Diabetes is not only confined to humans. Other animals including pets such as dogs and cats can also suffer from diabetes.
Diabetes in dogs is caused by either lack of insulin or insufficient response to insulin when either the pancreas is damaged or not working properly. Insulin is the hormone that facilitates the absorption of glucose into the cells from a dog’s blood stream. When a dog is diabetic its body cannot control sugar levels in the bloodstream. This leads to a condition known as hyperglycemia which means excess sugar in a dog’s bloodstream. There are various signs and symptoms if a dog is diabetic.
Signs and Symptoms of Diabetes in Dogs
- Increased or Excessive Urination.
When a dog is suffering from diabetes, the dog’s body tries to get rid of excess sugar in its body through urination.
- Excessive Thirst.
Due to the increase or excessive urination the dog also increases its water intake. This is because the dog’s body is trying to cope with the excessive water loss.
- Increased Appetite
This happens because glucose is not being absorbed into the dog’s body. When that happens the dogs thinks its starving. This creates a greater than normal hunger.
- Weight loss
Even though a dog’s appetite will increase the dog will suffer from weight loss. This happens because nutrients are not properly being assimilated into the dog’s body.
Other Advanced Signs and Symptoms may Include,
- Unkempt hair coat and the presence of dandruff.
- Frequently vomiting
- The dog may also show signs of depression and lethargy.
- Weakness or lack of energy.
- Sudden appearance of cataracts in the eyes and in some cases the dog may also suffer from temporary blindness.
There are various factors which can put a dog at risk for diabetes.
These factors include;
- Age. Although diabetes can occur to a dog at any age, most dogs that develop diabetes are of middle age and old/senior dogs.
- Pancreatitis in a dog is also a major cause of diabetes. Pancreatitis is the inflammation of the pancreas (which produces insulin). Repeated pancreatitis causes immense damage to the pancreas thus resulting to diabetes.
- Obesity is also a major contributing factor to diabetes in dogs. This is because obesity contributes to insulin resistance and it is also a risk factor for pancreatitis.
- Steroid medications are also triggers for diabetes in dogs if used long-term
- Other health conditions and autoimmune disorders can also trigger diabetes.
- Any breed of dog can suffer from diabetes though they vary in susceptibility.
Diagnosis of Diabetes in Dogs
Simple tests are done to test glucose levels in a dog’s blood stream and sugar levels in a dog’s urine. However, it’s essential to understand that it’s easier to treat diabetes in a dog if it’s discovered sooner. Treatment should start promptly to increase the chances of your dog living a normal life.