Diabetes is a life-long condition that occurs when the body’s mechanisms fail to produce or absorb insulin needed by the muscles and the organs. This disorder in the production and absorption of insulin would cause the level of glucose in the blood to rise, which may result in many different adverse health reactions. There are two types of diabetes – Type 1 diabetes or the shortage of insulin in the body, or Type 2 diabetes or the body’s failure to convert glucose into energy.
Humans are not the only one at great risk of developing diabetes. Studies suggest approximately 1 in 400 or 500 dogs suffer from diabetes, which may significantly reduce their quality of life and may even lead to fatality when left undetected and untreated. As such, we at Rosy and Rocky would like to get you informed of what you should know about canine diabetes, its symptoms, causes, risk factors, and what to expect from vet visits.
Symptoms of canine diabetes
Depending on its severity, canine diabetes is characterized with one or more of these signs and symptoms:
- Excessive thirst
- Frequent urination
- Frequent hunger
- Unexplained weight loss
- Weakness, sleepiness, depression
- In some cases, anorexia
- If left untreated, canine diabetes may cause severe symptoms that can be debilitating and might even be life-threatening at times. These advanced symptoms may include:
- Bladder infection
- Kidney failure (due to too much blood glucose being filtered by the kidneys)
- Enlarged liver
What causes diabetes in dogs?
Diabetes occurs when there is not much insulin in the body to metabolize glucose, protein and fat. Insulin shortage might be due to underlying medical conditions, such as pancreatitis (the inflammation of insulin-producing organ pancreas). In some cases, diabetes can also be a result of the body’s failure to utilize insulin in converting these sugars into energy. Underlying medical conditions, such as hormonal imbalance, liver failure, and immune system disorders might all cause the body not to convert glucose into energy.
Apart from these underlying medical conditions, some dog types have autosomal patterns that contain the propensity to develop diabetes. These dog breeds that are prone to canine diabetes are:
- Cairn terrier
- Miniature Schnauzer
It is important to seek veterinary help if you notice any signs and symptoms of diabetes and if you think that your dog has a higher risk of diabetes.
What to expect during canine diabetes check-up
Because diabetes among dogs is characterized with abnormally high glucose in the bloodstream and in the urine, it is easily detectable through a complete blood count, urinalysis, and chemical profile. Apart from abnormally high levels of glucose in the body, other irregularities may also be found during these tests, such as abnormal levels of ketone bodies, plasma, and hemoglobin in the blood.
After diagnosing diabetes, your vet may perform other examinations to see the severity of the disease. Imaging tests, such as x-rays and ultrasonography, and biopsy may all help in detecting health complications caused by diabetes, such as liver disease, renal failure, gall bladder disease, and kidney stones.