Pet Diabetes at a Glance
Diabetes mellitus is a condition associated with the inability of the body to naturally produce and secrete insulin, or an inability of the body to proper utilize the insulin that is produced and secreted. It is an endocrine disorder that is more prevalent in older animals. The hormone insulin is required by the body for the proper use of glucose (sugar) absorbed through digestion. Insulin is necessary for the mediation of glucose into cells where it can be utilized as energy. If insulin is not present in adequate amounts, glucose will build up in the bloodstream to be excreted through urine. This creates an environment of instability within the bloodstream where sugar levels are typically too high or too low. Additionally, if insulin is not present for the uptake of glucose into the cells for energy, the body will utilize other stored resources for energy. This results in the release of ketones, which are harmful to the body.
Types and Causes of Pet Diabetes
There are two types of diabetes in cats and dogs, which strongly resemble the diabetic condition that affects humans. Type 1 diabetes mellitus is a condition created when the pancreas can not produce and secrete any insulin. Type 2 diabetes is a condition created when the pancreas can not produce and secrete adequate amounts of insulin or the body is not capable of utilizing the insulin that is present in the bloodstream.
Signs and Symptoms of Pet Diabetes
The signs and symptoms of diabetes in pets are similar to those of the human condition.
- Excessive hunger or decreased hunger
- Excessive thirst
- Excessive urination
- Weight loss
- Changes in breath smell
Complications of Pet Diabetes
Certain complications are associated with the presence of diabetes in pets, typically when the diabetes is not well controlled or regulated.
- Hypoglycemia, typically associated with insulin overdosing.
How to Manage Pet Diabetes
You can successfully manage diabetes in your pet. However, it will require significant efforts; pets with insulin dependent diabetes are typically dependent upon insulin for proper regulation of diabetes. Additionally, diet and exercise upgrades can help your pet's body stay as healthy as possible with diabetes. Your pets diet can play a critical role in the regulation and control of diabetes. The best foods are typically low in carbohydrates and higher in protein with higher amounts of fiber. Feeding your pet three times daily in smaller amounts is also recommended. In addition to diet, exercise and physical activity is important in the regulation and control of diabetes in your pet. This is especially true with pets who are overweight or obese. The regulation of blood glucose (sugar) levels is also important. This is especially true for pets that require insulin injections, as there are many kinds of insulin that act in different ways throughout the body. There are also urine dipsticks available to measure the presence of glucose and ketones in the urine. High levels of ketones should be reported to a veterinarian. Sources: http://www.petdiabetes.org/faq.htm http://www.health.ri.gov/disease/diabetes/pets.php
Photo Credit: Jay Woodworth