Does your dog or cat seem to drink a lot of water? Do they urinate more than average? Do they seem more sluggish than normal? Diabetes in cats and dogs is more common than you might think. Read on to learn about the symptoms and effects of this illness — and how to handle it.
Diabetes in Pets
Diabetes in cats and dogs is just like diabetes in humans: the pet’s pancreas can’t produce enough insulin to meet the body’s needs, or the pet’s body resists insulin’s effects.
Like humans, animals can have type 1 diabetes (a lifelong condition where the body doesn’t make enough insulin) or type 2 (a condition that develops with age, where the body resists insulin’s effects). In general, most dogs have type 1 diabetes, while cats may have type 1 or type 2.
Diabetes is more common in certain breeds of cats and dogs. It’s also affected by risk factors like obesity, diet and activity level. Some pets may even develop diabetes due to factors like bacterial or viral infections or simply due to age.
Symptoms of pet diabetes include:
- Increased thirst (polydipsia)
- Increased need to urinate (polyuria)
- Change in appetite
- Weight loss
- Sweet-smelling or “fruity” breath
- Cataracts or blindness
- Skin infections
Naturally, these conditions can seriously impact your pet’s lifespan and quality of life. The good news is that when you and your vet catch the disease early, it’s easy to manage.
Diagnosing and Managing a Pet’s Diabetes
If you suspect diabetes may be the cause of your pet’s woes, bring them in to the vet. Your vet will test the pet’s blood and urine. The results will tell you not just if your pet has diabetes but also what the condition’s doing to your pet’s blood cells, liver and other systems.
If your pet has diabetes, your vet will probably prescribe Vetsulin, which is the only FDA-approved form of insulin for dogs and cats. You’ll need to inject your pet regularly with Vetsulin to keep them healthy.
Your vet will instruct you about how to do this, how often and what dosage to use. You may also receive recommendations about diet and activity for your pet. Your vet will also tell you how to perform serum tests to make sure your pet’s blood sugar is in a healthy range.
Finding out your pet has diabetes can be scary. But with a vet’s guidance and a prescription for Vetsulin, you’ll be able to get your pet’s blood sugar under control so they can live a normal, happy, healthy life with you.