Type 1 Diabetes Symptoms in Dogs

Type 1 diabetes symptoms can be difficult to spot, but catching this disease early is essential for the long term health of your dog. Type 1 is also known as insulin dependent diabetes as sufferers will depend on insulin treatments for the rest of their lives. If diabetes is diagnosed and treated early, your dog will not suffer from it, and should live a long life.

What is Type 1 Diabetes?

Diabetes is a hormonal disorder, which effects the production of insulin. Insulin enables cells to use the glucose that is transported around the bloodstream. Without enough insulin, cells do not have enough energy and too much glucose builds up in the blood. Diabetes effects 1 in every 100 to 500 dogs. Most, if not all dogs have type 1 diabetes, which means that the cells in the pancreas which create insulin have become completely dead or non-functioning. Unlike type 2 diabetes, which can sometimes be reduced or even cured, type 1 diabetics will require regular insulin shots throughout their lives.

Some breeds of dogs such as poodles and some terrier breeds seem to be at a higher risk of developing diabetes. Diabetes is hereditary, so if either parent had diabetes, the pup is at greater risk of developing it. Unspayed females, obese dogs and older dogs are also at higher risk. Diabetes can lead to cataracts, urinary tract infections, leg weakness, malnutrition and eventually death.

What are the Symptoms of Diabetes?

The most prominent symptom of canine diabetes is excessive thirst. This can be difficult to judge, so if your dog is at risk, or you suspect she might have diabetes, observe her daily drinking habits carefully, but do not limit her intake of water. If she is drinking more than usual, she may be developing diabetes.

Another symptom of the disease is excessive urination. This might result in your dog urinating in places she usually avoids, such as inside your home. Dogs with diabetes may also begin to show signs of malnutrition, such as a dull coat, listlessness or weight loss. However, they will often eat more than usual, or show greater appetite, without gaining weight.

Another sign of type 1 diabetes in dogs is trouble with their eyes. Your dog may begin to develop cataracts, which show as cloudy areas in the eye, or may even become suddenly blind. If your dog shows any symptoms of diabetes, it should be diagnosed by a vet, who will test her blood and urine for elevated glucose levels.

In some cases the symptoms of diabetes in dogs increase so slowly they might be mistaken for natural changes as the dog gets older. If your dog has any of the risk factors of diabetes it is important to monitor her carefully for symptoms, as diabetes is best caught early.

Type 1 diabetes in dogs can be a dangerous disease, but with proper treatment, will have no lasting health effects. Learning to identify the potential symptoms of type 1 diabetes in your dog is essential to ensuring they will remain healthy and happy for years to come.