Diabetes isn’t a disease that happens only in humans; our beloved pets can contract it too. Although it can be an unfortunate thing if your pet has contracted it, it’s not totally bad news as there are ways that you can manage the condition and make the situation a bit less uncomfortable for your pet.
The first thing on your to-do list is to educate yourself about the disease. This way, you can inform yourself about what you need to as the owner to help your pet live with his condition. You can also prepare and equip yourself better when it comes to handling the difficulties that are sure to come along in the long run.
Diabetes mellitus is a specific type of diabetes that occurs most often in dogs. It’s categorized as a metabolism disorder in that it affects how your dog’s body converts the food it digests into energy. This is a process that involves the interplay of two important elements: glucose and insulin. Diabetes happens when that connected between glucose and insulin isn’t working. Diabetes in dogs happens in two forms: (1) insulin-deficiency diabetes, or when the body isn’t producing a sufficient amount of insulin, and (2) insulin-resistance diabetes, when there is enough insulin but the body isn’t using it as it should.
Causes of Diabetes
The following factors can be the potential causes for diabetes in dogs:
• Age – Older dogs, specifically middle-aged to senior dogs, are more at risk of developing diabetes.
• Gender – Unspayed female dogs are more likely to get diagnosed with diabetes compared to male dogs.
• Chronic Pancreatitis – Dogs who have had previous diagnoses of chronic pancreatitis are also at risk, as the repeated inflammation of the pancreas (which is what pancreatitis is) can cause long-term damage and thus make your dog more vulnerable to the disease.
• Steroid Overexposure – Constant and long-term exposure to steroid medication can also make your dog more at risk. The condition Cushing’s disease, when there is an internal overproduction of steroids by the body, also makes your dog vulnerable.
• Genetics – Diabetes can occur in any breed, whether pure or mixed. However, there are specific breeds that are more susceptible, such as Dachshunds, Pugs, Poodles, Fox Terriers, Beagles, and Bichons Frises.
Symptoms of Diabetes
Diabetes in your pet can be made more manageable if you are able to notice the signs and symptoms early on. Take notice of the following:
• Constant Thirst – Your dog drinks water more often than usual and frequently empties his water bowl.
• Excessive Urination – When your pet exhibits a need to urinate more often than before and starts having frequent “accidents” inside the house, that’s his body’s way of trying to eliminate excess sugar through urine.
• Weight Loss – If your dog starts to lose weight despite still eating his normal portions, it’s an indication that his body is not converting the nutrients from the food he eats into energy, thus signifying a problem with his metabolism.
• Increased Appetite – If your dog’s appetite is also getting more voracious than usual, it’s another sign that his cells are suffering from an insufficiency in glucose.
Treatment of Diabetes
While there is no known cure for diabetes and your dog will sadly never totally get back to normal, there is a way that you can make adjustments to his lifestyle to make his daily life more comfortable for him:
• Diet – You will need to consult with your dog’s veterinarian as to the best kind of diet for your diabetic pet. On the whole, his vet will recommend lots of protein, fiber, and complex carbohydrates in his daily diet.
• Injections – This is one essential thing that your diabetic dog will have to learn to live with—having shots of insulin injected under his skin for every day of his life. It might be a bit difficult trying to introduce this routine to your dog, but in time, your pet will get used to it.
• Exercise – Just because your dog is sick doesn’t mean he should live the rest of his life indoors. Even as a diabetic, he will need to make exercise an important part of his daily routine. Take him on daily walks outside your neighborhoods. On such walks, it’s crucial that you install a reliable GPS pet tracker like Trackidog on his collar. This way, even if he wanders away from you or you lose sight of him for a moment, you can instantly determine his exact whereabouts so you can recover him right away.