It is very surprising to many people that our pets can be subjected to the same chronic illnesses as us. Diabetes is a disease commonly seen in both cats and dogs, usually older or pregnant animals. It is also very common for pet owners to feel frustrated or overwhelmed during diagnosis, out of fear that they may lose their cherished companion. There is no need to panic because if caught in time, and with proper food and exercise, diabetes is totally manageable! There is a lot for pet owners to consider when trying to maintain a normal life for their pets with diabetes. As we dive into all there is to know about diabetes, hopefully, you will feel more confident and more prepared in providing the best care for your diabetic animal.
Does My Animal Have Diabetes?
Before we go into diagnosing your animal, let’s discuss what this chronic illness is and how it affects the body. Diabetes occurs when the body produces little to no insulin or has an abnormal reaction to insulin which affects the body’s glucose concentration levels. It is important to understand that your animal may be affected by one of three different types of diabetes; Diabetes Mellitus, Diabetes Insipidus, or Diabetes Ketoacidosis. Diabetes mellitus occurs when the body stops producing insulin or cannot produce enough. Diabetes insipidus, also known as water diabetes, happens when the kidneys are not able to regulate fluids. Finally, diabetes ketoacidosis occurs when there is not enough glucose being delivered to the cells in order for them produce energy, and the body tries to overcompensate by breaking down ketones and fatty acids from muscles and fat. Diabetes insipidus is the most common amongst the three.
Everyone is affected by diabetes differently, meaning the symptoms are not always expressed the same either. This is why it is very important to know those varying symptoms of diabetes to be able to catch it early in your pet. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, symptoms include:
- Excessive water drinking
- Excessive urination
- Increased or Decreased appetite
- Weight loss
- Cloudy eyes
- Increased Infection
If you feel that your animal is experiencing any of these symptoms, it is best to have them properly diagnosed at an animal clinic. Your vet may take blood and urine samples for testing to confirm that your animal has diabetes.
Keeping it Under Control
Once your animal is tested and diagnosed with diabetes, do not panic; your vet will equip you with all the tips and proper medication you will need to treat them. The most effective way to manage their diabetes is to constantly check their blood glucose levels with either blood strips or a glucometer. This can be done at home or at a clinic. Your animal will also more than likely be put on veterinary insulin as well.
Although some animals are predisposed to diabetes due to genetics, gender, or medication history, obesity plays a factor as well. Proper eating and exercise can help keep glucose levels stable. It is recommended that dogs be fed a diet high in fiber with daily exercise. For cats, their diet should be high in protein and low in fiber, with some sort of daily exercise. Another essential tool is to have them on a consistent eating schedule every day so that you are able to check their glucose levels and dose their insulin the same times every day. Consistency is key in managing diabetic patients.
Here at Oceanside Veterinary Clinic, we understand and believe that disease does not mean death; it just means that we have to take efforts to improve the quality of your pet’s life. We can provide you with any diabetes-related tips but also services and treatments if you are looking for a vet home. We are here to ensure that your pet has its greatest years ahead of them!