An increasing number of dogs with diabetes are arriving at our Windsor hospital. While treatments are available for diabetes in dogs, there is no cure. Today, our vets examine some of the most common symptoms of diabetes in dogs, plus available treatments.
Types of Diabetes in Dogs
Similar to people, there are two types of diabetes in dogs. Though neither of these conditions can be cured, both forms of this chronic illness can be effectively managed.
If your dog's body isn't producing enough insulin due to a poorly functioning or damaged pancreas, this form of diabetes can occur. Insulin-deficient diabetes is the most common type of diabetes in dogs.
When the pancreas is producing some insulin, but a dog's body isn't using the insulin properly, this form of diabetes can occur. Older, obese dogs are more likely to suffer from insulin-resistant diabetes.
Why has my dog developed diabetes?
The cause of diabetes in dogs is unknown however, there are a number of factors which increase your dog's risk of developing diabetes. Dogs most at risk of developing diabetes include:
- Dogs being treated for other conditions with steroid medications
- Dogs suffering from Cushings disease or other autoimmune disorders.
- Unspayed females
- Overweight dogs
What are the symptoms of diabetes in dogs?
Make an appointment to see your vet as soon as possible if your dog is displaying any of the following symptoms of diabetes. Early diagnosis is the key to successfully managing this disease in dogs. The early signs of diabetes in dogs include:
- Frequent urination (polyuria)
- Drinking more water than usual
- Excessive appetite (polyphagia)
- Unexplained weight loss
As the disease becomes more advanced symptoms may become more severe and include:
- Visual impairment / blindness
- Lack of energy
- Joint stiffness / weakness
- Dull coat
How is diabetes in dogs treated?
If your dog is diagnosed with diabetes your vet will prescribe medications and ongoing treatments that will allow you to manage your dog's condition. Ongoing treatment for the disease typically involves:
- Daily insulin shots
- Regular daily exercise to help avoid spikes or sudden drops in glucose levels
- A special, vet-recommended diet
- Close monitoring of your dog for changes in symptoms and overall health
- Regular veterinary examinations
Left untreated, diabetes in dogs can lead to serious and life-threatening side effects such as blindness, enlarged liver, urinary tract infections, seizures, kidney failure and ketoacidosis.
Early diagnosis and treatment are important for successful treatment outcomes. Regular wellness checks at your vet's office once or twice a year can help your vet to spot the early signs of diabetes and begin treatment before the condition becomes more severe.