Diabetes can affect your furry best friend too. November is Pet Diabetes Month for Dogs and Cats. It’s a month to help educate pet owners about the symptoms, treatments, and management of diabetes in our furry friends.
Signs of the disease can be difficult to spot, and can even be mistaken as symptoms of other conditions, such as hypothyroidism or kidney disease. The symptoms of diabetes in your Dog or Cat include the following:
- Excessive Urination. When your pet has a high concentration of glucose in their blood, their kidneys must work harder to process it. When the kidneys become overwhelmed, the excess glucose is excreted into the urine. You might notice your dog or cat is urinating more frequently or is having accidents in the house.
- Increased water intake.Increased urination will in turn cause an increase in thirst, so you might also notice your pet emptying his water dish more often.
Animals exhibiting these signs should see a veterinarian immediately; failure to treat diabetes in pets can lead to some devastating and life-threatening health issues.
- Increased appetite. Another symptom you might notice is increased appetite. Your pet will be hungrier because the amino acids needed inside the cells aren’t getting there, or aren’t being used appropriately.
- Sudden weight loss can sometimes be a good indicator that a dog or cat may have diabetes. When the cells of your pet’s body are being starved of essential nutrients, the result is often an increase in appetite. But because the energy from food is not being used efficiently by the body’s cells, your pet can lose weight even though he’s taking in more calories.
- Tiredness and lack of energy.Dogs and cats with diabetes usually sleep more, and are more lethargic during the day. When the cells of your pet’s body are deprived of blood sugar, he will often exhibit a general lack of desire to run, take a walk with you, or engage in play.
- Vision problems.Another symptom of diabetes in companion animals is blindness, which is seen primarily in dogs, but cats can also develop blindness as a result of diabetic cataracts.
- Urinary tract infections.It’s not at all uncommon for diabetic dogs and cats to acquire secondary urinary tract infections. This happens because the more sugar there is in the urine, the greater the likelihood that bacteria will grow in your pet’s bladder.
- Kidney failure.Especially in cats, is also a common secondary symptom of diabetes. Often the first diagnosis for a diabetic kitty is chronic renal insufficiency or acute kidney problems. The sugar that is meant to be retained in your pet’s bloodstream but spills over into the urine.
Which Pets Are At Risk For Diabetes?
Some of the common risk factors include:
In the past 3 decades alone, the prevalence of diabetes mellitus in dogs and cats ranges from between 1 in 1,001 pets to 1 in 500 pets. One in every 500 dogs and one in 200 cats develops diabetes. Certain breeds are predisposed to the condition, for example Samoyeds, Australian Terriers, Schnauzers, Toy Poodles and Burmese cats.
Left untreated, diabetes can lead to liver dysfunction and a life-threatening condition called ketoacidosis. A diabetic pet that is vomiting or disoriented should be evaluated immediately. Without aggressive treatment, diabetic ketoacidosis can lead to brain swelling, kidney failure, pancreatitis, and rapid death.
Spread the word about Pet Diabetes Month in November and help other pet parents make informed decisions about pet diabetes.