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Understanding Diabetes Dog And Cat

Dog diabetes and feline diabetes mellitus are considered chronic. It is where the body does not produce the proper amount of insulin, or the insulin that is produced is not utilized properly. Under normal circumstances, your pet obtains carbohydrate starches that produce sugars, or glucose, from the food they eat. Once in the body the sugars, or glucose, is broken down by the digestive system where it is eventually absorbed into the bloodstream to travel to cells throughout the body. The pancreas responds to the glucose in the bloodstream by producing insulin. This insulin is required for the cells in the canine or feline body to be able to absorb the glucose and utilize the energy it provides. But with diabetes, the cells of the body are unable to absorb the glucose, and the unused glucose builds up in the blood stream creating high blood sugar levels.
 
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The Effects Of Canine And Feline Diabetes On Pets

A viscous cycle is often created with diabetes. Since the cells are not getting the glucose they need, the body is tricked into thinking it needs to take in more sugar, when in fact there is already too much in the bloodstream. This manifests itself in your pet having an increased, possibly even ravenous appetite - but of course taking in more sugar just creates more buildup of glucose in the bloodstream. Excess glucose in the bloodstream will also draw water away from the cells, making your pet excessively thirsty. They will want to drink more but be dehydrated in spite of it. And the bad news continues, without glucose the body will also start to feed on its own muscles and tissues for energy.
Untreated, diabetes can have serious side effects for dogs and cats which can include, but are not limited to, severe malnutrition (in spite of being fed), muscle atrophy (in spite of activity), and dehydration (in spite of having plenty of water to drink). Cataracts and blindness can also be a problem, one that can occur even after treatment has started.
 

The Difference Between Type I And Type II

There are two types of diabetes seen in pets, and there are certain differences. Type I is where the body does not produce enough insulin - usually because the pancreas is damaged or not functioning as it should. With Type I cat or dog diabetes, insulin shots are usually prescribed for your canine or feline to make up for the deficiency of insulin. Whereas the problem with Type II diabetes is not necessarily the amount of insulin produced but rather the body's ability to utilize it. However, Type II diabetes is more rare in dogs than Type I and it accounts for only about 1% of canine diabetes. Just the same, obesity issues can increase your dog or cat's chance of contracting Type II diabetes.
 

Causes, Symptoms, Tests And Diagnosis

Although diabetes can occur in younger dogs and cats, it is usually seen in older pets, particularly after the age of seven. Possible causes of diabetes mellitus in pets include, but are not limited to, cushing's disease, immune system disorders, pancreatic infections or various issues that can cause stress or damage to the pancreas.
Some diabetes symptoms to look for include an increase in thirst, frequent urination, weight loss, fatigue, even sudden blindness. Another symptom would be an increase in appetite while actually losing weight in spite of it. Male, older, obese cats tend to have a higher chance of contracting diabetes than their younger, healthier counterparts. Hyperthyroidism in cats can also increase the risk of diabetes in cats. Other feline diabetes symptoms to look for include vomiting, weakness in the legs, muscle atrophy, loss of appetite, breathing abnormalities and dehydration.
 

Treating Diabetes In Dogs And Cats

If your pets veterinarian suspects that your dog or cat may have diabetes, they may decide to run some tests to determine more. These tests may include a blood test to determine blood count, blood glucose concentration, and to identify other, potential non-diabetes causes of the symptoms. Other feline and canine diabetes tests will likely include a physical exam and a urine analysis for glucose and ketone levels. Often secondary tests such as x-rays and ultrasounds may be done to determine if any other existing diseases are present.
Treatment for feline and canine diabetes mellitus usually involves insulin therapy, weight management and a carefully controlled diet. One to two injections of insulin are usually given daily with a small needle. Your veterinarian will likely start with a lower dose first and then adjust upwards until the dosage that is right for your specific pet is determined. Your veterinarian may also have make adjustments in the frequency and type of insulin your pet receives depending upon how they do in the initial stages of treatment. Careful monitoring in the early stages will always be important. It will also be important to treat your pet at the same time each day. Regular feeding schedules will be important too. Exercise can actually affect blood glucose levels so it too will need to be regulated to just the right amount, this of course is much easier to control with dogs than it is with cats. Monitoring your pet's glucose levels will also be important, particularly in the early stages, possibly up to every two hours. Fortunately, glucose monitoring kits from AlphaTrak just for pets are now available, complete with lancets, test strips, monitors and instruction videos.
Felines with cat diabetes will likely be put on a high protein low carbohydrate diet and oral hypoglycemic meds such as Glipizide may be tried in place of or concurrently with insulin shots. The medication Glipizide helps stabilize blood sugar levels in cats with Type II diabetes by helping the pancreas to release more insulin. And a high protein, low carb diet will help give your cat the energy they need without the carbs that can be turned into excess sugar.
Although diabetes is usually chronic in pets, with early diagnosis and proper care your pet can still live a long, happy life. Pets whose diabetes is under control usually have normal thirst, appetite, urination and activity levels.
 

Diabetes Dog Food - Feline Diet Options - Canned And Dry Foods

Your pet's diet will be an important part of their diabetes treatment, this will likely include a prescription required veterinary diet for your dog or cat. Several pet food companies such as Purina Veterinary Diets, Hills Prescription Diet and Royal Canin Veterinary Diets make diabetes dog food as well as special diets often prescribed for felines diabetes. These usually include high protein low carbohydrate formulas. Depending on the food, additional qualities might include fiber control ingredients to assist with weight management or colitis, fatty acids and antioxidants for better nutrition and a stronger immune system, and L-carnatine to help burn fat while increasing lean muscle mass. Prescription formulations often prescribed include Purina's DM Diabetic Management Food, DCO Dual Fiber and OM; Hills W/D, R/D and M/D; and Royal Canin Canine Diabetic HF 18 and Feline Diabetic DS 44. Many are available in canned or dry varieties. You can buy online many foods for diabetic dogs and cats. A prescription may be required.
 
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Monitoring systems to stay on top of your pet's glucose levels.
 
Giving Diabetic Insulin
Injections To Your Pet
Giving diabetic injections to a dog or cat can be a very scary thing for most pet owners. However, once you have had a little training, you will likely find that it is not as difficult as you may have anticipated it to be. It will be important to work closely with your veterinarian in the beginning and to have them teach you the specifics of the injection procedure including how to store the insulin, where to give the shot, how to prepare the injection site, how to make the injection process as comfortable as possible for your pet, what to do with the syringes after use, and what to do if something goes wrong during the injection (leaving you uncertain as to how much was actually injected).
It will always be important for you to be as relaxed and comfortable as possible with the process or your pet could pick up on this fear and anxiety and become that way themselves - when they otherwise may not have had a problem. As a matter of fact, the more you do to make the experience as positive a one as possible for your pet, the better. It can be helpful to pet and play with them for a few minutes before and after. Treats, praise and rewards can also help make the experience easier for them.
 
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