Posted October 30, 2014
Canine diabetes, or diabetes mellitus, is a common disease in
dogs and is the result of inadequate insulin production.
“Canine diabetes is usually caused by an immune mediated attack
on the pancreas, which is likely related to genetic
predispositions,” said Dr. Audrey Cook, associate professor at the
Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical
Sciences. “It may also be secondary to chronic pancreatitis, or may
occur in intact females following their heat cycle.”
Some predisposed breeds include the cairn terrier, the
dachshund, and miniature poodles. Although these breeds have a
higher incidence than others, all dogs have a chance of becoming
Diabetes mellitus is known to cause excessive thirst and
urination due to the high concentrations of glucose in the
bloodstream. “Hunger is also a common symptom in the early stages
of diabetes, followed by rapid weight loss,” said Dr. Cook. “Vision
loss is sometimes reported.”
Glucose appears in the urine, and can predispose the patient to
urinary tract infections. Left untreated, other signs such as
vomiting, dehydration and lethargy are expected.
“It is usually recommended that the dog receives insulin by
injection twice a day,” said Dr. Cook. “Unlike many human
diabetics, we cannot manage this disease with diet or oral
medications. Canine diabetes is generally irreversible, and dogs
will need insulin therapy for the rest of their lives. However, if
diabetesdevelops soon after a heat cycle, some females may undergo
remission following a spay.”
Each diabetic dog varies, so you will need to consult with your
veterinarian to determine the appropriate insulin dose and
treatment regimen for your pet.
It is also important that insulin injections are administered
properly, so it is advised to have your veterinarian instruct and
observe you giving the insulin to your dog. At first you may be
nervous giving your dog an injection, but you can quickly learn how
to do this with very little stress for your pet or for you.
Another important part of diabetes management is ensuring that
your dog follows a consistent, stable routine. “They should be fed
two meals a day of a well-balanced, high quality diet,” said Dr.
Cook,”and definitely no table scraps.”
Although diabetes mellitus can’t be cured, the condition can be
successfully managed, helping your dog to lead a happy, active
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