November is the National Pet Diabetes Awareness Month. It’s an offshoot of the National Diabetes Month for us humans because we need to be aware that this disease affects our pets too. It is the most opportune time for us to learn how this disease can affect our pets. Yes, our pets can acquire this dreaded disease and prevention is always better than cure.
What is diabetes?
Diabetes or diabetes mellitus is a disease that happens when blood glucose (or blood sugar) in the body is too high. Insulin is produced in the pancreas and helps the glucose from the food to get into the cells so it can be used for or expended as energy. Lack of insulin or its absence causes diabetes.
Diabetes in pets
In an article from the American Veterinary Medical Association, “diabetes in dogs and cats can occur at any age. However, diabetic dogs are usually 4-14 years of age and most are diagnosed at roughly 7-10 years of age. Most diabetic cats are older than 6 years of age. Diabetes occurs in female dogs twice as often as male dogs. Certain breeds of dogs may be predisposed to diabetes.” These dog breeds predisposed to diabetes are toy poodles, terriers, cocker spaniels, dachshunds, Doberman pinschers, German shepherds, Labrador retrievers, and golden retrievers.
Signs to watch out for
Here are some of the signs you have to watch out for if you suspect that your pets may have diabetes:
- Drinks lots of water
- Increased urination
- Weight loss
- Always hungry
- Cloudy eyes (especially in dogs)
- Coat deterioration (especially in cats)
- Sleeps more or is less active
- Chronic or recurring infections (including skin infections and urinary infections)
If you observe any of these, consult your veterinarian.
Diabetes-related complications in pets
Having a very high blood sugar can lead to many health problems for our pets. Mypet.com identified some of the diabetes-related complications for our pets: in dogs, these are hypoglycemia, ketoacidosis, and cataracts. In cats, hypoglycemia, chronic pancreatitis, dry coat, recurrent infections, ketoacidosis, peripheral neuropathy.
When glucose is found in your pet’s urine or blood after tests have been done, the diagnosis of diabetes becomes definite. The vet will also check your pet’s general health status to rule out other diseases and infections.
Diabetes has no cure but it can be managed. It can be controlled by giving insulin to your pets as per your vet’s directions, diet, and exercise. Sparing them from the disease means that from the start, you have to give them proper exercise, diet, and pet food that is healthy and nutritious.
Addiction Foods have been at the forefront of giving the right, balanced diet for both dogs and cats. We also have vegetarian dog food for hypersensitive dogs, Zen Vegetarian. Check out our other Addiction pet food products that may suit your pet’s nutritional needs.
Addiction Foods pet foods are available from your local store.
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