Diabetes in Dogs

Diabetes is the most common endocrine, or hormonal, disorder affecting middle
aged dogs. If untreated, it can reduce your dog's quality of life and lead to an early
death.

Diabetes is caused by a lack of insulin, and appears to be more common in
overweight female dogs.

This hormone is responsible for glucose metabolism in your dog's body and if there
isn't enough, then there is excess glucose in his blood and urine.

Symptoms of Diabetes

The first inkling that your dog has diabetes is that he will drink a lot more than usual. What goes in must come out, so he will also urinate more frequently. Because his body isn't getting the benefit of the glucose in his meals, he will also be very hungry.

It's important that if you see these symptoms that you take your dog to your vet for some blood tests. The reason for this is that excessive thirst and urination are also symptoms of other diseases such as Cushing's disease or kidney failure. You need to make sure it is definitely diabetes you are dealing with.

Treatment of Diabetes

There is no cure for diabetes in dogs, but it can be managed with daily or twice daily injections of insulin. The idea of giving your dog injections may be daunting, but it isn't hard to learn. The needles used are so fine that he will barely notice the injection.

At first, your dog will need to spend a day or two in hospital, so your vet can work out exactly how much insulin he needs. After this, you will be able to treat him at home.

Because insulin is important in energy metabolism, it's very important that you carefully control your dog's energy intake and output. This will make it easier to keep his glucose levels normal. Feed him the same amount of the same food at the same time each day, and keep constant the amount of exercise he gets.

Diabetic Emergencies

There are two circumstances where you need to take your diabetic dog to your vet urgently.

If his blood glucose goes too low because of an insulin overdose, it can cause trembling, weakness and even seizures. If your dog starts to behave this way, then rub glucose syrup or honey on his gums and rush him to your vet.

On the other hand, if he isn't getting enough insulin, he could develop a potentially fatal condition called diabetic ketoacidosis. This occurs when he starts to metabolize his fat stores for energy. His breath will smell like nail polish remover and he is seriously ill. This is indeed an emergency and your dog needs urgent care. If your own vet isn't available, don't hesitate, and take him to an emergency facility straight away.

A diagnosis of diabetes is scary for any dog owner, but there's no need to be nervous. Your vet can help you to manage your four legged best friend's condition, and he can still enjoy all his favorite activities.