Did you know that many cats and dogs are diabetic? There are 2 types of diabetes - diabetes insipidus and diabetes mellitus. Diabetes mellitus is more common and this is a disease of the pancreas where the blood sugars are very high due to the insulin sensitivity.
Signs and symptoms to look out for when your pet has diabetes include:
- Increased urination
- Increased thirst
- Weight loss
- Increased appetite
- Sweet smelling breath (caused by ketones)
It is important to regularly monitor your pets blood sugar. You can purchase blood glucose monitors such as the
Alphatrak Blood Glucose Starter Kit to continually measure their blood sugar. It is especially crucial to monitor in the beginning stages of their diagnosis as well as if there are any changes made to their diet, medication or treatments.
Although there is no cure for diabetes, we have medication available to allow us to manage our pets disease.
Insulin is the first line treatment for pets with diabetes. This is usually accompanied with diet and lifestyle changes too.
When initially diagnosed, finding the perfect insulin dose is one of the hardest jobs - with most of it coming down to trial and error and continued monitoring and tracking of your pet's blood sugar levels. Too high a dose of insulin can cause hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar) and too high a dose can cause hyperglycaemia (high blood sugar).
Insulin is a type of medication that needs to be injected into your pet. This can be a daunting task, and it does take time for you and your pet to get used to - but keep in mind it does get easier over time. There are multiple ways to inject your pet including pens and syringes. You should speak to your vet about the most suitable way for you and your pet and keep in mind the costs associated with them as you do need to factor in costs of the medication, needles, monitor, strips and lancets too.
It is crucial to monitor the following factors when your pet has diabetes:
- Blood glucose
- Food intake
- Water intake
- Urine volume
- Urine testing (in some cases)
There are special prescription foods available to assist you with managing your cat or dogs diabetes. These include but are not limited to Royal Canin Diabetic, Hill's M/D Glucose/Weight Management, Hill's Metabolic and Hill's Digestive/Weight/Glucose Management. Your vet will advise what food they determine is suitable for your pet and prescription foods should always be given upon recommendation of the vet.
If you suspect you pet may have diabetes, ensure you treat this with a matter or urgency and go to the vet to have it diagnosed.