Overweight Pets and Diabetes
Just like in humans, pet obesity rates are increasing. Pet obesity not only causes diabetes, but also leads to joint pain. One out of every 50 pets is affected by diabetes. Pets that are overweight are at higher risk of developing Type One & Type Two diabetes.
What is diabetes?
When you have diabetes your body doesn't produce insulin; therefore, your body has a hard time processing blood sugar. The sugar is not reaching the tissues, which causes it to build up in blood and urine. Some behaviors your pet may have that show diabetes are constantly drinking water and urinating more than normal. However, cats and dogs react differently to diabetes.
Type One & Type Two Diabetes
Diabetes type one is when the body needs total replacement of the insulin to live because the body doesn't produce enough. Diabetes type two is when your body resists the insulin it needs daily, and is often caused by obesity.
Overweight Cats (Feline Diabetes Mellitus)
Cats can develop a resistance to insulin, meaning their bodies can't properly use insulin. Instead, what happens is the pancreas produces more insulin and a hormone called amylin. Amylin destroys insulin-producing cells and causes a cat to develop hyperglycemia. Hyperglycemia is a high level of blood sugar that creates the overflow of sugar to spill into the urine. This causes the cat to drink and urinate more then it normally would. The cat may become dehydrated and lose weight, but will always maintain a healthy appetite. Feline diabetes affects more male cats than females, usually when over seven years of age.
Overweight Dogs (Canine Diabetes Mellitus)
Dogs are at high risk of pancreatitis (inflamed pancreas). The pancreas enables the dog to create insulin. Insulin is in higher demand in an overweight dog because it needs to compensate for the extra body mass. When these requirements cannot be met because of the weight, diabetes forms. There are symptoms that you can look out for that may suggest your dog has diabetes. These include increased thirst, excessive urination, weight loss, depression and vomiting. Diabetes seems to affect more female dogs then male dogs.
There are several risks if your overweight animal goes untreated for diabetes or its symptoms. If these symptoms are not caught early they can cause a pet can to go into a coma, and cause blindness, kidney infections, skin infections, and bladder infections.
The good news is that there are treatments for pets with diabetes. Most pets will be required to get insulin shots more than once a day. This dosage depends on the intensity of the disease. The vet will work with you on how much and how often you need to give these injections. You will need to see your vet approximately every three months. There are also oral medications available that your pet could take. Your pet's diet will be need to be carefully monitored. Most importantly, your pet will require a lot of exercise.
Photo Credit: Toniwanknobi