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Diabetes in Dogs- Symptoms, Causes and Treatments

 09/12/2018

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Diabetes is a life-threatening disease in dogs which is normally caused due to the body’s inability to produce the hormone insulin. Any injury or malfunction in the pancreas can lead to variation in insulin levels in the body. Reason being, it is the sole organ responsible for the production of insulin in the pet’s body. So what exactly insulin does to the body? Read On.

What Is The Role Of Insulin In Diabetes?

Well, it all comes down to the pet’s food. When a dog eats food, it is digested by the stomach and the energy i.e. ‘glucose’ produced thereafter is thus transferred to all parts of the body to maintain various bodily functions. This means glucose acts as a fuel for the body. But for glucose to reach to the cells of the body, it needs Insulin. Insulin is thus a key component that is required for the transfer of glucose to the entire body. When the insulin production by the body is nil or insufficient, this glucose starts building up in the bloodstream which causes a condition called hyperglycemia.  This eventually leads to diabetes in dogs and humans.

So Is There A Variation In The Types Of Diabetes As Well? Yes!

Types of Diabetes Found In Dogs

There are generally two types of diabetes that occur in dogs, classified as Type 1 and Type 2. The most common one found in dogs is Type 1 and is more dangerous than Type 2.  How? Read on.

Differentiation between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes in dogs

Where type 2 occurs due to impairment of the body tissue to trigger insulin adequately in the body as a response of excess carbohydrate consumption or obesity, type 1 is caused due to the failure of the pancreas to produce insulin at all. And because insulin acts as a key to distribute glucose to the entire body, lack of it causes extreme lethargy and organ failure. And the victim has to be on Insulin shots for his lifetime. Moreover, Type 2 can be controlled by dietary and lifestyle changes, whereas, Type 1 cannot be cured at all. It can only be prevented.

Signs of Diabetes in Dogs

  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Frequent Urination
  • Vomiting
  • Weight Loss
  • Excessive Thirst
  • Change In Appetite
  • Dehydration
  • Vomiting
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Skin Infections

What Can Trigger Diabetes in Dogs?

Some of the known risk factors that cause diabetes in dogs are –

  • Obesity
  • Inflammation
  • Toxins
  • Breed More Prone To Having Diabetes (Australian Terriers, German Shepherd, Cairn Terrier, Poodle, Beagle)
  • Auto-immunity
  • Vaccination
  • Diet
  • Pancreatitis

Diagnosis and Treatment for Diabetes in Dogs

 On the basis of the symptoms, physical examination, and urinalysis, diabetes can be controlled by intensive care and dietary changes. A diabetic dog is usually prescribed with a high-fiber diet. When the insulin production by the body is almost negligible, insulin shots are given to the diabetic dog to help maintain optimum glucose levels in the body.

How to Prevent Diabetes in Dogs?

Though type 1 diabetes that occurs in pups is usually inherited and are most common in some breeds, intensive control measures can help improve the quality of their life.

In older pets, however, pet owners can definitely put extra efforts in preventing diabetes. Here are the most effective ways you can prevent, manage and reduce the symptoms:

  • Keep your dog active as this will keep his sugar levels regulated.
  • Spay the females. This is necessary because the progesterone levels increase drastically after delivering a pup or completion of the heat cycle. This surge in the hormone levels increases the risk of developing diabetes.
  • Buy quality products for your dog, purchase reliable treatments and do not overfeed your dog. Be it treats or staple food.
  • Increase his consumption of natural fiber-rich fruits and vegetables.
  • Treat any ailment in dogs on time.  
  • Do not give processed food.
  • Maintain optimum weight of the pet.
  • Keep your dog stress-free.
  • Remove starchy and sugary foods from his diet.

With a healthy lifestyle and proper treatments, diabetes risk reduces multifold which is why it is important not just for humans but for dogs as well that portion control and well-balanced natural diet is promoted.

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