More common in dogs than in cats, diabetes mellitus is a disease of the endocrine system that is increasing due to various risk factors, such as obesity or lack of physical activity. Fortunately, it is controlled by insulin therapy, specific diet, and exercise. In this post, we explain the details.
Diabetes mellitus and insulin
- Diabetes type 1:
Insulin- dependent: there is a lack of insulin ; it is the most common type in diabetic dogs; the pancreas, responsible for the production of insulin, is damaged.
- Type 2 diabetes:
Non-insulin dependent: there is insulin but its functioning is insufficient ; type closely related to obesity.
Both dogs and cats are susceptible to these disorders, although there are differences related to the clinical presentation, diagnosis, or treatment of the disease.
Incidence of canine and feline diabetes
Currently, it is estimated that one in every 500 dogs and one in 200 cats are diabetic . Likewise, it is estimated that canine diabetes tends to appear between 7-9 years of age , with non-sterilized females being the most prone to suffer from it. Some of the canine breeds prone to developing diabetes:
- Miniature schnauzer
- Pug or pug
- Dachshund or dachshunds
- Golden retriever
In cats, diabetes usually appears between 7-8 years . No groups prone to contracting diabetes are detected among felines, although there is a higher incidence among neutered males of all breeds.
Symptoms of diabetes in dogs and cats
Some initial signs in animals with diabetes are usually …
- Exaggerated increase in water consumption
- Urine more abundant than usual
- Excessive appetite
When diabetes is under control, these symptoms usually subside progressively, until they reach normal levels. Over time, some dogs and cats can develop ocular cataracts , an anomaly that can be delayed by being attentive to any changes we observe in our animals and applying the appropriate preventive measures.
Point out that, in the case of cats , the risk of developing cataracts is minimal ; but it can be noticed in certain cases a discoloration of the mucous membranes towards yellowish tints.
Watch out for the drop in sugar
Those who live with a dog or cat, diagnosed with diabetes, must be very careful with hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, the frequent cause of which is usually an overdose of insulin. You can suspect its existence when you see that your dog or cat becomes too voracious with food or feels chills .
Mild, moderate or severe , this is the classification of hypoglycemia, depending on its severit.
- Excessive hunger
- Shaking chills
- Weakness and fatigue
- Moderate hypoglycemia
- Vision disorders
- Lightheadedness, lack of coordination in your movements
- Strange head and neck movements
- Unusual barking
It is essential to attend to our dog or cat in the first and mildest of the hypoglycemic phases , to prevent the disorder from progressing towards the most dangerous. In these cases, the first thing to do is to achieve a safe glucose level , through food intake and, at the same time, it is essential to call the vet .
Diagnosis and treatment
The vet will be able to confirm diabetes by means of separate urine and blood tests. Based on the results, he will prescribe the most appropriate treatment for your dog or cat.
Insulin, moderate exercise and diet are the great allies in this fight to regulate glucose levels in the blood of our animals.
There are cases where the veterinarian prescribes the use of insulin , administered by syringe, via subcutaneous ; or you can opt for an oral treatment.
- Moderate exercise
To burn excess glucose, nothing better than physical activity . It’s what doctors should think about when they recommend moderate exercise. And it is that this tactic works in a similar way to how insulin does, that is, by burning glucose. If we ensure that our animals do moderate exercise , on a regular basis, we will also be helping them to prevent or combat obesity and to strengthen their bone and muscle health.
When we say moderate exercise, we do not do it in vain. Keep in mind that excessive exercise can also cause hypoglycemia in your furry ones , which is precisely what is intended to be avoided.
If diet control is essential in canine and feline diabetes , even more so if our animals suffer from obesity . Doctors agree when recommending the inclusion of fiber in the diet ; likewise, they emphasize that the diet should be low in calories and fat .
Fortunately, today there are balanced feed (for diabetic dogs or that helps control diabetes in cats ) for the type of ailment that concerns us and that frees us from the task of having to prepare a balanced diet at home in the correct way.
If you want to avoid sudden changes in glucose level of your animals, just as important, is also regularity in feeding , so it is advisable to put food – always the same amount – every twelve hours to the dog or cat with this disorder, before administering insulin.
As you can guess, snacking between hours is not recommended at all. In any case, if you have to give some reward your furry, look that is in line with the specific diet to control diabetes.