Understanding Diabetes in Dogs

Diabetes in dogs is similar to diabetes in humans; it is caused by an insulin deficiency. The insulin is a hormone that helps the metabolizing of sugar. Diabetes may be congenital or acquired-which is developed after the age of 5.

Dog Diabetes Symptoms

A dog with diabetes has an increased appetite, is thirsty all the time and urinates more than usual. If the disease is not diagnosed in time, the dog will suffer from weight loss, even if he eats more and will lack energy for day-to-day activities. He will also be clinically depressed and might vomit. A dog with undiagnosed diabetes is also susceptible to liver and bladder issues and eye cataracts.

Diagnostics of Canine Diabetes

The veterinarian will be able to establish if a dog has diabetes judging by a blood and urine sample. The blood test will show high levels of glucose. The vet might also examine your dog's physical condition.

Insulin for Dogs

Canine diabetes is manageable with the regular administration of insulin. Insulin helps the glucose to travel from the blood to the cells. When the endocrine system doesn't produce sufficient amounts of insulin, the glucose levels in the blood will be elevated and this means the dog has diabetes. Giving your dog insulin shots will help this imbalance and keep your dog's glucose level at a normal level.

There are several types of insulin available, some are effective for 4 hours after the shot, some will last up till 28 hours. The longer lasting type of insulin shot is preferred in many cases, as dogs are not very cooperative when given shots. However, each dog will have different needs of insulin type, according to the stage of the disease and possible secondary conditions.

Proper insulin administration will help your pet lead a normal life.

Give Your Dog an Insulin Shot

At first, the dog may be uncooperative, but in time, he will get used to the routine. Hold the dog's first legs down, or ask someone to help you. Administer the shot in the dog's back. Make sure to insert the needle at a superficial level - not deeper than 1 inch. Your dog must feel at ease, so you might wrap him in a blanket or a towel. Use reassuring words and give your dog a treat after each shot.

Causes of Diabetes

Diabetes may be an inherited disease; however it may be developed later in the dog's life. Recent research has shown that certain breeds of dogs (i.e. Terriers, Poodles and Beagles) are more predisposed to developing diabetes.

Also unsprayed female dogs are more at risk due to the reproductive hormones.

Diabetes may occur as a secondary disease in virus infections and immune diseases. If the pancreas-the organ that produces the insulin-is damaged or infected, diabetes occurs.

Dog Diabetes Management

In addition to the regular insulin shots, the dog must be kept under supervision. Go for periodical check-ups and your vet will do some blood work to establish if your dog's disease is stable.

Failure to detect canine diabetes in time will lead to severe liver and pancreatic diseases and may also result in blindness.