Diabetes mellitus is a fairly common endocrine disease in dogs and requires lifelong treatment.
It affects older or middle-aged dogs and its prevalence is increasing.
It is estimated that 1 out of every 100 dogs that reach 12 years of age will develop diabetes.
Diabetes mellitus is caused by a problem with the production of a hormone called insulin and as a consequence an alteration of the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and proteins.
The signs are:
Increased thirst, increased urination, increased hunger, weight loss, tiredness, poor coat quality and diabetic dogs may also go on to develop cataracts in their eyes, suffer fits and collapses, and have a range of chronic health issues.
These clinical signs are not enough to diagnose a dog with diabetes so your vet will need to carry out tests to confirm diabetes: a urine test to looks for sugar in urine, a blood test to measure sugar levels in blood and check the status of other organs. The blood test should include fructosamine.
Treatment: As your dog cannot produce their own insulin giving insulin via injection is the only way their blood sugar levels can be managed. Your veterinarian will monitor your dog’s response to insulin treatment and adjust the dose.
This can take weeks or even months and frequent checks will be necessary because the dose of Insulin will need to be readjusted over time. It is important to follow your veterinarian’s instructions on your pet’s diet.
The diet should have a high level of palatability to guarantee spontaneous and regular food consumption, a limited level of starch, Starch sources with a high glycemic index, such as rice and bread, should be avoided. It is better to use cereals whose starch is digested more slowly, which makes it possible to slow down absorption of glucose such as corn, wheat, barley and sorghum.
An important supply of proteins helps to compensate for protein catabolism is recommended.
Exercise is important for pets with diabetes. It can help avoid high blood sugar levels and may improve insulin absorption.
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