Diabetes is a chronic disease that can affect humans and other animals like dogs, cats, apes, pigs, and horses. Diabetes is caused in dogs either by a lack of insulin in the body or due to ‘inadequate’ biological response to it. Dog Diabetes or Canine diabetes can’t be cured but can be managed with careful methods.
The dog cannot use glucose properly if they can’t produce enough insulin themselves, or the insulin they have isn’t used properly. This causes the blood sugar levels of dogs to rise and lead to adverse side effects. The food that the dog eats is broken down and glucose is carried to their cells by insulin.
What causes diabetes in dogs?
The reason why dogs develop diabetes is just like in humans, with some dogs being more genetically prone to developing the condition. Overweight is also known to cause an increased risk of your dog developing diabetes. This is the reason that obesity leads the cells in the dog’s body to become more resistant to insulin. Dogs that start to reach their senior years are most likely to develop diabetes, while female dogs and neutered dogs may also be more at risk.
Damage caused by diabetes in dogs
The negative effects that different types of diabetes cause on the body are the same. Excessive intake of sugar in dogs leads to its build-up in the bloodstream, and yet the cells that need sugar can’t access it. There are mainly two bad effects that diabetes causes on your dog’s body, cells being starved for vital “fuel” and high sugar levels in the bloodstream damages many organs. The muscle cells and certain organ cells are deprived of the glucose “fuel” that dogs need for energy. The body responds by starting to break down its fats and proteins to use as an alternative fuel. High levels of glucose will build up in the blood when there is no insulin to help convert the glucose in the bloodstream into fuel. Such an abnormal level of glucose in the blood will act like a sort of poison that eventually causes damage to organs like the kidneys, eyes, heart, blood vessels, or nerves.
Canine Diabetes Symptoms
It is important to know and identify the symptoms of canine diabetes. Some of the significant symptoms of diabetes in dogs are unexplained weight loss, appetite changes, ‘sweet-smelling’ breath, tiredness or lack of energy. Weight loss and increased appetite are important signs of diabetes in dogs. As diabetics make dogs unable to efficiently convert nutrients into the fuel they can lose weight and at the same time have increased appetite. Another important sign of canine diabetes that you should keep an eye on is when your dog is drinking frequently and empties the water bowl more often. There are some other conditions to keep an eye on if your dog has diabetes. You have to watch out for any unusual health conditions that diabetic dogs are more prone to. The excess levels of sugar in the dog’s body will affect the eyes with cataracts which can be removed by surgical correction.
Many dogs adapt with reduced eyesight, as they have a better sense of smell and hearing than ours. You should also watch out for urinary tract infections in your dog, which can be caused by excess levels of sugar in the urine. Increased urination or discomfort when urinating can be important signs that your dog is having urinary tract infections. When you find any of these symptoms in your dog, you should seek your vet for advice. Your vet most likely carries out a blood test if they suspect that your dog may have diabetes. This will help in their diagnosis and if they find you do have diabetes, they will advise you on the best care and treatment.
How can I manage diabetes in dogs?
There is no cure for diabetes in dogs. Canine diabetes is a condition that you can usually manage with proper care and treatment. This will let your dog to still enjoy a full and happy life. The blood sugar levels of your dog should be kept at a normal level to manage diabetes. You can seek the help of a vet to prescribe an on-going treatment plan which mostly involves regular insulin shots (up to twice a day), monitoring for changes in their symptoms and regular check-ups. Some dogs will be able to overcome their diabetes with a specially designed dog food for diabetic dogs.
It is not possible to ensure that your dog will never develop diabetes, but you can help them reduce the risk by ensuring a healthy lifestyle. Some of the important things to ensure a healthy lifestyle for your dog are by feeding them a complete and balanced diet, helping them retain an ideal body mass condition and ensuring enough exercise for their age and food intake.