Complications of Pet Diabetes
Just like human diabetes, pet diabetes can create serious complications if not managed properly. The best way to treat these complications is to prevent them from occurring in the first place. Here is an overview of the most common diabetes complications in pets.
Cataracts occur most frequently in diabetic dogs whose diabetes has been poorly managed or gone undiagnosed. If not treated, these dogs will eventually go blind. Cataracts occur when the irises become opaque and prevent light from passing through. These can set in very rapidly or develop over a longer period of time, depending on the severity and treatment of the cataracts and the diabetes. Most diabetic dogs develop cataracts, but early detection may save their eyesight. If your dog is diabetic, check its eyes frequently; cloudy eyes are a sign of cataracts. Surgery can be performed to treat the cataract.
Another common dog diabetes complication, dry eye happens when there is little or no tear production. You may notice a greenish discharge that occurs when the eye is infected, a common side effect of dry eye. The eye can also develop an ulcer and may lose vision. Dry eye can be treated with medication and may not develop further problems.
Hind Leg Weakness
This occurs mostly in cats and results in a dropped or weak hind leg. You may notice your cats mobility seems limited and it cannot jump like it used to. This may not be due to arthritis or old age. A long period of high blood sugar can damage nerves and weaken the leg muscles, usually in the hind legs. With proper diabetes management and some physical training, your cats muscles should regain their strength.
Other Common Pet Diabetes Complications
Other pet diabetes complications may develop in both dogs and cats:
- Urinary tract infections are common, as is liver and kidney disease.
- Diabetic neuropathy is a disorder of the nervous system and can result in the leg weakness mentioned earlier.
- Gingivitis may occur due to the increase in blood sugar.
- Occasionally pets exhibit gastrointestinal dysfunction such as frequent vomiting or diarrhea.
Prevention is the Best Medicine
Again, the easiest way to treat all of these complications is to prevent them from occurring in the first place. However, it may happen that you learn of your pets diabetes after your vet treats another problem, such as dropped hocks or cataracts. Whatever the case, be sure to be aware of your pets behavior, and pay attention if they are acting strangely. Your pets physical behavior is its way of telling you something is wrong; are you listening? Sources: http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?cls=1&cat=1328&articleid=197 http://www.petdiabetes.org/education_index.htm#complications
Photo Credit: sfroehlich1121