Diabetes in dogs is very common, and it isn’t just older dogs that are prone to the disease. All breeds are at risk; however, some dogs are more predisposed than others such as German Shepherds, Springer Spaniels, Cairn Terriers, Miniature Schnauzers, Keeshonds and Poodles. Furthermore, puppies, obese dogs and female dogs are more susceptible to this illness. Statistics have shown that Boxers, Collies, and Spaniels are less likely to come down with diabetes.
The basics of diabetes in dogs
There are three types of diabetes in dogs, these are called diabetes insipidus, mellitus and gestational. It is extremely rare for humans and dogs to have insipidus and mellitus together. Since humans are susceptible, we know mellitus as type 1 and type 2.
Diabetes in dogs can be hereditary; it can be triggered by an autoimmune disease, or it can be caused by excess sugar intake. A lot of commercial dog foods contain high amounts of sugar so if you know your dog is prone to diabetes, then choose a high-quality dog food.
Diabetes insipidus is regarded as a lack of the hormone vasopressin, which partially controls water absorption in the kidneys. Urination is frequent due to the kidneys being unable to retain water.
Gestational is hormonal and so usually begins in pregnancy. Often after pregnancy gestation diabetes disappears, but sometimes it can develop into type 2 or type 1 but very rarely.
Diabetes mellitus is more serious; this is a deficiency in insulin whereby sugar/glucose cannot be broken down. The result is too much sugar in the blood stream. If this is not treated, those sugar saturated organs can become permanently damaged, lead to coma or death.
Mellitus is broken down into two groups, which are type 1 and type 2…
- Canine mellitus type 1 is a predisposed genetic disease which is an autoimmune illness that usually begins at an early age. The beta cells in the pancreas are gradually destroyed due to lack of insulin. Type 1 can be tested and detected at an early age. Dogs with type 1 will need insulin for the rest of their lives and there could be a possibility of ketoacidosis.
- Canine mellitus type 2 is typically associated with senior dog’s from six years old. This is usually associated with being overweight and inactive. Type 2 is a gradual disease which is based on impaired insulin flow and resistance. If your dog’s diet is not corrected insulin may be needed to correct the illness.
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You will be pleased to know that sugar free treats can be given to your dog; however, remember treats in a bag have been processed. It is better to use small pieces of chicken for those special moments.
Symptoms of diabetes in dogs
- Good appetites with weight loss due to being malnourished
- Excessive water intake
- Increased urination
- Lethargy and weakness
- Loss of appetite
- Rapid breathing
- Cataracts in eyes
Eventually, all organs will deteriorate, which will result in heart problems, circulatory complications, enlarged liver, constantly susceptible to infections, neurological problems and sometimes death.
Should you suspect diabetes in your dog contact your veterinarian who will run some simple tests. If your dog has diabetes, he will have elevated amounts of sugar in his blood, which is called hyperglycemia and / or high amounts of glucose in his urine, this is called glucosuria. Normal sugar levels will read at approximately 80 to 120 counts; however, a dog with diabetes can have over 600.
As discussed earlier, a high-quality diet is paramount. If you don’t have the time to make your own dog food or don’t want to give raw, I would highly recommend Orijen, Applaws or Paw Naturaw Organic, but any five-star brands are excellent choices.
Always check with the manufacturer how much you should feed your dog, particularly if he is under or over weight.
At present, natural remedies for diabetes in dogs have proven to be unsuccessful, the most successful way is to follow you veterinary advice. Treatment for diabetes in dogs is insulin therapy by injection, which is often administered by the owner twice daily using a small needle. As every dog is different, your dog will need to return to the vet for more tests, this is to ensure your dog is receiving the right amount of insulin; not too much or not too little!
If you do not recognize that your dog has diabetes, his life will be at risk. Have your dog checked out as a precautionary measure, especially as your dog matures.
These above measures will allow your dog to lead a healthy normal life.