Diabetes in dogs is an incurable disease that needs to be closely monitored and treated in order to give your furry friend as many healthy years as possible. Our Huntersville vets explain the condition and how it's treated.
Dog diabetes (canine diabetes) is an incurable disease caused by either an insufficient biological response to the hormone insulin (which maintains blood sugar levels), or a lack of it in your dog’s body.
When a dog consumes food, insulin would typically transfer glucose from their food to their cells. But if your dog’s body can’t properly use insulin or produce a sufficient amount of it, his body won’t use the glucose correctly.
What are dog diabetes symptoms?
Circumstances described above could send your dog’s blood sugar levels rising to dangerous levels, which may result in these symptoms:
- Unexplained weight loss
- Marked increase in urination
- Excessive thirst
- Lack of energy
- Increase or decrease in appetite
- Breath that smells “sweet”
At LakeCross Veterinary, we’re able to find diseases by performing diagnostic tests during physical exams. Based on test results, custom treatment plans can be created.
Treatment Options and Management
In most cases of dog diabetes, the recommended treatment is insulin. Your dog will often require twice-daily injections, but we can understand if this idea makes you feel apprehensive - you’re certainly not alone.
Insulin is usually a cornerstone of treatment, as it’s widely believed to be the best treatment. Most dogs with diabetes suffer from the insulin-dependent type of the disease, since their diabetic pancreas will not produce insulin. Your veterinarian can train you to give injections safely.
Other important components of treatment include:
Exercise routine - Consistent, moderate exercise is needed to help prevent sudden decreases or increases in glucose levels.
Diet - A consistent diet helps immensely in ensuring your dog can live a long, healthy life with diabetes. A diabetic dog’s diet can include high-quality protein, fiber and complex carbohydrates, all of which help slow the absorption of glucose. Your veterinarian may also recommend a diet low in fat.
When it comes to managing your dogs daily life with diabetes, your veterinarian will work with you to find the best management plan and give guidance on sticking to it.
How to Keep a Dog with Diabetes Healthy
- Ensure insulin is injected when your dog has a full stomach, to prevent illness.
- To counteract the fiber in his new diet, ensure your four-legged buddy drinks plenty of water, as the body will take water faster due to their diet’s fiber content. If water and fiber are unbalanced, this may lead to constipation and other issues.
- Keep Rover lean. If your vet has indicated your dog is overweight, losing a few pounds may help his cells use insulin more efficiently.
- Has your dog lost his appetite? Let your veterinarian know. This could mean he’s experiencing diabetes-related complications, or just that he’s not in love with his new food.
Try not to worry if your dog has been diagnosed with diabetes. With ongoing veterinary care and close attention (and some extra love!) from you, you should be able to give him everything he needs so you two can spend more time together.
Please note: The information in this post is intended to help inform you about canine diabetes and is not designed to replace a diagnosis from a trained veterinarian.
Do you suspect your dog has diabetes? With our in-house laboratory, we can provide same-day testing and results. Book an appointment today.
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