Diabetes: Don’t sugarcoat it.
The statistics are alarming: since 2006, diabetes in pets has increased by 80 percent in canines and 18 percent in felines. With the growing prevalence of diabetes in our pets, we want to bring awareness and help you, the pet owner, understand what this disease is, how it’s treated, and the best way you can avoid it!
Early detection of diabetic signs in your pets is critically important, since undiagnosed and untreated pets often become seriously ill as a result of this disease! Sadly, diabetes is severely underdiagnosed in veterinary medicine today. November, National Pet Diabetes Month, is a great time to raise awareness.
How to Identify Diabetic Symptoms in Your Pet:
The following symptoms are the most common changes you might notice if your pet develops diabetes. Please consult Family VetCare if your dog or cat is showing any of the following signs:
- Drinks more water than usual (polydipsia)
- Urinates more frequently, produces more urine per day, or has “accidents” in the house (polyuria) or outside the litter box
- Seems more hungry than usual (polyphagia) but maintains or loses weight
- Develops “cloudy” eyes (cataracts)
- Is less active than usual, or sleeping more than usual
- Has a thin, dry, and dull coat
How You Can Help Prevent Diabetes:
“Most diabetes in companion animals is related to an overweight body condition, similar to type 2 diabetes in people,” says Dr. Leah Patrick, veterinarian at Family VetCare of Chandler. “The best defense is to maintain a healthy lifestyle and body weight condition for your pets. Avoidance of table scraps and low-quality foods is a good place to start,” Dr. Patrick advocates. “Ultimately, it comes down to diet and exercise, just like in people.”
- Feed the recommended caloric intake for your pet’s target weight
- Ensure your pet receives regular exercise
- Have your pet’s blood tested annually if less than seven years of age, and biannually if older than seven years
My Pet Has Diabetes… Now What?
“First, a deep breath,” says Dr. Travis Wodiske, medical director at Family VetCare. “With early detection and implementation of treatment, most pets respond very well to treatment.”
Most dogs and cats require daily injections of insulin at home, combined with a change to their diet and a plan for blood glucose monitoring going forward. With appropriate treatment, most diabetic pets can lead an active, quality life, and be a part of your family for many years to come!
With a focus on early detection and appropriate treatment, diabetes does not have to be a life-threatening disease. While diabetes cannot be cured, it can be treated. With consistent treatment, patience, and love, your diabetic pet can live a normal, happy, and healthy life.
We are here to help—if you notice any of the above signs please contact us to schedule an appointment with one of our veterinarians for a routine diabetes screening and we can be your partner in your pet’s diabetic care.