It may surprise you to learn, but dogs can develop diabetes just as people can. Diabetes is a life-threatening illness so you will need to closely monitor your dog’s blood sugar and provide him with the correct medication. You will also need to carefully manage his diet.
As with people there are two types of diabetes in dogs: diabetes insipidus and diabetes mellitus. Diabetes mellitus is also divided into two types, Type I diabetes which can occur in the early years of a dog’s life and which is also called juvenile dog diabetes. And Type II diabetes. This kind of diabetes usually appears in elderly dogs. It is most often characterized by the dog’s dependence of insulin.
With diabetes mellitus dogs typically have an insulin deficiency. The dog’s body is unable to metabolize sugar very well. This is the more common and the more dangerous kind of diabetes in dogs.
With diabetes insipidus there is a lack of vasopressin. This is an anti-diuretic hormone that controls the kidney’s absorption of water.
As dogs age they are more prone to acquiring diabetes. Larger dogs are also more likely to get diabetes. Overweight female dogs are also very prone to diabetes. Diabetes will depend on the dog’s pancreas secreting the correct level of insulin to use all of the glucose produced by the body. If the pancreas doesn’t produce the right amount, then the diabetic problem occurs.
Symptoms of diabetes can include:
Drinking more, urinating more, weight loss, increased appetite, dehydration, and sudden cataract formation
Diabetes is an endocrine disease and it is also influenced by heredity. Being controlled by the endocrine system, it is also considered an autoimmune system disease and when diabetes occurs it can lead to other autoimmune system problems. Early diagnosis is very important. Your vet will need to perform a sugar blood test to get a diagnosis. Once diagnosed, you will need to continue to monitor your dog to make sure he stays in stable condition.
You will need to talk to your vet about medications and your dog’s diet. He or she can tell you what foods will be good for your dog and which kinds of food to avoid. You will need to make regular visits to your vet so he or she can monitor your dog’s health.
Depending on your dog’s case, medication may be needed to help with the diabetes. Insulin injections may be needed. They can often help a dog live a normal life and extend his life for many years.
Diabetes can sometimes lead to other diseases, such as heart problems. There can be circulatory problems. You should watch your dog for signs that he could be developing other health problems, but with the proper diet and medication he should be able to live a reasonably normal life.
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