Pet diabetes is a chronic disease that affects more than 370 million humans worldwide, resulting in debilitating complications like nerve damage and blindness. What many people don’t realize is that dogs and other pets can also develop diabetes, which can significantly affect their quality of life. Fortunately, there are some telltale symptoms to watch out for and steps you can take to diagnose and treat diabetes in your pet. For example, there are certain dog behavior changes that may signal diabetes, like increased thirst and frequent urinary accidents. If you’ve noticed any unexpected pet behavior changes, seek veterinary attention as soon as possible to test for pet diabetes.
What is Diabetes?
Pet diabetes is a disease that occurs when the body is unable to produce enough insulin, a hormone made by the pancreas. Insulin’s job is to help glucose enter cells so it can be used for energy, but when the body doesn’t make enough insulin, or doesn’t use it well, glucose stays in the blood. As a result, the body’s cells are starving for sugar and the body produces more and more sugar to feed the cells. Over time, high blood glucose associated with pet diabetes can result in serious health problems, like heart disease, kidney disease, eye and sight problems, and stroke. Some common dog behavior indicative of diabetes may include:
- Excessive thirst
- Excessive urination
- Urinary accidents
- Muscle wasting
- Excessive weight gain
- Frequent urinary tract infections
- Blindness secondary to cataracts
- Nerve problems
- Ravenous appetite
Reasons to Test Your Pet for Diabetes
There is no cure for pet diabetes, but the disease can typically be managed with medication, exercise, and a healthy diet. And, with the right care and treatment, pets with diabetes can live with the disease for years. Even if you haven’t noticed any sudden change in your dog’s behavior and personality, it’s important to talk to your veterinarian about getting your pet tested for diabetes, so you can seek proper treatment if the disease does occur. The following are five benefits of getting your pet tested for diabetes:
- Your pet will live longer. Diabetes suppresses the immune system and can shorten the life expectancy of your pet, due to secondary infections and other complications. A veterinarian will be able to offer treatment plans and suggest changes in diet and lifestyle in order to help you and your pet manage the disease.
- You will save money. Treatment for diabetes may include twice-a-day insulin treatments, frequent veterinary trips, and a prescription diet, which can be expensive. Getting your pet routinely tested for diabetes can alert you to any medical problems sooner than later. Preventative care is always less expensive than emergency or critical care.
- You can save your dog’s eyesight. A common complication of diabetes in dogs is blindness, secondary to cataracts. Testing for diabetes can help avoid this complication.
- Your pet will have fewer accidents in the house. Two of the most common symptoms of diabetes in pets are excessive thirst and excessive urination, which can wreak havoc on your carpet and home.
- You’ll feel better knowing your pet is healthy. As a pet owner, you want to provide the best possible care for your pet, and coping with your pet’s health issues and pains can be stressful and burdensome. Testing for diabetes is one way you can ensure your pet will live a longer, healthier life.
Contact Animal Medical Center Today
Treating diabetes can be costly and may require frequent veterinary visits for the rest of your pet’s life. As your dog gets older, we recommend you talk to your veterinarian about doing routine blood work to rule out kidney problems, liver problems, infections, and diabetes. If you’ve noticed sudden changes in your dog’s behavior and personality, including one or more of these symptoms, it could be the result of diabetes. Contact Animal Medical Center today at (814) 443-6979 to find out the best diabetes treatment for your pet.