Dogs with diabetes need the utmost care and support because it is a disease that every pet owner should be very concerned about. Diabetes mellitus (DM) is a chronic condition in which a deficiency of the hormone insulin harms the body's ability to metabolize sugar. It is one of the most common hormonal diseases for dogs.
There are two types of diabetes mellitus in dogs.
Type I DM occurs when the body does not produce enough insulin. This can be the result of destruction of the cells in the pancreas that normally produce insulin. This form does not produce enough insulin and requires insulin injections to control the disease.
Type II DM occurs when enough insulin is produced but something interferes with its ability to be utilized by the body. Dogs nearly always (99%) have the type I variety.
Diabetes mellitus usually affects middle-aged to older dogs of either sex, however it is most common in female dogs. The peak age seen in dogs is 7 to 9 years. Juvenile-onset diabetes may occur in dogs less than 1 year of age.
• Increased frequency of urination
• Increased thirst
• Weight loss
• Sudden blindness
• Poor body condition
Veterinary care should include diagnostic tests to determine the underlying cause of the elevated blood sugar and help guide subsequent treatment recommendations. Some of these tests include:
• Complete medical history and thorough physical examination.
• Analysis of the urine to check for glucose and for signs of urinary tract infection.
• A complete blood count.
• Serum biochemical profile to determine the blood glucose concentration and to exclude other potential causes of the same symptoms.
• Other tests such as abdominal X-rays or abdominal ultrasound if complications or concurrent diseases.
The treatment for diabetes in dogs is similar to the treatment for diabetes in humans, through diet and insulin therapy.
• Dogs require one or two daily injections of insulin to control blood glucose. These injections are given under the skin using a small needle.
• A high fiber diet, proper weight management and regular exercise can aid in control of DM.
• Prepare for frequent adjustments to therapy early in the course of treatment. Veterinarians prefer to start with a low dose of insulin initially and adjust upwards slowly to avoid overdosing.
• Glucose curves may help your veterinarian determine the best type of insulin, the dosage, and the frequency of insulin administration.
Home Care and Prevention
Once the veterinarian has given you the prescribed medications, including insulin, you will have to at least give insulin twice a day, 12 hours apart and at the same time each day. You should also work with your veterinarian to develop a weight management and feeding plan. Stick to regular feeding times.
Observe your dog's thirst and frequency of urination. If these remain increased, your veterinarian may need to adjust the insulin dosage. While there is no way known to prevent type I DM, proper weight management can reduce the likelihood of your dog developing type II DM.