Type 2 Diabetes in Dogs

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes in dogs. It is due to the body’s impossibility of metabolizing sugar which remains in the blood and harms other internal organs. Body cells are deprived of glucose and do not function normally due to starvation. Type 2 diabetes is not curable, but there are support treatments available which offer dogs the possibility of leading a long life. A dog with type 2 diabetes will need continuous care.

Type 2 Diabetes in Dogs

Dogs generally develop type 2 diabetes around the age of 5. Diabetes can have various causes:

  • Age and gender
  • Viral infections
  • Diet
  • Pancreatic diseases
  • Cushing’s disease
  • Long term use of steroidal drugs or progesterone
  • Most common in overweight dogs.

Type 2 diabetes is caused by the resistance that body cells manifest to insulin which is produced in the body. Insulin is a hormone released by the pancreas with the purpose metabolizing sugar and storing glycogen in the liver and muscles. When body cells are resistant to insulin sugar can no longer be metabolized properly and stays in the blood causing hyperglycemia. The high blood sugar level affects all internal organs to a certain degree and can cause secondary medical conditions such as:

  • Cataracts
  • Nervous system diseases
  • Skin infections
  • Kidney failure

Therefore it is important to provide your dog with the proper treatment.

Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes in Dogs

Type 2 diabetes may have only subtle symptoms. The signs usually manifest in your dog’s behavior. You should consult your veterinarian if your dog manifests the followings:

  • Increased urination and continuous thirst
  • Increased appetite
  • Weight loss

Despite the increased appetite, your dog might lose weight and manifest lethargy and fatigue. As soon as you suspect that something might be wrong with your pet, you should consult your veterinarian. The sooner you start the treatment, the easier it will be to control the disease.

Treatment for Type 2 Diabetes in Dogs

Diabetes is not a curable disease, but an appropriate treatment plan can keep the disease under control. Diabetes treatments focus on keeping the blood sugar level under control, at about 65 to 120mg/dl, so that the onset of secondary health problems can be avoided. The glucose level in the blood is regulated by means of insulin injections. Your dog might need one or two doses on a daily basis. The veterinarian might recommend human insulin or Vetsulin. Vetsulin is obtained from pig insulin and it has been approved for canine use. Testing the blood sugar levels has to be done regularly.

Respecting dietary recommendations is also crucial for keeping diabetes under control. Diabetes dogs should not eat commercial food rich in sugar and carbohydrates. Homemade food and raw food are better alternatives because you can control the ingredients your dog gets. Fresh fruits and vegetables are also beneficial due to their high level of nutrients and vitamins. The sugar in fruits and vegetables is not harmful to the insulin levels in the body.

If your dog is overweight, he will need exercise to reduce his body weight.