Everything You Need to Know About Canine Diabetes

Diabetes can be a dangerous disease in dogs. First, the symptoms can go unnoticed because dogs are unable to complain.

Second, because if left untreated, canine diabetes can trigger further health issues.

That’s why it is critical for dog owners to know the symptoms, causes and treatments for canine diabetes. Below you’ll find a complete overview of the basics.

What is canine diabetes?

Canine diabetes is a chronic condition found in dogs associated with a lack of insulin production. Without insulin, the body is unable to absorb glucose (sugar) into the bloodstream. Resultantly, high blood sugar levels (hyperglycaemia) increase the risk of infection and damage organs like the kidney, eyes, and peripheral blood vessels.

Here are the most common diabetes symptoms:

– Increased thirst
– Increased urination
– Weight loss
– Low energy
– Nausea and vomiting

Commonly, dogs with diabetes suffer from urine infections, amongst a host of other related health problems.

What causes canine diabetes?

The pancreas produces insulin in the body in reaction to food. Any damage to the pancreas, therefore, can cause a decline or loss of function in insulin production. However, insulin production can also drop from severe obesity as the body adjusts to constant high insulin levels, no longer reacting as effectively.

The two types of diabetes mellitus are:

1. Type I (insulin-deficient diabetes) is the most common type in dogs. It is caused by the body attacking the  pancreas, destroying the insulin-producing cells.
2. Type II (insulin-resistant diabetes) is common in older, obese dogs. Persistently high levels of insulin in the blood decrease the effect of insulin over time.

These two types of diabetes are affected by numerous factors, including:

Genetics.  – Some breeds are at higher risk of diabetes, like Beagles, Poodles, Dachshunds,and Miniature Schnauzer.

Medical conditions. – Conditions such as Cushing’s disease, pancreatitis, and obesity can cause diabetes.

How does canine diabetes affect a dog’s health?

Diabetes will cause your dog to be more lethargic. They’ll also lose more fluid due to the high glucose levels in the blood. However, if left untreated, diabetes may turn into hypoglycaemia or, even worse, diabetes ketoacidosis. That’s why it’s essential to take your dog to the vet early if you suspect any signs or symptoms of canine diabetes.

Treatment of canine diabetes

Once a diagnosis is confirmed, your dog will likely need twice-daily injections of insulin. The vet will determine the correct dose and insulin type. Insulin doses are typically given 12 hours apart after a meal. You’ll also need to test your dog’s blood sugar levels routinely.

A vet can answer any questions around blood glucose testing and administering insulin injections to your dog.

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