bowl repeatedly resulting to excessive urination. A diabetic dog would be lethargic and less inclined to do its usual activities. The most telltale sign is the dog’s sweet breath. Dog owners would be accustomed to the less than appealing breath of the pet thus a sweet breath will be noticed immediately. The dog would steadily lose weight as the disease progresses.

Canine diabetic complications

Due to the abnormal flow of blood, the pet can suffer from circulatory complications that could lead to a variety of illnesses.  The dog can develop heart ailment. High blood sugar levels would cause the development of cataracts.

Diagnosis and treatment

A thorough physical examination and a series of lab tests will be done to determine the blood glucose level. Regular monitoring will be necessary once the dog is diagnosed to have diabetes. First off is to ensure that the dog is provided with a diet specifically prescribed for diabetics. Some foods will worsen the dog’s condition while other foods would be essential to help maintain the normal glucose level. Due to the regulated diet, a dog may need to have insulin injections. Insulin will keep the glucose level under control but when not administered properly, it can result to the death of the pet.

Caring for the pet

As with any other kind of disease, prevention is much better than cure. Diabetes can be prevented. The estrogen level of an intact dog can have an adverse effect on the production of insulin thus if there are no breeding plans, having the pet spayed would be a good idea. Keep the pet’s weigh under control with a diet that is low in fat but high in fiber. Regular exercise would help keep normal glucose level.

Diabetes in Dogs

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      6 years ago

      Overweight dogs is one of the biggest causes these days. As many as 1 in 20 according to what I have read are obese and therefore at risk of diabetes. It is what gave me the idea of developing a glycohemoglobin test for dogs and cat at my company (baycom diagonostics)

    • dBrian profile image


      6 years ago

      Lots of good information a lot of people I know have dogs with diabetes it must be pretty common.


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