Canine Diabetes Symptoms

Canine diabetes is a common diagnosis among the dog world. The most common form is diabetes mellitus where the dog's pancreas is unable to produce enough insulin to allow proper absorption of glucose into the body's cells. The elevated blood sugars, if uncontrolled, can cause complications such as kidney disease, cataracts, retinopathy, heart problems, circulatory problems and increased numbers of infections. Diagnosed early, diabetes can be controlled through use of insulin and proper diet and exercise, and the complications can be minimized.

Symptoms of Diabetes in Dogs

A dog with uncontrolled diabetes exhibits a standard set of symptoms that are easily recognized. Most symptoms of canine diabetes can be alleviated when the diabetes is managed effectively.

  • Excessive thirst is brought on because of the body's need to eliminate the elevated blood sugars from the dog's system.
  • Excessive urination goes hand in hand with the excessive thirst and eliminating the extra sugars from the blood system.
  • Increased hunger is evident because the lack of insulin production prevents the nutrients to get into the dog's cells. This in turn triggers a hunger response even though the dog may have just eaten. As the blood sugar goes up and remains high, the lower the amount of nutrients the dog is able to take in.
  • Dehydration is caused by the body needing to utilize every source of water it can to eliminate the excessive sugars from the blood system. Even though the dog may be drinking great amounts of water, his body is often using more water to flush its systems in an attempt to bring the blood sugar to a normal level.
  • Weight loss is caused by the body's inability to take in adequate nutrients. The body begins to consume itself producing ketoacidosis, a condition that can become deadly if not corrected.
  • Lethargy is caused by the elevated blood sugars. The body and muscles cannot operate efficiently under these conditions so it is easier for the dog to just lay around.

Diagnosis of Canine Diabetes

If diabetes is suspected, the veterinarian will run a simple urine test that will tell how much sugar is being excreted in the urine. If elevated sugars are evident, the veterinarian may run some blood tests to ensure the kidneys and other organs have not been impacted by the disease.

Care of the Diabetic Dog

Once diagnosed, insulin or caninsulin injections will be prescribed. It may take a few weeks to get the aappropriate dosage established, but once set, the dog should be able to live a relatively normal life except for the addition of daily injections and possibly testing of blood sugars. Diabetes can be a juggling act as diet, medication and exercise must all be part of the equation in caring for a diabetic dog.

Diagnosing diabetes in dogs is the first step on the road to managing the disease. Early detection and implementation of a care plan allows the dog to lead a healthy life and avoid the onset of complications. And while the dog does have a lifelong disease, he can still have a great quality of life.