Dog diabetes is about more than blood sugar and a better diet. There's a lot at play with K-9 diabetes and our goal is to help you understand what K-9 diabetes is, how you can treat it and what other problems are associated with it.
The ultimate goal is to help you give your dog the best health possible!
Diabetes Mellitus or “sugar diabetes” is a serious disease that can be terrible news for your dog if it’s not treated so the first step is understanding what symptoms to look for.
What is Diabetes in Dogs?
Diabetes is a metabolism disorder, where the word metabolism means how the body converts food into energy.
To understand what happens when your dog eats food let’s look at two of the processes that go on in your dog’s body when he eats.
Glucose is life energy! When your dog (or you) eats food some of that food is broken down by the body to make glucose. Glucose is a type of sugar that is needed by cells and organs.
Glucose is absorbed from the intestines into the blood where it travels throughout your dog’s body and is delivered to those cells and organs where it’s needed.
Insulin is a hormone that’s produced by the pancreas, and it tells those cells to get the glucose from the blood where and when it’s needed.
The Problem With Diabetes in Dogs
When the process between insulin and glucose goes haywire, diabetes is the outcome. Dogs can develop or are born with one of two types of diabetes.
Insulin Deficient Diabetes:
This is the most common type of diabetes in dogs and explains why it can’t be cured or prevented in many cases. When your dog has insulin deficient diabetes it means that a problem with the pancreas leads to the body not producing enough insulin.
Insulin Resistance Diabetes:
This type of diabetes in dogs is less common and usually happens in older or obese dogs. With insulin resistance, the pancreas is making insulin, but not enough. Also, the cells don’t properly get the “message” from the insulin so they fail to grab those needed nutrients out of the blood stream.
If your dog is acting differently than he or she normally does, here are some of the symptoms of diabetes that you can look for. Early detection and treatment of diabetes is key for dogs, so look for the following.
How Can You Tell if a Dog is Diabetic?
Your dog can be fine one day and show symptoms of diabetes the next. It’s important to pay close attention to your dog’s habits and mannerisms so that you can easily spot any change in behavior.
If you see any of the following changes in behavior by your dog, get him/her to a vet to check for diabetes as quickly as possible. A dog can die from diabetes in a short time so catching it early is the most important thing you can do.
Overly Thirsty Dog - If you notice your dog is drinking a lot more water than normal this is one of the hallmark signs of diabetes and should be taken seriously.
Peeing a Lot - If your dog is going to the bathroom a lot or having accidents in the house this could be a sign of diabetes. Diabetes makes your dog more thirsty, so naturally he’ll have to use the bathroom more often.
Weight Loss - One of the most common signs of diabetes in your dog is if you see he or she is losing a lot of weight. If his feeding habits haven’t changed but you are noticing weight loss it could be a sign of diabetes. If you think this is the case or if you just want to be safe, take your dog into his / her vet to find out for sure.
Increased Hunger - Diabetes messes up your dog’s ability to get glucose from the food he eats. So no matter how much he eats, he’s not getting the food energy that a healthy, non-diabetic dog would get.
This increased hunger is the only way his little body knows to try and get that glucose from his food...by eating more of it.
"Canine diabetes has increased by 79.7 percent since 2006, while, in felines, the prevalence of diabetes has increased 18.1 percent over the same time frame."
Can You Reverse Diabetes in Dogs?
Because a majority of dogs develop Type-1 diabetes (not producing insulin) that means that there is no way to reverse the disease.
But not to worry, because your dog can live a happy and healthy life with insulin injections or other medications that your vet will recommend and prescribe.
Humans can get diabetes type 1 or type 2 just like dogs. Since more people are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, it can oftentimes be maintained or even reversed with proper diet.
For dogs though, the most common diagnosis is diabetes type 1 so the only way to treat is with medications...usually insulin shots.
How Can I Prevent My Dog From Getting Diabetes?
Because most dogs develop Type-1 diabetes and its trademark is not enough, or no insulin being produced there is no way to prevent a majority of dogs from getting it.
If you have an older dog make sure he or she gets plenty of exercise and eats a low or no carb diet to give his body the best chance of staying healthy and warding off diabetes.
Which Dog Breeds are Most at Risk for Diabetes
Any breed of dog can develop diabetes. But some breeds are a bit more likely to get it. Here’s a short list of the breeds that develop diabetes most often.
What Health Issues Does Diabetes in Dogs Most Often Cause?
As with most diseases or conditions the problem isn’t with the disease itself but the health conditions that it causes. The best way to keep your dog healthy is to look for early signs of diabetes and get him to a vet quickly if you suspect that your dog might have the disease.
Some of the more common effects of diabetes in dogs can come in the form of the following forms.
Urinary tract infections
Risk Factors for Dog Diabetes:
Age - Any age dog can develop diabetes, but the most common age group to develop the disease are middle aged or senior dogs. Most dogs 5 years old or more when diagnosed with K9 diabetes
Gender - Unspayed dogs are two times more likely to develop diabetes than male dogs
Pancreatitis - Dogs that develop regular pancreatitis, which is an inflammation of the pancreas are more likely to develop diabetes.
Obesity - Obesity is a high risk factor for diabetes both in dogs and humans. Keeping your dog’s weight under control is important in warding off diabetes
Steroids - Long-term steroid use is linked with K9 diabetes
Genetics - You may have heard that mixed breeds are more likely to develop diseases like diabetes. Studies have shown though that mixed breeds and purebreds can both develop diabetes without warning in their lifetime
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