Chandler Vet | National Pet Diabetes Month

November is National Pet Diabetes Month

Vet and Labrador retriever

November is National Pet Diabetes Month, so our Chandler vet wanted to take this opportunity to spread awareness about the health risks associated with pet diabetes. This condition is a lifelong challenge for pets, and it needs to be properly managed in order for an animal to live a healthy and long life. If untreated, diabetes can be fatal or it can lead to other serious health challenges. Keep reading to learn more about what pet diabetes is, how to diagnose it, and how to manage it as your pet’s health needs change.

Understanding Diabetes

There are two types of diabetes, type I and type II, however it can be difficult to distinguish between the two when it comes to your pet’s health. These types are not as easy to detect in pets as they are in humans. In general, diabetes is caused because the body can not use glucose normally. Glucose levels are controlled by insulin, which is created in the pancreas. In diabetics, there is not enough insulin being created to process the glucose, which can lead to high blood sugar and other health issues. With diabetes, there is not enough glucose being converted into energy, so the cells use fat and muscle as energy sources. This causes weight loss but it is also dangerous for the body. Other symptoms frequently found with diabetes are frequent urination, extreme thirst, and lethargy.

Pets can often become hyperglycemic because of the lack of insulin in the body. This means that glucose is not being properly absorbed and it is overflowing into the bloodstream. It also overflows into the urine, called glucosuria. Testing can determine if this is what is happening with your pet, but further testing may be required to confirm a diagnosis of diabetes and rule out other health issues. If your pet is not producing enough insulin, they will likely need insulin injections every day for the rest of their life to manage their diabetes symptoms. That is why having a diabetic pet is such a lifelong commitment for pet owners, because it needs to be managed daily for the duration of their life.

Breeds Most at Risk

There are some breeds that may be at a higher risk for developing diabetes, and females generally have a higher risk. For dogs, the most common breeds to develop pet diabetes include the Samoyed, Keeshond, Miniature Pinscher, Cairn terrier, Schnauzer, Australian terrier, Dachshund, Poodle, Beagle, and Bichon Frise. Siamese cats are more likely to develop diabetes than other breeds, and males typically also have a higher risk. Most pets develop diabetes starting around age 4, but they often go undiagnosed until around ages 7-10. Early detection is key when it comes to pet diabetes because the longer it goes untreated the higher the chance of developing further health issues. Some long-term health issues that often come with diabetes include hyperthyroidism, hyperadrenocorticism, pancreatitis, heart disease, kidney disease, cataracts, weakened hind legs, urinary tract infections, and skin infections.

Managing Your Pet’s Diabetes

Managing your pet’s diabetes can be difficult, but it can be done with help from our Chandler vet. You’ll need to monitor their blood sugar and glucose levels daily to make sure that they are in the desired range. Our team can help you understand what the proper levels for your pet would be, but it will take some time to get the proper balance of care. Every animal is unique, so you will need to work closely with our team to develop the proper treatment plan for your pet, and adjust it accordingly when their health needs evolve. Schedule a visit with our Chandler vet to find out more information on managing your pet’s specific health challenges.

Every animal is different, so diabetes management will depend on your pet’s specific needs. The best way to stay proactive with your pet’s health is to bring them in for annual wellness visits with our Chandler vet. Early detection is so important for diabetes, and it can even help prevent the need for further treatment. Failure to diagnose diabetes until it is too late could leave your pet vulnerable to a lot of serious health concerns that could prove to be real life challenges. Many pets need a change in their diet as well as daily exercise to manage their diabetes, especially if they need to lose weight. Generally, dogs will require a high-fiber diet while cats may require a high-protein, low-carb diet. You should talk to our team before making any drastic changes to your pet’s diet.

Follow instructions from our team about insulin injections. The frequency and amount need to be perfectly tailored to your pet’s health needs in order to maintain their blood sugar levels. Overdosing and underdosing insulin can lead to weakness, tremors, seizures, and loss of appetite. If you notice any of these symptoms, you need to call our office right away. Proper management for your pet’s diabetes is essential to keeping them safe and healthy so that they can live a long and happy life.

For further information about pet diabetes, call our Chandler vet at Pet Doctor X. Our team can help manage your pet’s health condition so that they can have the comfortable and energizing life that they deserve. Call our office to schedule your pet’s next wellness visit or physical examination.

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