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Diabetes In Dogs: Is It Common?

by Lana Paws on April 02, 2022

Diabetes In Dogs: Is It Common?

diabetes in dogs, symptoms and treatments

Even if your dog does not have a sweet tooth or you don’t give him any sugary treats, he can be diabetic. Yes, dogs and cats also suffer from this chronic disease, and the bad news is- it is not curable but only manageable. Your furry pet can be at a greater risk of diabetes, and if not diagnosed in time, it can result in a diabetic coma. 

To know everything about the symptoms, diseases, types of diabetes, and diabetic coma in dogs, read on. 

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is the condition when sugar levels increase in the body. It is caused by two reasons but to understand them, you must first understand how glucose conversion takes place in the body.

What Role Does Glucose Play In The Body?

Glucose is the sugar energy that body cells need to function. The body breaks the nutrients in the intestine and sends them to specific parts of the body through blood. The pancreas releases the hormone insulin, which helps in the transportation of this glucose, or you can say it alerts the organs to absorb the glucose required. 

But what does it have to do with diabetes?

It has everything to do with diabetes.  

Types Of Diabetes

When the glucose and insulin stop working the way they should, it causes diabetes. There are two types of diabetes.

  • Insulin Deficiency Diabetes or Type 1 diabetes is one where insulin production is stopped. The hormone stops working as it should, and it causes insulin deficiency in the body, which causes the increase of sugar level in blood as the cells are not absorbing the glucose. In this case, insulin doses are administered to the dogs to fulfill the deficiency
  • Insulin resistance diabetes or Type 2 diabetes is one where there is insulin in the body, but the cells are not listening to the orders and thus, not absorbing the glucose, which in turn increases the sugar level in the blood. So, when cells aren’t receiving their usual fuel, they start breaking down the body fat, which results in weight loss. Also, the excess unutilized sugar remains in the blood and causes organ failure, weak eyesight, damaged kidneys, blocked blood vessels, etc. 

Symptoms Of Diabetes In Dogs

symptoms of diabetes in dogs

The early signs of diabetes in dogs and cats are not so visible, but if you are an attentive pet parent, you may notice the following signs-

  • An increased appetite as body cells need energy which they are not receiving from glucose
  • Weight loss as cells breaks body fat and proteins
  • Drinking huge amounts of water
  • Increased rounds to the washroom, or they start having accidents inside the house as they are drinking lots of water and need to go out frequently 
  • Depressed attitude as a dog can understand that not everything is right with his body
  • Lethargy as the body is not converting the sugar into energy

These are some obvious signs, but apart from these, you may notice excessive sleeping, poor coat quality, infections, weakness, seizures, etc. 

Is Diabetes Common In Dogs?

No, not every dog is a diabetic. The disease may affect one dog in 300 dogs.

So, if your dog doesn't have a family history of diabetes, he is safe for the most part unless you witness any of the symptoms mentioned in this article and if your dog is overweight.

Causes Of Diabetes

causes of diabetes in dogs Lana Paws blog

Several factors can contribute to diabetes. Some of which are discussed below-

Obesity- If your dog is overweight, the chances of him becoming diabetic are higher as obese dogs have less resistance against diabetes

Age- Like humans, age is a great factor in dogs as well. At age 5 or more, dogs usually develop the signs of diabetes if they have had a family history or they had a rich-sugar diet all their life. Also, diabetes is not an age-restricted disease, so it can also be diagnosed in your little pup

Medications- Some steroid medications can also be the reason for the disease if the dose is not administered properly or used over a long period

Gender- Unspayed females are more susceptible to the disease than spayed females

Genetics- If your dog has a family history of diabetes, it is very susceptible to diabetes

Pancreatitis- Pancreatic infections can damage the pancreas, which in turn may affect insulin production, causing Type 1 diabetes

Other Health Problems- Some other health problems may also trigger diabetes

Is Every Dog Breed Equally Susceptible To Diabetes?

No, not all dog breeds are equally susceptible to diabetes, for example, the more susceptible breeds include Dachshund, Miniature Poodles, Pugs, Puli, Beagles, Australian Terriers, Cairn Terriers, Fox Terriers, Bichons Frises, Samoyeds, Miniature Schnauzers, Yorkshire Terrier, Siberian Husky, and so on compared to other breeds such as Labrador Retriever, or Great Dane. However, it's important to keep in mind that your dog's breed may play a rather small role in the likelihood of your dog suffering from this chronic disease, as opposed to her general lifestyle, food habits and overall well-being.

