This month we like to shine light on a potentially deadly but silent disease. Diabetes or Diabetes Mellitus is a disease in which the pancreas either stops the production of insulin or can no longer produce enough insulin for the body. This lack of insulin affects the level of glucose, or sugar, in your pet’s blood. Not many pet owners are aware of how Diabetes can affect their animals, or are aware of the signs of this disease.
Increased appetite: Most pets with Diabetes can appear to be “ravenous” with their food. They eat their normal portion of food but continue to want more, because their body’s’ cells aren’t getting all the glucose they need.
Weight loss: Despite all this eating, they appear to lose a great amount of weight. Essentially, the dogs’ system is not efficiently converting the nutrients from its food.
Excessive thirst: They may drink much more water, emptying the bowl more often.
Increased urination: They may ask to go out more or begin to have “accidents” in the house. This is their body’s way of trying to get rid of the excess sugar by sending it out through their urine.
There are more advanced signs, that shouldn’t be taken lightly. A few would be loss of energy, depressed attitude and vomiting. Although the genetics, age and certain breeds of some dogs can be the cause, the biggest cause that has increased in the past years, is obesity. Obesity causes an increase in the secretion of insulin in response to the increased blood glucose level in the overweight dog. Insulin is also more in demand simply because there is a greater amount of tissue in an overweight dog. Untreated Diabetes leads to cataracts or “cloudy eyes” (leading to blindness), enlarged liver, kidney failure or seizures. If your dog has any of these signs or more, be sure to get them in to your vet. Diabetes can be treated if caught early enough!