Yes, pets can have diabetes too! Both cats and dogs can develop diabetes. One of the most common signs owners notice is an increase in drinking, which will lead to a need to urinate much more. Other indications can include appetite changes, weight changes, reduced activity, increased sleep, no longer grooming themselves and a dull coat. In dogs it’s almost inevitable that cataracts will develop so their eyes will appear cloudy.
If you should have concerns about your dog or cat with any of the above signs please contact your vet so that they can quickly assess your pets, and if need be, carry out one or two simple diagnostic blood tests to confirm any suspicions.
So, what is diabetes? Diabetes mellitus (sugar diabetes) in dogs and cats results as a failure to produce insulin. If a pet’s body produces little or no insulin, or cannot absorb it properly, glucose builds up in the blood stream but is unable to get out in to the body where this fuel is needed.
‘Artificial’ insulin is available for cats and dogs which is currently administered by injection, although new modes of delivery are being researched. This is often quite a daunting prospect for owners but with the sophisticated pen-type injection system is often reduced. We, as veterinary teams demonstrate and support owners through this process and have experience of doing so. It does mean your cat or dog will need to monitored closely for a while until the right level of insulin support is determined. Monitoring is usually a ‘mini’ blood test necessary to fine tune the level of insulin to be given. The timespan between monitoring appointments is adapted for your cat or dog as they are all individuals responding at different rates. The veterinary team are also available on the phone to support you with any concerns and queries you may have in between appointments. We don’t mind and expect owners to ask lots of questions, especially when their pet has been newly diagnosed. It’s a good idea to involve everyone at home if you have a pet with diabetes so that everyone can use the insulin pen if needed. Your pet’s routine may need to adjust a bit as regular meals and exercise all help with managing a diabetic pet. When planning holidays it’s a good idea to discuss your pet’s requirements in advance with your kennels/cattery/pet sitter so that they have an understanding of your pet’s medication, routine and exercise. They can always liaise with your vets too.
Diabetes cannot be cured as such but with appropriate treatment it’s a condition that is often successfully managed. What would be the consequence of not treating a diabetic cat or dog and not receiving insulin? The extra glucose in your pet’s body is unable to be used as fuel so a cat or dog will become lethargic, drink excessively, lose weight and other health issues will follow. Successful management of this lifelong condition is always helped by an early diagnosis. So, if you have any suspicions about your pet and this disease give us a call so we can arrange a veterinary appointment 01789 299455.