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.
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.
Giving Diabetic Insulin
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).
Injections To Your Pet
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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