What is Diabetic Coma In Dogs?

diabetes coma in dogs, symptoms and treatment Lana Paws Blog

Coma is a state of unconsciousness when more than one part of the body is not functioning correctly. A diabetic coma is a state where the dog becomes unconscious due to diabetes, i.e., excessive or deficient blood sugar. It starts with minor seizures but increases over time if the dog does not receive proper treatment on time.

When blood sugar level fluctuates, the dog suffers from dehydration and eventually loses consciousness. Both hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia cause it. Diabetic ketoacidosis can also be a cause.

Diagnosis Of Diabetes in Dogs

Being a pet parent, you should be attentive to your dog's health and well-being. If you see anything unusual, something which has started recently, or a habit that is not going away, such as sleeping too much, or drinking excessive amount of water, you should consult your veterinarian. The signs mentioned above are your first clue. If your dog is tired, looks weak, loses weight suddenly, eats ravenously, and drinks lots of water, these are your first signs. Don’t ignore them. 

Consult your veterinarian and get the blood tests done. The first signs of diabetic coma are also the same. If your dog becomes unresponsive or loses consciousness, urgently take him to the nearest hospital. Diabetic coma is a fatal, life-threatening disease if medical help is not provided on time.

Treatment Of Diabetes In Dogs

is diabetes in dogs treatable Lana Paws blog

Once the blood tests are carried out and your dog is diagnosed with diabetes, the vet will prescribe the treatment depending on which type of diabetes your dog is suffering from. In Type 1 diabetes, there is an insulin shortage in the body, so insulin injections become a must to fulfill the requirements.   

The right dosage amount is to be determined for your dog, which can be a bit time-consuming. You need to assign a responsible person at home for this task. Your dog is given an insulin injection in the morning, and his blood glucose levels are tested every hour or two. The next dosage is given in the evening. It goes on for about a few months, every week or two. 

The vet will prescribe you the correct amount of insulin, the timing of injections, and a detailed diet and exercise plan.  

You must commit yourself fully to recover your dog’s health. Your dog should not be stressed, must eat healthy and appropriate food while doing the required exercise. 

Is Diabetes Treatment Costly?

Yes, it can be costly to treat chronic diabetes in dogs just like it is in humans. As a responsible pet parent, you must commit to the process and take complete responsibility in improving your furbaby's health. 

Proper medication, correct form of exercise and a balanced diet will help fight this disease tremendously. 

But you need patience. It may be frustrating to deal with work, home, and a dog with diabetes, but remember, they are like your child and are dependent on you for their care.

is diabetes in dogs common? Lana Paws blog

Can Diabetes Be Eliminated In Dogs?

In most cases, diabetes can’t be eliminated completely.

If you administer proper dosage of insulin and take care of their exercise and diet, dogs with diabetes can live a normal life. It doesn’t even affect their life expectancy if proper care is given.  

Is Diabetes A Life-Threatening Disease?

It is not, as long as your dog receives the correct treatment on time. Diabetes in dogs may cause serious complications if the disease remains undiagnosed for too long. Thus, it is important to consult your vet if you observe any unusual and persistent behaviours and/or any of the symptoms mentioned in this article.

 

Should I Put Down My Dog If He Is Suffering With Diabetes?

No. There is no need to put down your dog. Humans live a normal life with diabetes, and so can dogs. They can live a normal life if they receive the right treatment on time. To save your dog’s life, always keep a close eye on your dog. If you see any unusual symptoms, consult your vet. The sooner the disease is diagnosed, the sooner the treatment will start, and your dog can lead a healthy, happy, and normal life. There is absolutely no need to put down your dog. 

Conclusion

Diabetes is a disease that is not uncommon. When you bring home a pet, get him tested for possible diseases. Sometimes when you adopt a dog from a shelter, there is no parental history available, making it impossible to know if your new friend is susceptible to diabetes. Also, ensure regular vet appointments to see if your dog is healthy. Feed healthy food to your pet, make him do regular exercise, and keep him stress-free to avoid any health complications, including diabetes.

Read more relevant articles - Summer diet tips for dogs, How much to feed my dog, Winter Diet Tips for Dogs, Mental stimulation exercises for dogs.

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