Pet insurance companies call it a pre-existing condition. I call it diabetes.
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Diabetes is a pancreatic disorder. There are two types:
- Type 1 diabetes: the body does not produce enough insulin
- Type 2 diabetes:(more common) the body is unable to use the insulin
Your dog needs insulin in order to absorb glucose and convert it into energy.
Untreated, your dog's health will gradually decline and end in an early death.
Diabetes is common in dogs that have the following combined factors:
- 6 to 9 years in age
Initial signs include:
- Increased thirst and urination
- Vomiting and dehydration
- Increased appetite with weight loss
- Hind-limb weakness: walking with hocks touching the ground (nervous system
- Difficulty breathing
Advanced signs for untreated diabetes include:
- Enlarged liver
- Susceptibility to infection
- Neurological problems
To diagnose your dog with diabetes, your veterinarian will review medical
history and signs. The veterinarian will also perform blood and urine tests to
check glucose levels.
Most veterinarians will agree that diabetes is not curable, but can be
Change in diet:
- High in protein and low in carbohydrates: controls blood sugar and
promotes weight loss in obese dogs. Obese dogs have a hard time processing
insulin, making their diabetes more difficult to control
- Spread calorie intake out over a few meals rather than all at once
Insulin is used to keep the dog's blood glucose levels under control. You
will be able to learn to give injections, as the insulin needles are tiny.
Giving an injection is usually easier than giving a pill.
- The amount and frequency of insulin injections will be determined by your
- Follow-up visits: the dosage will be reevaluated with further blood
Be aware of behavioral changes that signal:
- Not enough insulin: extra drinking, eating and urination
- Too much insulin: confusion, stumbling and shivering
Dogs with diabetes must eat regularly to guard against insulin overdose, but
be careful to control the amount of food your cat eats to prevent obesity.
While there is no way known to prevent type 1 diabetes, proper weight
management can reduce the likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes.
The prognosis for a diabetic dog depends on your commitment to treat the
disease, good communication between you and your veterinarian, and good control
of the blood glucose with appropriate diet and dose of insulin.
With a strict diet, insulin and exercise, your dog can be happy and live a
healthy life, even with diabetes.