Diabetes mellitus is a metabolic disorder that occurs when the body is unable to control blood sugar levels. There are two types of diabetes, type-1 and type-2. Type-1, also known as insulin dependent diabetes mellitus, occurs when the body is unable to produce insulin. Insulin is a hormone released when blood sugar levels are high, such as after meals, and directs cells in the body to move sugar out of the blood stream and into cells for storage or energy. Unlike type-1, in type-2 diabetes, insulin is being produced but the body becomes less responsive to its effects, which is why it is also called insulin resistance or non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. Regardless of the cause, both forms of diabetes result in chronically elevated blood sugar levels that damage capillaries and lead to different complications like nerve damage, kidney failure, cataract formation, and even death.
So what causes diabetes? Diabetes mellitus is a multifactorial disease influenced by both inherited and environmental factors. Genetic predisposition seems to be an important risk factor, and in dogs, certain breeds, like Keeshonds and Samoyeds, are more likely to develop diabetes. Age is another important risk factor. Though it can affect animals of any age, it is more common in middle-aged and older animals. However, of all the risk factors, obesity is the most important, especially since the prevalence of obesity is increasing. In the United States, it is estimated that 45% of dogs and 58% of cats are overweight.
What should you be looking for? The classic symptoms of diabetes are increased thirst, increased appetite, and increased urination.
Pets with diabetes may also become lethargic, lose weight, and have a dull haircoat. It is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of diabetes so you can promptly seek veterinary care if you notice any of these in your pets.
With the right medications, diet and weight loss, diabetes can usually be controlled (but not cured). The goal of treatment is to prevent high blood sugar or hyperglycemia and provide stable blood sugar levels. Insulin injection is the primary treatment for both dogs and cats. In addition to medications, diet and weight loss are just as important when it comes to treating diabetes in pets.
For more information, visit pethealthnetwork.com